Indonesia’s minister of Maritime and Investment affairs, Luhut Pandjaitan, made waves this month when he said Bali would weed out backpackers and focus on “quality” tourists after its reopening, which is planned for October.
“We will filter the tourists who visit,” Pandjaitan told media. “We do not want backpackers, so that Bali remains clean, and the tourists who come here are of quality.”
“We’ll aim for quality tourism in Bali, so we won’t allow backpackers to enter once the reopening plan for international travellers is officially put in place in the near future,” Pandjaitan said (these comments reportedly came on September the 10th).
The comments went viral, and Pandjaitan’s spokesman then issued an update.
The spokesperson said it wouldn’t be backpackers who are not welcome but “visitors who violate health rules and regulations” and well as “laws and immigration regulations” in Indonesia – something Bali has been cracking down on for some time.
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Bali is not alone in taking the pandemic as a chance to encourage a more profitable kind of tourism. Amsterdam has done it too, as have various other tourism hotspots around the world.
Back to Bali though, The Lonely Planet clarifies, “the government spokesperson added that all foreign visitors and tourists can visit Bali, provided they adhere to protocols.”
In other news about Bali’s re-opening, the popular island, which is economically highly dependant on tourism, is planning to re-open to international tourists in October (once 70% of the local population has been vaccinated), starting with countries with low rates of COVID-19 and high rates of vaccination.
These countries include Japan, Singapore and New Zealand.
7news.com.au reports that Pandjaitan has said the addition of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had dropped by 94.5 per cent since a peak in mid-July.
As for Australians hoping to once again holiday in Bali, looking to the future, vaccine passports still appear key to rejoining the world.
Travel bug activated? Watch expats living in Bali share some of their wildest experiences on the island in the video below.