New Zealand has been regarded as having one of the toughest and most uncompromising approaches to handling the Covid-19 pandemic. As the country’s strategy has proven successful and international borders around the world open up again, New Zealand has finally scrapped the pre-flight PCR test for vaccinated travelers. This comes as huge news for the Bali tourism sector as they head into the first full peak season since the pandemic began.
Travelers entering New Zealand must still jump through a few hoops, but the biggest pre-travel obstacle has been removed. The New Zealand government has scrapped the pre-arrival PCR test for vaccinated travelers and arrivals must conduct two rapid antigen tests after arriving in New Zealand. These must be taken on day one after arriving and on day five or six.
Arrivals must report the results of the test whether positive or negative. If the test is positive travelers must isolate for 7-days and get a PCR test. All arrivals in New Zealand will be given a Welcome Pack as they go through the airport, this welcome pack includes the two rapid antigen tests and an information booklet.
This latest development has had a huge impact on Bali’s tourism sector. The cost and added hassle of PCR tests have been a huge barrier for travelers and have proven to be off-putting. The removal of the PCR test for New Zealand holidaymakers will surely create a surge in bookings for easily accessible destinations like Bali.
Bali has scrapped the PCR test for vaccinated travelers and people arriving in Bali do not need to do rapid antigen tests. Cases of Covid-19 in Bali are clinically under control and declining overall, despite the detection of new variants. Omicron BA.4 and BA.5. The tourism hotspot is gearing up for its first full peak season since the pandemic began.
Demand for flights from neighboring Australia has nearly surpassed availability and online hotel booking websites have seen a huge soar in searches for accommodation in Bali too. After two years of incredibly limited travel options, New Zealanders are eager to return to Bali for their annual slice of sun, sea and serenity. In light of this, New Zealanders can expect to see tour providers, airlines and hotels can start promoting travel deals to Bali.
Before the pandemic, travelers from New Zealand made up a huge proportion of Bali’s international holidaymakers. Direct flights from Auckland connected hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders to the Island of the Gods every year. Travelers from New Zealand have always been a part of Indonesia’s visa-on-arrival program which has once again helped keep costs down for budget-conscious travelers.
Bali has long been a destination that has catered to all types of travelers from New Zealand. The reasonable flight time, 8 hours from Auckland, and the plethora of family-friendly resorts have made it the destination of choice for young families.
The huge range of budget-friendly accommodation and affordable adventure experiences made Bali the first port of call for backpackers. New Zealand and Indonesia have strong political and trade ties. The scrapping of the PCR test on both sides of the Timor Sea will positively impact business travel too.
This week Bali health officials have advised the hotel sector on the island to keep 20% of hotel occupancy available for isolating positive Covid-19 cases. It is hoped that this strategy can help keep transmission levels across the island low. An Indonesian-based tourism studies professor has recently voiced his support for a cautious and sustainable approach to reopening across the world, but especially in Indonesia.
The Head of Gajah Mada University’s doctoral program in Tourism Studies, Prof. Hendre Adjie Kusworo said ‘The recovery of tourism depends on the governments’ response to Covid-19 across the globe, and most importantly, on our continued efforts to keep the spread of the virus under control”.
It is hoped that New Zealand’s removal of the PCR test will be as positive as Indonesia’s so that the tourism sector can keep building momentum back to pre-pandemic levels and beyond.
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