Images shared on social media have shown Australians flocking to Bali in recent weeks as holiday seekers take advantage of cheap flights and relaxed entry requirements.
In fact, most of the 46,176 international visitors who landed in Bali last Friday were from Australia, said Tjok Bagus Pemayun, head of the Bali Tourism Office.
As of today, the Indonesian government has lifted most pandemic restrictions for foreign visitors, including PCR testing and quarantine under certain conditions.
Indonesia expects an influx of 3 million international tourists this year as a result of the new policy.
“At least in the next few periods, we are targeting 1.4 million tourist visits from Australia, and this is to ensure that we are ready, hence we need to accelerate promotion effort in the market,” Said Minister Sandiaga Uno at working visit to Australia some days ago.
However, after the lifting of travel restrictions and the resumption of international flights, hotel occupancy in most parts of Bali is still considered poor.
From January to December 2021, a total of 1.56 million international visitors arrived, a 61 percent decrease from the same period in 2020.
In February 2022, the number of international visitors to Indonesia increased to 185,000, with the number of people arriving by air increasing by 97 percent. The number of foreign tourists arriving Indonesia increased by 336,000 from January to February 2022.
Although it has not yet recovered to 2019 levels, room occupancy in high-rated hotels has started to increase in early 2022.
With Chinise and Russian visitors unlikely to comeback in 2022, Indonesia wants to ensure it does not fall behind other Southeast Asian destinations in the reopening competition.
This has prompted the Bali provincial government to ask the central government to resume the Visa on Arrival (VoA) program to other countries.
“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,” Pemayun said.
The good news is that now Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Thailand are eligible for the VoA program.