Bali’s Governor, I Wayan Koster, has responded to the rumours that international flights to and from Bali will open on 1st December 2020, derived from social media messages that stated so. He explained that the plan is still only at the stage of a study by the central government.
“It’s being discussed with the coordinating minister and the Minister of Transportation,” the governor said.
In the message, it was stated that there had been a direction from the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment to the Directorate General of Health, in an effort to restore the national economy, especially in Bali, by increasing tourism on the island.
Other reasons for opening international flights immediately are to restore Bali’s economic condition and to improve imports and exports. Many small- and medium-sized enterprises (UMKM) products are usually shipped via international flights.
Bali Regional Secretary and a spokesperson from the Bali COVID-19 Task Force, Dewa Made Indra, also explained that the opening of Bali’s international flights is still under review by the central and regional governments.
“If we were allowed, international flights would have been opened already, because this is important to move our economy. But the central government is evaluating our level of readiness so that when it is opened, there will not be an increase in COVID-19 cases,” he said.
Furthermore, Head of Bali Provincial Tourism Office Putu Astawa claimed that he had not received official information regarding the plan to open international flights to and from Bali.
However, on one occasion, Putu also asked the central government to announce the opening to foreign tourists into Indonesia, particularly to Bali, ahead of time so that the Bali Provincial Government can be prepared before implementing the policy.
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, recently stated that the Indonesian government is aiming to make Bali into a green zone in early 2021, following large-scale vaccination in the third week of December. Foreign tourists’ confidence in Bali’s security from COVID-19 is also a consideration.