More International Routes to Bali to Open in March

Bali is moving ahead with restoring tourism as three more airlines reportedly plan to offer direct flights next month.  Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said on Monday that Netherlands-based KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Singapore-based low-cost carrier Scoot Tigerair, and Australia’s Jet Star airways will each serve between three and four flights a week to Denpasar, Bali. Singapore Airlines became the first foreign airline to restart direct flights to Bali as it reopened its route to the island on Feb. 3. Up until Feb. 18, 639 passengers had arrived on flights to Bali so far this month, with Singapore Airlines contributing 462 of the total.

“This is good news showing the rise of our economy. Tourism and traffic are recovering,” Sandiaga told reporters during a weekly press briefing.

            The news comes after the government cut the mandatory quarantine for foreign travelers from five to three days in a rule that became effective on Feb. 14. The government has announced plans to do away with the travel quarantine altogether in April, on the assumption that the coronavirus pandemic is kept under control. In an arrangement referred to as “warm-up vacations”, some hotels in Bali are also allowing tourists to spend the quarantine on the premises of the resort rather than being confined to their room.

COVID-19 cases in Indonesia are projected to peak in February and to drop in the following months. On Monday, the daily toll of newly discovered cases fell to 34,418, marking a significant decrease from 64,718 on Feb. 16. Sandiaga revealed that the government was working on more travel bubble arrangements and would open direct flights also to other airports around the country, including those in Manado, North Sulawesi, as well as in Yogyakarta, Surabaya, and Medan.

 In the same briefing, Sandiaga said the government had also been focusing on keeping hotel and homestay rates under control following reports of irregular price hikes ahead of the 2022 MotoGP motorcycle race, which will be staged in Mandalika on the island of Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). Lastly, the ministry also announced its future tourism plans for Indonesia’s future capital city to be built in East Kalimantan. The concept would revolve around ecotourism with the aim to open new tourism possibilities while also preserving East Kalimantan’s nature and culture.

Feb 22, 2022, The Jakarta Post