June – Indonesia looks to attract digital nomads and long-stay tourists with a 5-year visa and spiritual retreats
Indonesia is promoting its growing tech scene and spiritual retreats in order to lure visitors to Bali and other islands in the archipelago.
Ecotourism, sporting events, and a special five-year visa for remote workers could attract 3.6 million overseas travelers back to Indonesia after the borders reopen, according to Sandiaga Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries.
As part of a strategy to attract visitors who stay longer and spend more, successful candidates will not have to pay taxes if they earn their income outside Indonesia.
Is Bali open for Americans?
Yes, Bali is open for American citizens.
COVID-19 situation in Indonesia
As of today, the country has reported 6,057,142 positive cases and 156,622 deaths.
Despite being an island chain that is roughly the size of the United States, most of those people live on a handful of islands in highly urbanized areas.
For many people in East Asia, face masks and social distancing are quite normal after so many contagious diseases over the past twenty years. Indonesia has not reached that point yet.
The government is trying everything necessary to maintain complete control of the pandemic without destroying much of Bali’s tourism-based economy in the balance.
Bali Reopening Borders – Update Archives
May 20 – Bali lifts the mask mandate and pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travelers
President of Indonesia Joko Widodo has dropped the outdoor mask mandate as well as the pre-arrival testing for fully vaccinated travelers. The announcement was made at a press conference on Tuesday, May 17.
“First, the government has decided to relax the policy on wearing masks. People will not have to wear masks during outdoor activities or in open areas that are not crowded. However, you still have to wear a mask for indoor activities and public transportation,” said the government.
“Secondly, PCR or antigen staging tests are no longer required for domestic and foreign travelers who have received a full dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.”
May 9 – Thousands of Crypto “tourists” attracted to Bali in the last year
Bali is emerging as a top destination for the world’s crypto enthusiasts, according to the Financial Times.
Tokocrypto, an Indonesian crypto exchange, reports that “it currently has 37,660 registered customers in Bali, up from 808 at the start of 2021.”
Trading cryptocurrencies, the metaverse and digital nomadism are among the interests of the crypto community in Bali.
The Indonesian crypto exchange has just opened T-Hub in Bali, a “crypto clubhouse” with a co-working space and a swimming pool.
The crypto community also understands Bali’s struggles to restart its economy. A few months ago, an unidentified Bali-based group launched a crypto token that can be used as a “discount coupon” at “any tourist spot in Bali,” to help “millions of Balinese… stay strong during Covid-19.”
April 25 – The increase on the VoA fees in Bali is just a “hoax” says, governor
Bali Governor Wayan Koster has dismissed as a “hoax” allegations in the local news that visa on arrival (VOA) fees will soon be increased from Rp. 50,000 to Rp. 1.5 million.
According to Koster, he personally checked with the Minister of Law and Human Rights, who confirmed that the cost of the VOA will not be increased to Rp. 1.5 million. “This is untrue,” he adds. “That is untrue. That’s a lie. Do not believe it.”
Meanwhile, Indonesia has expanded its VoA program to include 16 more countries including Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Thailand.
“After receiving input from the tourism sector, we finally proposed to the central government the resumption of the VoA program to another 16 countries, mostly from Europe,” said the government.
March 28 – Bali has extended its VoA to 42 countries
Bali has expanded its Visa-on-Arrival program to include visitors from 43 countries. Thus far, only 23 countries had been able to benefit from the initiative.
South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, India, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Seychelles, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Tunisia are currently on the updated VOA list.
With this new move, the government anticipates a moderate immediate increase in Bali’s tourism economy for the rest of the year.
April 13 – ‘Back to Bali’, a new marketing campaign to lure tourists to the island
Bali has launched ‘Back to Bali’, to massive savings to visitors.
Tourist packages worth up to AUS 1000 can be purchased for AUS 500. “The holiday package includes IDR 5 million in food and beverage credits, IDR 5 million in hotel credits, and IDR 5 million in VIP Finns membership credits.”
Many 3-star, 4-star, and 5-star hotels are participating in the reductions, according to I Gusti Agung Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya, who heads the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association for Badung.
