Local News

Bali Airport Records A 287 Percent Increase In International Arrivals From March To April

Since the reopening of Indonesian borders for travelers in February 2022, numbers of visitors have risen consistently and show no sign of slowing down. This comes as welcome news for the travel and tourism sector of Bali whose businesses have been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bali Governor, I Wayan Koster confirmed that Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport has recorded a 287% increase in its international arrivals in April compared to March 2022. This sharp increase in arrivals can be attributed to the ending of Indonesia’s strict quarantine policy and the reopening of the visa on arrival program. The visa on arrival program enables travelers from 60 countries to travel to Indonesia without filing for a tourist visa before their arrival. The visa on arrival enables visitors from the 60 listed countries to stay in Indonesia for up to 30-days.

Widespread uptake of the vaccine is also being hailed as a reason why travelers feel confident and safe to resume international travels. Governor Koster has stated that the distribution of the vaccine within Bali has enabled restrictions to be reduced. In a press statement, he said that he feels optimistic that tourism in Bali will make a speedy recovery and that the island is ready and excited to host the G20 Summit in November 2022.

During April Bali received an average of 2,222 arrivals per day, totaling 66,685 people across the month. Despite the increase in total visitor numbers, the number of domestic flights decreased in the month of March. This was due to lower demand for travel during the month of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. However, over the Eid Al-Fitr weekend, the number of domestic travelers on the move across Indonesia increased significantly with many people leaving Bali and crossing the strait to enjoy the beaches of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan.

As Bali, and Indonesia more broadly, continue to emerge from Covid-19 travel restrictions both authorities and locals have their eyes set on the G20 Summit. The event is a hugely important opportunity for Indonesia to showcase its tourism sector to the world and to table itself as an essential economy on the world stage.

The Indonesian government and provincial ministries are taking the G20 Presidency seriously. There will be 39 heads of state in attendance with over 10,000 delegates, representatives, speakers, and other attendees during the two-day event. The G20 Summit will be held from the 15-16th November, with supporting events happening throughout the month.

With widespread vaccine rollout and both Australia and New Zealand opening their borders for travel, it is coming easier for travelers from Indonesia’s most depended upon nations to plan their travels. Despite borders opening and quarantine restrictions ending earlier in February and March, rules for Australians and New Zealanders returning home heavily influenced people’s decisions to travel. Although Indonesia was open, many countries were still imposing strict quarantine tules for their own citizens upon their return meaning many have held off booking their time abroad

Bali is by far Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination, for both international and domestic travelers. A hub for digital nomads and ex-pats, the Island of the Gods was used to welcoming over 6.5 million direct foreign visitors a year in the decade leading up to the pandemic.

Comparatively, welcoming just over 66,000 people a month is nominal. Both the Balinese tourism authorities and the global travel sector are committed to ensuring that this recent rise in visitors continues safely and sustainably.


Bali Visa On Arrival Program Adds 17 More Countries

In perhaps the most significant update for international travel to Bali since the reopening of Ngurah Rai airport in February, the Visa on Arrival program for Indonesia has been resumed in full. The Head of Bali Law and Human Rights Minister, Jamaruli Manihuruk, confirmed that the central government has resumed the VOA program for a total of 60 eligible countries. This latest announcement adds 17 new countries to the program starting from 28th April 2022. This all comes as part of the reduction in Covid-19 travel restrictions and preparations for hosting the G20 Conference in November 2022.

The visa on arrival program is applicable for travelers arriving across Indonesia. There are currently nine international airports, eleven seaports, and four cross-border points of entry that are open for international travelers across Indonesia’s 17,000 islands. To qualify for a visa on arrival, the traveler must hold a passport from one of the sixty nations listed in the VOA program. They must show a return or onward bound ticket to another country, proof of payment for a visa on arrival and there must be a minimum of 6-months validity remaining on their passport.

The list includes South Africa, United States of America, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Philippines, Finland, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Cambodia, Canada, South Korea, Croatia, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Myanmar, Norway, France, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, New Zealand, Seychelles, Singapore, Cyrus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste, China, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Vietnam, and Greece.

When speaking at a press conference Jamaruli Manihuruk said that he hopes that these updates to the visa on arrival programs will ‘make it easier for delegates and participates to attend international events held in Bali’. He was making specific reference to the G20 Summit that will be hosted in Bali in November 2022. This is one of the biggest international political conferences in the world. Bali will welcome delegates, speakers, and visitors from the G20 nations and international media teams reporting on every moment.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and the war in Ukraine will be high on the agenda of the two-day summit. The latest controversy comes as the Indonesian government has invited Russia’s President Putin to the G20. This has been met with discontent from the United States government in particular. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said that ‘Indonesia wants to unite the G20, don’t let there be fractures’.

The G20 is an economic and political made up of 20 of the world’s biggest economies, including the European Union. The G20 nations are the United Kingdom, United States, China, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey. All of these nations are included in the visa on arrival program.

The hosting of the G20 summit is hailed to have significant benefits for Indonesia on the global stage. This will, it is hoped, have an even greater impact on the nation’s economy in the coming decades. There is a clear intention from the G20 organizers in Bali to ensure that the meeting presents an opportunity for Indonesia to showcase its tourism and hospitality sector to the world.

For travelers seeking to visit Bali during November 2022, it is advised that booking is essential. With delegates, politicians, and high profile individuals from the world’s biggest economies all heading to Bali at the same time, there are guaranteed disruptions to travel across the island and ultra-high demand for accommodation.

