We are 14 months into our shutdown, so we wanted to post a general update.
The big question on everyone’s lips is “When will Indonesia open up to foreign visitors?” The answer is (still) that we do not yet know.
The Indonesian President Mr. Joko Widodo has stated in a video release that there’s a possibility of Bali tourism reopening for international visitors around June – July 2021 should the conditions and handling of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to show favorable progress.
The Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno has gone on the record stating that travel bubbles will be offered to countries that are able to contain the spread of the virus, have high vaccination rates, and could offer reciprocal benefits to the country.
The reopening of Bali as a test case will begin with a trial run, allowing foreign tourists to visit three designated “green areas”: Ubud, Sanur and Nusa Dua. Although the President put forth the tentative dates of June/July, it may not happen until August. If that goes well, we can expect our area to open soon afterwards.
The idea of segregating visitors in certain areas seems difficult for Sanur and Ubud since there are so many entry and exit points. Keeping guests isolated in resort properties would be much easier in Lembeh and our area (for divers). But Bali has such a large tourism industry that it is natural that they will be the ones allowed to re-open first.
The lack of solid news at this time must be because of worry caused by the Indian Strain of Covid-19. The government is probably waiting to see how its spread will affect this part of the world. We know of two identified cases in Indonesia so far, but since there is a lack of testing, numbers that are published do not tell the true story.
But Indonesia has been one of the best countries at effectively vaccinating the population, so that is helpful. Our staff (except for three) have received their first Asta Zeneca jab.
We may be closed, but we keep the resort maintained, harvesting coconuts and mangos to sell, growing vegetables for our staff, cutting the grass, trimming the trees and bushes, periodically running the boat engines and keeping the buildings cleaned for the day we can re-open.
As I type the village behind our resort has blocked access roads for the 4-day Idul Fitri holiday weekend in order to prevent “outsiders” to flood into the area as would normally happen. Many other villages around Bitung have done the same. Fear of the Indian Variant is the stated reason.
In Jakarta, the central government has tried to block the annual city-to-the-countryside migration to celebrate the end of Ramadan. It remains to be seen how effective the efforts will be. A year ago they gave up right when they should have been clamping down. Hopefully lessons will have been learned and this time will not see a surge in Covid cases follow. What happens immediately after Idul Fitri will determine when/if the Bali plan to partly re-open in July goes ahead.