The Indonesian President, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has discussed the possibility of revoking the quarantine policy to help revive the Bali tourism sector. Multiple international outlets have reported the reopening of Bali has been extremely slow due to the mandatory 5 day quarantine put in place by the government.
During a meeting between the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) on Thursday (28/10), leaders from the three countries, including President Jokowi, agreed that several adjustments to their travel policies are required in order to revive the economy as well as help the community recover from the current crises.
Thailand has already reduced the quarantine to only 1 night for tourists as they await results from their on arrival PCR test. This makes it extremely difficult for Bali to compete due to their current 5 day quarantine and costs associated with it.
The Minister of Economic Coordination, Airlangga Hartanto confirmed the central government will consider implementing Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) which will potentially cancel out the current quarantine policy as an entry requirement for international visitors.
“All of the leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed that we need to be more focused on reviving our tourism sector by implementing the VTL program,” Hartanto said on Thursday.
They also admitted that the regulatory sandbox which allows tourists to gain entry without quarantine, which was recently implemented in Phuket in June 2021 has successfully attracted more visitors and helped the economy to start growing. While multiple adjustments have been made to the sandbox program, Thailand has been more accessible than Bali and has already began their road to recovery.
Hartanto explained that Indonesia will try to learn from Thailand and start considering this option to revive the Bali economy.
“We have been discussing this VTL program with Singapore as this would be a new tourism standard that helps our tourism sector,” Hartanto concluded.
While Bali seems determined to restart its economic recovery, strict rules and entry regulations have prevented airlines from even scheduling flights to the island due to very low demand.
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