For now, however, travelers heading to Bali can tick one pre-departure item off their to-do list. The visa on arrival program is up and running once again. If travelers wish to extend their visa from 30-day on arrival to 60-day, they must make sure they pay for their visa on arrival, even if their passport entitles them to a free visa on arrival.


Health Ministry ups vigilance against mysterious hepatitis in children

The Ministry of Health has increased vigilance against a mysterious form of acute hepatitis that is affecting children in several countries.

“In the past two weeks, we have increased our vigilance in Indonesia because the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared acute hepatitis as an extraordinary event,” spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi, confirmed here on Tuesday.

She noted that reports of the disease have come from countries in Europe, America, and Asia, and no cause has been determined as of April 15, 2022.

Vigilance in Indonesia has been increased on account of the deaths of three children undergoing treatment for suspected acute hepatitis at the Dr. Ciptomangunkusuma Hospital, Jakarta, Tarmizi said. They died at different times in the two weeks till April 30, she informed.

“These three patients were referred from hospitals in East Jakarta and West Jakarta,” she added.

The three patients showed symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea, fever, jaundice, seizures, and decreased consciousness, she said.

Currently, the Ministry of Health is investigating the causes of acute hepatitis through a complete virus panel examination. The Jakarta Provincial Health Office is also conducting further epidemiological investigations.

“During the investigation period, we urge the public to remain calm and careful. Take preventive measures such as washing hands, ensuring food is cooked and clean, not sharing eating utensils, avoiding contact with sick people, and continuing to implement the health protocols,” Tarmizi said.

She advised parents to take children to the nearest health facility if they experience symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, sudden vomiting and diarrhea, tea-colored urine, pale stools, seizures, and decreased consciousness.

The spokesperson informed that the ministry, through the Director General of Disease Prevention and Control, has issued Circular Letter Number HK.02.02/C/2515/2022 Concerning Precautions for the Finding of Cases of Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Etiology, dated April 27.


PT HIN-organized beach festival aims to revive Bali tourism, MSMEs

State tourism and hospitality firm PT HIN will hold a beach festival in Bali called “Jelajahin Livin Sanur Fest” to help revive the tourism sector and support growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The Jelajahin Livin Sanur Fest will be held on May 27-29, 2022, in the beach area of a hotel in Sanur Beach in Bali.

“HIN is here for the collaboration of national institutions, based on the SOEs Ministry’s directives for tourism recovery, aimed at super-priority tourism destinations and Bali through this event,” PT HIN’s Director of Business Strategy and Marketing Christine Hutabarat stated at a press conference here on Wednesday.

Jelajahin Livin Sanur Fest will be themed “BALI kemBALI” or “Bali Revival” and will present a variety of interesting programs for people keen for a performance festival to be held.

The first day of the festival will feature a variety of reggae musicians, the second day will be enlivened by DJ performances, while the third day will showcase national bands, such as Slank, Kotak, and Fourtwnty as well as Bali’s national and local artists.

This festival will also present an expo of MSMEs’ crafts, local culinary arts, as well as creative economy talk shows, and cultural performances from local Balinese artists.

The tickets for the Jelajahin Livin Sanur Fest, which is under the collaboration of production house Renjana Productions, are priced between Rp150 thousand to Rp450 thousand.

The festival will implement strict health protocols in accordance with the guidelines set by the government. Maintaining physical distance and wearing a mask will be mandatory during the event.

“We also involve pecalang (local traditional village security officers) to support this event to really revive Bali’s tourism. Kids also can come, as there will be a kids’ zone,” Renjana Productions COO Raiden Soejono remarked.


Bali vice governor promises to look into Kuta Beach peddlers amid harassment claim

A high-ranked Bali official told reporters today that he would look into alleged nagging peddlers on Kuta Beach after a video of a foreign tourist expressing her discomfort from their “harassment” went viral this week.

Among those who shared the 20-second video were two major Instagram community accounts focusing on Bali. In the clip, the woman expressed her general displeasure with Bali based on her experience with Kuta peddlers.

“Kuta is the worst. The people are harassing you when you walk on the beach. It’s so annoying. I don’t wanna come back to Kuta or to Bali. It is terrible. It is really terrible. I’m so glad I’m going home tomorrow,” the woman said.

Locals peddling goods like fashion accessories and massages on Kuta Beach have been a fixture in the tourism hotspot even before the pandemic. They’re so common that they have been regularly featured in travel blogs and websites.

Comments on the video are divided, with some labeling the woman a “Karen” while others are defending her by saying that beach peddlers in Bali can be annoyingly persistent. One commenter advised the woman to visit other places in Bali with fewer peddlers.

Bali Vice Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, or popularly known as Cok Ace, said that he is aware of the woman’s grievance.

“Yes, I’ve heard about the complaint [about] peddlers forcing travelers [to buy their trinkets]. We have been in touch with the Kuta’s bendesa [traditional village leader],” said Cok Ace.

Cok Ace acknowledged that some locals have grown desperate for income as Bali’s entire tourism sector was struggling for two years due to the pandemic. Returning tourists represent an opportunity for locals like the beach peddlers.

Bali has only begun accepting international travelers coming in directly to the island in the past few months. Travel requirements and COVID-19 restrictions have been loosened as the government aims to revive the island’s tourism industry. (coconuts.co 26/04/2022)