Local News

Indonesia Adds 12 More Countries To Visa On Arrival Program Making It Easier To Visit Bali

The Central Government of Indonesia has announced that it will be adding twelve more countries to the visa on arrival program as of the 30th of May 2022.
On the 3rd May 2022, the Central Government of Indonesia expanded the visa on arrival program to include sixty countries. This was the biggest shift in Covid-19 reopening at the time. The visa on arrival program was halted during the height of the international lockdowns. Indonesia’s phased reopening plan is nearly complete. According to government ministers, the end of all Covid-19-related restrictions is insight.
The news that Indonesia’s immigration has added a further twelve countries to the visa on arrival list is another positive sign that the country is moving ever closer to the end of the pandemic. The official Instagram for the Director-General of Immigration in Indonesia posted an infographic today confirming which countries have been added to the list.

Travelers from Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, and Jordan are now able to get a visa on arrival at the nine international airports across Indonesia, including Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport.
The visa on arrival costs IDR 500,000 and can be paid on a credit or debit card. Cash is accepted in EUR, GBP, AUD, USD, SGD, and IDR.
Bali is hosting some major international conferences this year, including the G20 summit. In the last week, the island has hosted the Global Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction with the United Nations. As Bali opens its conference centers and event spaces for these major events, the government will be keen to remove any potential sticking points for visitors, delegates, and support teams.
Opening the visa on arrival program to as many nations as possible reflects the openness and welcoming atmosphere that Bali is so well known for.
While some countries have made it harder for citizens from Russia to travel, Indonesia has just made it a step easier. Both Russia and Ukraine have been added to the visa on arrival program and online commentary about this choice is bubbling up. The President of Indonesia has kept President Putin’s invitation to the G20 in place.
Jokowi has also invited the Ukrainian President Volodymyr despite Ukraine not being in the G20. The invites have been causing raised eyebrows. The US has made it clear that they want Putin and Russia to not attend. Jokowi was quoted to say that he wants Indonesia to be able to unite the G20 and promote peace and stability. (thebalisun.com)


Ministry urges tourism actors to enhance disaster mitigation efforts

The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy urged tourism actors to commit to disaster mitigation efforts in tourism destinations, an official stated.

The ministry’s special staff for crisis management, Fadjar Hutomo, affirmed that those efforts could be made by preparing safety installations, conducting emergency response when disaster strikes, or through other measures.

“What tourism destinations must prepare now is safety equipment that would be necessary for emergency response when disaster strikes,” Hutomo noted in his statement here on Sunday.

The ministry is committed to encouraging tourism actors nationwide to ready proper disaster mitigation responses to achieve a sustainable tourism industry, he stated.

Collaboration with relevant stakeholders in disaster mitigation and responses would be necessary to achieve an integrated disaster response management plan, he noted, adding that data and information provided by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) can be used for crisis management to anticipate possible disasters that might harm the sector.

“The GPDRR in Bali must motivate us to promptly enhance our (disaster mitigation) readiness from the pre-disaster until the post-disaster phases,” he remarked. (antaranews.com)


Traveler Alert: Bali Visa Agent Scams Tourists

Travelers from Australia and Canada have been scammed out of millions of Indonesian rupiah by a phony visa agent in Bali. As visitor numbers in Bali return to pre-pandemic levels, travelers are reminded to do their research before moving forward with visa agents.

