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Bali resumes international flights for global tourists first time since onset of COVID-19 pandemic

 

The Indonesian resort island of Bali has officially resumed international direct flights carrying foreign tourists for the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, but mandatory quarantine is still required.

The overseas travellers have to show Covid-19 vaccination certificates taken at least 14 days before departure and also provice negative results of RT-PCR tests from their countries of origin at a maximum of 48 hours before departure, reports Xinhua news agency.

The quarantine period is five days for fully vaccinated travellers and seven days for travellers who have received only the first dose.

It should take place in a hotel or on a 'liveaboard' certified by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.

Bali had opened to visitors from China, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates since mid-October 2021, but there have been no direct flights since then.

Indonesia recorded a drastic slump in the number of foreign visitors up to 1.6 million people last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic struck, Bali alone could welcome 6.2 million foreign visitors a year on average, according to data from Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.

Famous for its beaches, surfing, temples and nightlife, the resort island usually accounts for 54 per cent of Indonesia's economy for the tourism sector.

The Southeast Asian country expected the reopening of flights to the world-renowned holiday island to help bounce back the country's tourism sector after it was hit hard by the pandemic.

"I hope the reopening can help revive the people's economy on the island," Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said on Friday.

Bali's reopening however, came amid a steady increase in Covid-19 cases in the country.

As of Friday, Indonesia confirmed 32,211 new Covid-19 infections, raising its tally of infections to 4,446,694, while the total number of confirmed Omicron cases in the archipelagic country has increased to 3,161, according to data from the country's Health Ministry.

"All steps we've taken have undergone calculation and careful considerations. But remember that all travelers must strictly comply with the health protocols regulated by the Indonesian Covid-19 Task Force. All of this will be meaningless if we are not disciplined," Pandjaitan said.

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