Although a list of hotels has not yet been issued, the following are some estimated discounts:
5-star hotels, IDR 2.5-3 million (US$175-200) per night
4-star hotels, IDR2 million (US$140) per night
3-star hotels IDR1-1.5 million (US$70-105) per night
March 21 – Bali has lifted ALL quarantine rules for international travelers
Indonesia has finally removed all quarantine requirements for overseas visitors. The decision takes effect immediately, Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno told reporters today.
Visitors will still be required to produce a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of their departure.
The reopening follows a successful two-week trial of quarantine-free travel to the islands of Bali, Batam, and Bintan, where the virus spread was minimal, he noted.
“With the handling of the pandemic more controlled… today we announce that the policy of no quarantine has been expanded across Indonesia,” said Sandiaga.
March 9 – Indonesia has officially removed testing for domestic travelers, quarantine for overseas visitors and reinstates VISA on arrival
Indonesia has lifted PCR and antigen testing for all domestic travelers inside Indonesia, according to Decree Number 11, 2022.
This new norm will apply to all people traveling by air, land or sea, said the Head of Health Support for the National Covid-19 Handling Task Force, Alexander K Ginting.
Earlier this week, the government of Bali also lifted the quarantine for all international travelers who have received a booster vaccine and reinstated visas on arrival to tourists from 23 countries.
February 14 – European travelers are skipping Bali, say local tourism representatives
Bali’s extensive and costly quarantine continues to deter European travelers, according to tourism representatives.
“Europeans are not interested [in Bali]. [Clients] turn to the Philippines, the Maldives and other countries that have dropped their quarantine requirement,” said the managing director of Top Indonesia Holidays.
Panorama Destination’s director of business development, expects the government to follow the lead of other Asian nations that have already lifted the requirement because Bali’s quarantine makes trips unnecessarily expensive.
“Tourists have to spend at least US$700 on the Warm-Up Vacation package (a 5D/4N arrangement with select hotels that is part of the Bubble Quarantine Policy). This pushes [tourists] to choose other destinations.”
For the time being, Singapore airlines will resume operations to Bali on Feb. 16 and Jetstar on Mar. 14.
February 3 – Bali set to receive direct flights under a new reopening strategy from Feb. 4
Starting Feb. 4, Bali will allow fully and partially vaccinated travelers from all countries under a new reopening strategy.
This time around, the Grand Hyatt and Westin Resorts in Nusa Dua, the Royal Tulip in Jimbaran, the Griya Santrian in Denpasar, and the Viceroy in Ubud will serve as the facilities where travelers will spend their 5 to 7 day quarantine.
Given that the visa-on-arrival program has been halted, visitors can apply for an e-visa, which costs from USD 295 depending on the number of processing days (7-14) and the length of the stay.
January 22 – Indonesia removes travel ban on all foreign arrivals but Bali still sees no international flights
The country’s Covid-19 Task Force reported that all 14 strongly affected countries have been removed from its travel ban list, allowing tourists from Southern African nations as well as the UK to enter Bali.
According to government spokesman Wiku Adisasmito, “it will be difficult for cross-border movements that are still needed to maintain stability, including the national economic recovery,” under the existing restrictions.
Bali continues in the first stage of Phase Three, which means that only passengers from 19 countries are permitted entry, while everyone else must fly to Jakarta or Manado and complete a 7-day quarantine before continuing on to Bali.
January 10 – Bali reduces quarantine from 10 to 7 days
December 20 – Bali to implement stricter restrictions from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3
The government has extended public activity restrictions (PPKM) in Bali and Java at least until Jan. 3.
Restaurants, bars and similar venues in level 1 areas will be able to operate at 75% capacity until 22:00. In level 2, the capacity will be reduced to 50% and could be open until 21:00. And those in level 3 at 25% capacity until 18:00.
Unvaccinated travelers engaging in domestic long travel must present a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours before departure.
In addition, Bali has removed Norway from its list of “green countries.”
December 9 – Bali extends quarantine from 7 to 10 days
A few days after reintroducing a 7-day quarantine, Bali authorities have further extended the restriction to 10 days for all allowed travelers visiting from any of the 19 countries the island is open to.