The process of extending a tourist visa on arrival is straightforward but time-consuming. A visa on arrival for travelers from sixty countries enables visitors to remain in Indonesia for up to days. The standard visa on arrival can be extended one time for an additional 30-days.
Since the process of extending a visa on arrival requires three separate visits to a Bali immigration office, many visitors choose to have a local visa agent manage the process for them. This means that the traveler must only attend immigration once rather than three times.
While there are hundreds of legitimate and trustworthy visa agents in Bali, there are a number of scam artists claiming to be visa agents who take the money of unsuspecting travelers and disappear into the sunset.
Legitimate visa agents charge their customers the exact fee from the immigration office, plus a fair price for their time, travel, and expert services.
This is what happened to Australian Dalie El Beanini, 35, and Canadians Patrick Bonniel, 27, and Juan Carlos Peralta, 28. They had been travelling all throughout Bali for a few weeks and wanted to extend their stay in Indonesia.
Local reports suggest that the three men were very close to overstaying their original visas. The processing time for a visa extension is around two weeks. They gave a man by the name of Mang Dana IDR 8.4 million (USD 578) to renew their visa.
Dana was operating as a visa agent for a more senior agent by the name Komang Puspa Dana from Jinengdalem, Buleleng. According to reports from local news outlet Radar Bali, Mang Dana met the young men at their accommodation in Seminyak late in April. It was there that they handed over the IDR 8.4 million for what they were told was for three visa extensions and the visa agent’s fee.
Shortly after the exchange of funds, Mr. Dana disappeared and neither Beaini, Bonniel, nor Peralta have been able to contact him. He has disappeared with the funds and the three travelers were not closer to having their visas extended and were at risk of overstaying their original visas.
The penalty for overstaying a visa in Indonesia stands at IDR 1,000,000 (USD 68) per day. Information regarding the overstay fine is a little ambiguous. Some public information suggests that the million rupiah daily fine only comes into effect for an overstayed longer than 60-days.
Most passport control officers will lodge a fine for overstays less than 60-days too unless there is the police or hospital letter to explain extenuating circumstances. Overstaying a visa in Indonesia is considered a crime and can result in criminal prosecution, deportation, imprisonment, or blacklisting.
Travelers are reminded to read up about the visa rules before they enter Indonesia. Many travelers suggest that their fellow travelers chose a visa agent who comes personally recommended. They are reminded that they can do the extension process themselves with the help of staff at the immigration office.
Visa agents in Bali can help with extensions of the visa on arrival, social visa, and the rigorous process of obtaining a KITAS (work or business permit).
Bali’s visa on arrival program was extended to include sixty countries in early May. Travelers from these sixty countries can pay the set 500,000 IDR on arrival at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport. It is possible to pay with a credit/debit card or with cash in the accepted currencies (EUR, GBP, AUD, USD, SGD, IDR).
The police have not issued a statement regarding Beaini, Bonniel, or Perelta’s ordeal. It is thought that they have cut their losses since there is little hope for them getting their money back. (thebalisun.com)

Indonesian Minister Says End Of All Covid Restrictions In Sight As President Visits Bali

The Indonesian Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, has announced that there is a ‘big chance’ that all Covid-19 restrictions will soon be removed. Speaking at a press conference in Jakarta on the 22nd of May, the minister confirmed that the government is reviewing evidence that may result in the end of all restrictions.

The news comes in the same week that President Joko Widodo is visiting Bali for the 7th Global Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction. The 5-day conference hosted in partnership with the United Nations is welcoming over 4,000 delegates to Bali.

At present Bali is on PPKM Level 2 meaning, these visiting delegates, tourists, and local people are all living with some restrictions. These include the wearing of masking in indoor public settings and on public transport.

The PPKM Level 2 was extended two weeks ago for Java and Bali. The mandate requires cafes and restaurants to operate at 75% capacity. Diners may only be seated for an hour, and there are still some restrictions on serving hours for the hospitality sector too. Shopping malls, event spaces, and places of worship may only operate at 75% capacity.
The Bali tourism sector needs to be operating at 100% capacity as soon as possible. Local business owners can only recuperate losses from the impact of 2-years of international lockdowns preventing travelers from heading to Bali if they are able to operate without capacity restrictions.

All this may soon change, however. According to Minister Effendy, the government is looking closely at the data being presented to them by the Covid-19 Task Forces nationwide. He said that the president’s decision to drop the mask mandate in outdoor public settings and the pre-arrival PCR test for vaccinated travelers was a good sign. He also stated that delegates at the Global Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction are not being managed in bubbles.

