|Passengers stand in line at Ngurah Rai International Airport as Indonesia's resort island of Bali is set to reopen for international flights on Oct 14 after border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Badung, Bali, Indonesia, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. (Photo by=Antara Foto/Fikri Yusuf/via Reuters)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] JAKARTA: Hours before Indonesia's top holiday destination Bali reopens to foreign tourists after 18 months of pandemic hiatus, the island is lacking one crucial ingredient: international flights.
Tourism-reliant Bali is scheduled to reopen on Thursday and though its Ngurah Rai international airport has carried out simulations preparing for the tourists to return, it is not expecting much to happen soon."So far there is no schedule," said Taufan Yudhistira, a spokesman for the airport.
Indonesia's tight immigration measures during the pandemic have devastated the island, with widespread closures of hotels, shops, and businesses. The government is keen to revive Bali's beleaguered tourism industry in response to a sharp fall in new coronavirus cases since July, when Indonesia was Asia's COVID-19 epicenter. But it’s not even clear who is allowed to visit.
A cabinet minister announced earlier this week that nationals from 18 countries were eligible, but did not specify which those were. The government earlier this month said arrivals from South Korea, New Zealand, China, Japan and the United Arab Emirates would be permitted. The move follows Thailand's calibrated reopening that began in July with much fanfare, with the islands of Samui and Phuket welcoming vaccinated tourists from multiple countries, with hundreds on the opening days.