The government has also banned all travel from 17 nations including Afghanistan, Botswana, Eswatini, Guinea, Hong Kong, Israel, Kamerun, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Returning nationals from any of these areas must undergo an even tightened quarantine period of 14 days.
December 1 – Bali extended quarantine from 3 to 7 days for all foreign tourists
The Indonesian government has extended its quarantine restriction for all international arrivals from 3 to 7 days, announced the Coordinator of Maritime and Investment Minister.
In addition, travelers who have been to Hong Kong, South Africa, Malawi, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Eswatini, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Lesotho are now required to undergo 14 days of quarantine upon arrival.
“I must admit that this will impact our tourism industry as people become more reluctant to travel,” said Bali’s Head of Badung Hotel and Restaurant Association.
November 3 – Bali could scrap quarantine for foreign tourists, says official
Indonesia’s central government is reportedly considering adopting Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) to allow visitors from certain countries to enter the country without quarantine.
“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,” said the Minister of Economic Coordination on Thursday.
Another alternative being considered is to shorten quarantine from five to two or three days for the remaining permitted tourists, which so far are only 19 countries.
October 22 – Bali, the world’s less booked destination, according to a study
Bali continues struggling to lure airlines to resume operations to the island even though it reopened for tourism on Oct. 14.
According to data released by the Skyscanner’s Horizons report, Bali currently holds the unenviable title of being the world’s less booked destination.
This could explain why airlines still refuse to accept the generous landing discounts offered by the Indonesian government.
Although few airlines have explicitly revealed their plans to restart their service to Bali, Qantas and Jetstar are reportedly in talks with the Indonesian government about accepting fully vaccinated Australians with a much reduced to no quarantine whatsoever.
September 8 – Bali plans to test its first international travel bubble soon
After countless tries, Bali is ready to open its first travel corridor soon, said I Putu Astawa, the Head of Bali’s Tourism Agency.
Citing the need to restart the tourism economy in the region, Astawa confirmed on Sunday that “the government finally plans to test the reopening of the international travel corridor for Bali in the near future.”
He also mentioned that all tourism workers have been vaccinated and all accommodation venues were certified in the Clean Health Safety and Environment (CHSE) protocol.
August 13 – Bali eases restrictions for vaccinated people
The government extended level-4 restrictions in Bali to curb the spread of COVID-19. New restrictions will be in force at least until August 16.
However, authorities decided to ease most of those COVID curbs for fully vaccinated people. Starting next week, malls, restaurants, offices, and markets will be open for vaccinated people in several major cities.
“Vaccinated people are entitled to more relaxed protocols than unvaccinated ones,” said Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.
“The virus will stay with us for long. We need to have a road map that anticipates it could take years to get rid of the virus and adopt the appropriate health protocols that will allow us to continue with economic activities in a safer circumstance.”
Balinese locals deeply disagree with the measure since they have not been able to get a vaccine. Many of them have jobs in local markets which means they won’t be able to come back to work.
July 30 – Indonesia to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Aug. 2 but Bali has no reopening in sight
President Joko Widodo has confirmed that businesses and malls will be allowed to reopen on August 2, despite the massive COVID-19 outbreak the country is facing especially in the islands of Java and Bali where hospitals are facing oxygen shortages.
Local media states that this decision was made because Bali has experienced the worst in terms of the economy compared to other regions, as tourism has virtually died.
The government had suggested it could reopen Bali at the beginning of August. Instead, it has gone silent about it.
July 15 – Bali launches new “no vax, no fly” policy for foreign visitors
The COVID-19 Task Force has launched a new policy which mandates that all international arrivals must both bring a negative COVID-19 test and produce a vaccine certificate, otherwise, “no vax, no fly”.
Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno had announced Bali would reopen in July 2021 to vaccinated tourists. However, a worrisome growing spike in Covid-19 infections has pushed this date back at least for the beginning of August.
But according to local media, this probably won’t happen either. The Red Cross has recently warned that Indonesia is “on the edge of catastrophe” because of a rapid rise in Covid-19.
So far, the country has vaccinated only 5% of its total population, being Bali the island with more vaccinations per capita.