INDONESIA’S Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno revealed his ministry is still studying the possibility of implementing a COVID-19 free corridor in Bali to allow foreign tourists to return to the resort island.
The COVID-19 free corridor would allow international travelers to visit Bali as long as they have been vaccinated in their countries of origin and have taken swab tests shortly after arriving at the resort island, he informed.
Swab testing will be made compulsory to ensure that incoming international tourists have tested negative for COVID-19, he said during his meeting with Bali Governor Wayan Koster recently said the concept of a COVID-19 free corridor has been discussed with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Health Ministry, Foreign Ministry, and the COVID-19 Task Force. In principle, it has been deliberated at the final stage.
During his meeting with Governor Koster, Uno also discussed the implementation of the national COVID-19 vaccination program in Bali to accelerate the recovery of the island’s tourism sector. Vaccinating 1.2 million workers in Bali’s tourism sector would boost public trust in the world’s most popular tourist destination.
“We pray for Bali’s immediate recovery. If the tourism sector can get revived, the economy will get back on track. Speaking of Indonesia’s tourism, it will never be separated from Bali,” he remarked.
He also discussed a soft loan of IDR9.9 trillion for the Balinese tourism industry and creative economy players. The Bali provincial government and Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin)-Bali chapter have proposed a stimulus package of IDR1.5 billion to boost local tourism entrepreneurs’ cash flows, he said.
Sandiaga explained that the proposed stimulus package is being discussed and included in the national economic recovery program, adding that several labor-intensive programs for reviving Bali’s tourism sector have been started.
“Among them are a jogging track construction project; declaration of 177 tourism villages; Klungkung’s waste-management project; and, a program to improve tourist destinations. Those labor-intensive programs, including planned waste-management projects in Kuta and several other tourist sites in Bali, are expected to create job opportunities for lots of people,” he added.
Sandiaga concluded that Indonesia has been striving to win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic since the government officially announced the country’s first confirmed cases on March 2, 2020. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease has dragged Indonesia into serious public health and economic crises. Tourism has been among the severely-affected economic sectors in the country, and Bali tourism has been badly battered by the pandemic. [antaranews/photo special]