Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster has announced that visitor numbers to the island are still on the rise despite recent policy changes.
Speaking from the provincial capital, Governor Koster informed the press that the recent revocation of visa-free travel to Indonesia, a rise in rabies cases in the community, and the issuance of new behavioral buildings for tourists have had no impact on the number of visitors coming to the island.
Speaking to the press, Governor Koster said, “Some say Bali will be quiet. I submitted data, and the number of foreign tourists coming to Bali (in fact) has increased.”
The data he is referring to is the number of foreign nationals who arrived in Bali during the week of 1st-7th June, which averages 16,246 people per day.
The formal revocation of the visa-free travel policy was bought into place on the 7th of June.
However, the policy has been on pause since the beginning of lockdowns in 2020, and the vast majority of tourists have been entering the country using the paid-for visa on arrival since February 2022.
According to data referenced by Governor Koster, daily arrival averages in Bali have been increasing by 4% every day between 8th-22nd June. This is great news for the tourism sector on the island as the peak holiday season gets underway.
Governor Koster added, “So [the number of] foreign tourists coming to Bali has continued to increase, and the impact on Bali’s economy has been seen; so far, there have been no [policy changes] that have disturbed tourists to Bali. Even until August, Bali will be fully booked.”
@kyu00055 Finally hello bali 😍🛬 #bali #ngurahraiinternationalairport #citlink #holiday ♬ Landing di Bali – Faizal Maulana
Governor Koster was addressing the media following the recent updates to the visa-free travel arrangement, the implementation of the do’s and don’ts guidelines for tourists, the recent ban on hiking activities on the island’s mountains, and the overall shift towards promoting a new kind of tourism on the island.
This new era of tourism in Bali will focus on ‘dignified and culture-based tourism’ across the province.
The Deputy Chairman of the Bali Restaurant and Hotel Association has pledged his support for the Governor’s call to promote more sustainable and culture-orientated tourism.
IGN Rai Suryawijaya told reporters, “I fully support this policy. This is in line with the direction of Bali’s tourism policy, according to the direction of the Governor of Bali in managing Bali tourism in the future during the New Era of Bali, namely building culture-based, quality and dignified tourism.”
It doesn’t look like the visa-free travel policy will be bought back into play any time soon.
At a press conference in Jakarta on 28th June, the Deputy for Strategic Policy at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Nia Niscaya, laid out the conditions that would have to be met for the visa category to be opened up once again to non-ASEAN nations.
Niscaya said, “So we, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, said that if [visa-free travel] was re-introduced, of course, at least three categories must be met. Namely, reciprocity, providing benefits to the Indonesian economy, and of course also paying attention to security aspects.”
The policymaker said that teams would be keeping a close eye on the data and use said statistics in any future decision-making process.
Niscaya said, “Hopefully [the focus on the VOA] will provide positive things and not have an impact on the number of foreign tourist visits, but return to [peak] performance which will be released with a two-month lag (based on data update period from the Central Statistics Agency).”
Speaking separately, the Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, shared his hopes that Bali will remain on track to hit tourism targets by the end of the year.
Referencing the data shared by Governor Koster, Pemayun said, “This means that the trend is positive. Hopefully, our target of 4.5 million is optimistic that we can achieve it because that has already been targeted.”
As the high season gets underway in Bali, tourists are reminded that the Visa on Arrival is available to travelers from 92 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and most countries in Europe.
The visa costs IDR 500,000 and can be paid for on arrival at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Alternatively, the e-Visa On Arrival can be applied for no less than 48 hours before departure and can be secured via the Department of Immigration’s dedicated website.
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