Bali reopens to international flights but no tourists in sight

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 14 2021 05:11 PM

People are seen at Ngurah Rai International Airport ahead of the reopening of Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Thursday to international flights, following border closures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, in Badung, Bali, Indonesia Oct. 13, 2021. Fikri Yusuf, Antara, Foto/Reuters
People are seen at Ngurah Rai International Airport ahead of the reopening of Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Thursday to international flights, following border closures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, in Badung, Bali, Indonesia Oct. 13, 2021. Fikri Yusuf, Antara, Foto/Reuters

BALI —Bali reopened to international flights from select countries on Thursday, including China, Japan, and France, as the pandemic-struck Indonesian holiday island took a step toward welcoming back tourists.

But authorities in Bali, which lost its primary source of income as tourism dried up, said there were no international flights expected on Thursday.

Foreign visitors must be vaccinated, quarantine in a hotel for 5 days and follow strict visa requirements under new entry rules for travelers.

"We're ready and waiting for international flights," said airport spokesman Taufan Yudhistira. "But so far there's nothing scheduled today."

Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport was open to travelers from 19 countries including South Korea, China, Japan, France, the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and New Zealand, authorities said.

The partial reopening, however, does not include Australians -- a key source of the millions of tourists who flocked to the palm-fringed island before the pandemic.

Indonesia was previously devastated by the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus -- recording more than 56,000 new COVID cases in just 1 day in mid-July.

The government announced emergency restrictions in the hardest-hit areas, shutting down non-essential businesses and limiting people's movement.

But case numbers are now falling nationwide as the government ramps up vaccinations across the Southeast Asian archipelago of 270 million people.

Authorities have begun a steady easing of restrictions as the country sees a decrease in daily confirmed COVID cases and deaths. 

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