Indonesia is considering a plan to allow international travellers to return to Bali if they get vaccinated against COVID-19.
If you’ve missed drinking Bintangs by the beach and seeing the cheeky monkeys at Ubud, then your travel dreams outside of interstate Australia may just be a little bit closer. Even as New Zealand gradually lifts their domestic COVID-19 restrictions, Aussies are still unlikely to see a two-way travel bubble anytime soon.
Indonesia’s central government has discussed the possibility of a “COVID-free corridor,” ABC reports, for tourists from key countries to visit select areas of Bali, including Nusa Dua.
Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s Tourism Minister, said that Australia was one of several countries he hoped to include in the “corridor,” including China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.
And yet, of all of those countries, Australia remained the top source of foreign tourists in 2019, closely followed by China. Despite this, Mr Uno has not technically raised this with the Australian government, although he has communicated the proposal to Australia’s ambassador to Jakarta.
It’s also not the first time that the Indonesian government has toyed with our emotions, having flagged October last year as a possible return date.
As it stands, Australia’s travel ban remains in place, and Health Department boss Brendan Murphy indicated that 2021 is off the cards for travel anyway. Don’t tell that to Qantas, who scheduled flights for international travel to the UK and US from July 1 this year.
The airline was optimistic that travel would resume sooner than expected after the initial rollout of the first COVID vaccines.
Perth is the ideal destination for a corridor, according to Mr Uno.
“The idea is, it is from point to point. You need to designate a point — either Melbourne or Perth. Based on the data it should be Perth. It’s the one with the most incoming tourists, ” he told the ABC.
“I think with vaccinations, with more rigorous testing and tracing, and improved health protocols in every destination, I’m very hopeful that we’re seeing a much better second half of this year.”
With tourism such a pivotal part of Bali’s economic survival, I volunteer as tribute the second that flights to the destination are approved.