Overseas tourists will be able to visit Bali in just eight weeks after the island shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
International travellers will be able to visit the popular holiday destination from September 11, and domestic tourists from July 31, Bali Governor Wayan Koster announced on Sunday.
The island will undergo three phases to recover its economy that was crippled in the wake of the virus outbreak – with the last stage set to allow international visitors.
But as coronavirus cases continue to climb in Indonesia, experts have warned there are more deaths to come and holidaymakers should move with ‘caution’.
International travellers will be able to visit the Indonesian island from September 11, and domestic tourists from July 31, Bali Governor, Wayan Koster announced on Sunday. Pictured: travellers in Seminyak, Bali
Bali will undergo a three phase plan to recover the economy that was crippled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak, Bali
Governor Koster urged Bali locals to ensure they continue to wear face masks, socially distance and ‘diligently wash hands’.
‘I must underline that these plans will only come to reality with God’s blessing as well as co-operation, collective responsibility and solidarity from all layers of Balinese society,’ he said.
‘Reopening the tourism industry will help restart the economy in a phased manner.’
The first phase which will come into effect from July 9 will allow businesses to reopen in Bali.
A string of services like markets, restaurants, finance, construction and health will all start operating again.
Tours and tourism attractions across the island will also be reopened as part of the second phase on July 31 as domestic travellers are allowed to visit.
This will include beaches, temples, waterfalls and other popular tourist activities.
The third phase on September 11 is set to allow international visitors.
Tours and tourism attractions across the island will be reopened as part of the second phase on July 31 as domestic travellers are allowed to visit. Pictured tourists at beach bar in Seminyak
Tourists crowd on the beach before the coronavirus lockdown in February in Kuta, Bali
Gusti Ngurah Mahardika, a virologist from Bali’s Udayana University, warned Indonesia was only now hitting its peak in COVID-19 cases.
‘The number of infections we are seeing in Bali is just the tip of the iceberg; at the same time, the number of COVID-19 deaths is increasing,’ Dr Mahardika told The Australian.
‘I would suggest the Bali administration sit and discuss with experts, analyse the data and evaluate the situation based on that.’
Despite the warnings surrounding social distancing, more than 100 tourists were photographed last month at an illegal yoga event.
Instructor Wissam Barakeh, 45 was responsible for holding a yoga retreat in Bali’s cultural hub Ubud which sparked outrage across the island.
He was previously forced to make an apology after images of the The House of Om event showed tourists crammed into a tiny space with no face masks in sight.
Barakeh has since been arrested, and is being held at an immigration centre until his deportation flights to his home country of Syria are arranged.
More than 100 western foreigners breached social distancing rules at mass gathering held at The House of Om retreat in Bali last month (pictured)
Australians are banned from travelling overseas unless they have an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs.
Bali’s economy took a devastating blow when the island went into lockdown in April as it relies almost entirely on tourism.
Shocking photos emerged last month showing the streets of the once-thriving Indonesian island empty, with hundreds of stores, hotels and cafes closed.
Poppies Lanes, a famous market street in Kuta which are usually filled with colourful stalls, are now bare. The laneways appear derelict with graffiti covering the grey walls.
Foreign tourist arrivals into Indonesia plunged more than 60 per cent in March, compared to the same month last year, with Chinese arrivals sliding more than 97 per cent.
Hotel occupancy, one of Bali’s largest industries, was at just 2 per cent in May.
Bali has had 1,940 cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths.
Indonesia has had more than 66,000 cases and 3,309 deaths.
Kuta beach in Bali (pictured) is empty as the beaches are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic
Poppies Lanes, a famous market street in Kuta, is normally filled with colourful stalls selling tourists bags, clothing and bowls