He confirmed that delegates are unrestricted at the conference, they are allowed to explore Bali freely and are not restricted to their hotels and conference venues. This is significant as it shows that international government delegations are feeling comfortable enough to operate business travel with minimum Covid-19 restrictions.
If President Joko Widodo returns from the Global Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction with positive feedback from the event it is likely he will commit to further mandate relaxations.
Effendy reported that the next level of restriction reduction would be to remove masks in indoor settings and on public transport. His feelings have been echoed by a leading epidemiologist from the Faculty of Health of the University of Indonesia, Pandu Riono, who urged the government to erase all remaining restrictions as of the 23rd of May to enable locals and tourists more freedom.

At present, it seems the biggest factor in removing the remaining mandates is the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. The uptake of the vaccine in Bali has been high. The local government reported last week that they were renewing efforts to ensure that the elderly population had all received their second dose.
They also confirmed that the Bali Covid-19 Task Force had been instructed to do spot checks for vaccine certificates now they did not have to police masks wearing in outdoor settings. They have been instructed to encourage those who are not fully vaccinated to take their free vaccine at the nearest center, and for those who had been double vaccinated to take their booster shot. (thebalisun.com)


Passenger Ferry Headed For Bali Stranded By Strong Current

A car and passenger ferry approaching Gilimanuk Harbour, Bali ran aground on Friday 27th May after the captain misjudged the strength of the current. The ferry was stranded for over 3-hours as rescue crews tried to get the ship afloat once more.

The ship had left Ketapang Harbour in Banyuwangi, East Java, and was heading for Bali’s Gilimanuk Harbour. The ferry was carrying 30-foot passengers, 2 large lorries, 4 large trucks, 13 vans, and 3 pickup trucks.
The ferry service takes just 34-minutes across the Bali Strait in good conditions. It is one of the most affordable and efficient ways of accessing Bali from Java. The route is vital for the transportation of goods and is often used by domestic tourists heading to Bali from all across Java.
The ferry service runs every 20-minute, 24-hours a day. The schedule was disrupted on Friday after the ferry ran aground close to the Gilimanuk Jetty. The captain of the ferry, KMP Trisakti Adinda, had executed a smooth crossing, despite whether warnings being issued across Bali last week.
Adinda had stopped the ship and was waiting for his turn to pull up to the dock. While he was waiting for his slot, the undercurrent swept northwards and dragged the ferry into shallow waters.
Gilimanuk Harbour offers ferry services to Java for foot passengers and those with a vehicle. The service is mostly used by domestic travellers but is available for international travellers too. For travellers wishing to get the fast boat to Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, the best port to set off from is Sanur. For travellers heading to the Gili Islands the most efficient route is from Padang Bai, although there are services available from Sanur. (thebalisun.com)


Elon Musk And Bill Gates To Attend G20 In Bali Attracting More Digital Nomads

Bali is in the midst of a year of huge international events. The latest announcement from the Bali G20 Summit committee is that tech pioneers Elon Musk and Bill Gates will attend the B20, the business division of the G20 summit, in Bali in November. This comes as huge news for the island as many locals and ex-pats are getting excited about world leaders, in both government and business, visiting Bali and the impact this will have on their livelihoods.

Speaking at a press conference in Jakarta on 24th May, the chairman of the B20 committee Shinta Kamdani confirmed that Musk and Gates will be attending the event. Musk hinted at his attendance during the B20 Indonesia Business & Investment Forum in Davos Switzerland, held in January this year. The confirmation of his attendance will turn even more eyes on Bali during the 2-day summit.

The G20 will see political and business leaders land in Bali to discuss global economic recovery from Covid-19, climate change, and sustainable development. Kamdani said that the B20 Indonesia Summit will have a specific focus on ‘green transition, equitable distribution of health services, and inclusive growth’.

Local excitement around Elon Musk’s visit may have to be put on hold as Bali has two more big International conferences to host before the G20 in November. From 23-28th May Bali is hosting the 7th Global Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction, another United Nations event. The summit will also be attended by President Joko Widodo and over 2,000 Indonesian military personnel have been deployed to increase security across the island as 4,000 international delegates and their families arrive.
In June Bali will be hosting the 8th Bali and Beyond Travel Fair which showcases Indonesia’s exceptional tourism industry to the world. The summit will be attended by leaders in the travel and leisure space and is an opportunity for Bali to once again showcase their unique offering to the world. (antaranews.com)