PLANNING FOR 2022 NEW YEARS EVE IN BALI
There are some catches, but they are for your own safety.
Things may be looking up for other parts of the world. Alas, for Bali's tourism industry, it's still struggling to recover from the pandemic.
From January to October 2021, over 800,000 tourists visited Bali. However, since October, the number of foreigners using the Ngurah Rai International Airport has only been two. Before the pandemic, Bali saw millions of tourists from all around the world. In 2019, it welcomed over 6 million visitors. In 2020, it still received over a million visitors.
It is worth noting that Bali only reopened in October 2021. The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) did not provide numbers for the entire year, and it is possible that the relaunch was not as successful as hoped.
It's also worth noting that domestic tourism to Bali is expected to increase significantly during the upcoming holiday season despite the coronavirus threat.
The airport situation
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Officials at Bali's international airport said that it may not be able to receive international flights until 2022.
"There are several airlines [intending to fly to Bali], but there are no declarations yet because nothing's finalized. There are quite a lot [of plans]. But [regular international flights] are more likely in January (2022)." Ngurah Rai's CEO, Faik Fahmi, said.
"Tourists are comparing with other destinations. Others don't require quarantine, while we require quarantine. This is being considered by the airlines," the CEO continued.
According to Fahmi, airlines are currently studying the impact of the country's quarantine requirements on their plans to operate flights to Bali. Many of them are expected to implement measures that will help boost tourism in the region.
It must be noted that only fully vaccinated individuals from 19 countries are permitted to enter the island via its Ngurah Rai checkpoint. Those who are fully vaccinated must undergo a three-day self-quarantine. While those with only the first jab must go into a five-day self-quarantine.
According to travel agents, many international tourists are choosing to visit Thailand instead of Bali due to its less restrictive quarantine. This is because Pulau Dewata has been closed for almost a month.
In addition, Ida Bagus Gede Sidharta, the head of Denpasar's Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), said: "Right now, many are choosing Thailand. Because Thailand doesn't mandate quarantine."
Bali is closed for new year's eve
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Since Bali is still recovering, it will be closed for new year's eve. The Bali Provincial Police has increased security at the entry points for visitors from other provinces. Those entry points include Ngurah Rai International Airport, Gilimanuk Port, Padangbai Port, Benoa Port, and Mengwi Bus Terminal.
Those entering Bali from various airports and seaports will be closely monitored to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Bali Provincial Police will closely monitor tourists until January 2, 2022.
Bali's various tourist attractions, including hotels, shopping centers, and houses of worship, will also be monitored to ensure that the COVID-19 protocol is followed.
In addition to travel restrictions, Bali's COVID-19 Task Force has issued a warning to businesses in Bali not to allow parties and fireworks during the holiday season.
"Parties are prohibited, [fireworks] are not allowed. It's clear that when there are parties the euphoria will be too intense," said I Dewa Nyoman Rai Darmadi, a member of Bali's COVID-19 Task Force.
"This is what we will not allow. There should be no fireworks party or any specialized party. No one is allowed to invite famous artists [to perform]." Darmadi added.
Darmadi also said that establishments in Bali that host parties or events must adhere to the 1 a.m. curfew on Christmas and New Year. Those who violate might get fined IDR1 million or ordered to close the establishment. Also, around 1,000 police officers and soldiers will be deployed for checks.
All in all, partying in moderation is still an option and, remembering that 2022 is a year of wellness, it seems like a good one indeed.