After a year long of being more or less like an abandoned island, Bali and all the people who depend heavily on the island’s tourism, can finally see the light in the end of the tunnel. Everywhere, the island sounds busy with hopeful whispers and words of joy. One by one, sfore fronts are once more being cleaned, dusred, and re-decorated.

President Joko Widodo through the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Kemenparekraf in Bahasa Indonesia) has finally decided to reopen the Island of Gods for international tourist starting this July, 2021.

As quoted from Antara News, “We are very delighted with the move signaled by President Joko Widodo to open Bali in June or July this year. We have been waiting for a year and it has not been in vain,” said corporate secretary, PT Destinasi Tirta Nusantara, AB Sadewa, in a statement issued in March 2021.

“As a tourism industry maker, we hope the reopening of Bali can truly be realized in order to boost the recovery of the tourism and economy sector,” he added.

For a year, the tourism sector, which specifically caters to international tourists, has stopped operations due to restrictions on entry of foreign travelers, he then noted.

The reopening of Bali is scheduled to begin in July, 2021 with pilot trials in three green zone destinations — Ubud, Sanur, and Nusa Dua. The vaccination campaign is being accelerated in the green zones to ensure the safety and comfort of tourists coming into Bali.

COVID-19 vaccination programs have been held simultaneously in the three green zone areas in Bali, starting Monday (March 22, 2021), with the vaccines supplied by the central government.

The central government has supported the supply of vaccines in accordance with the requirement of 170,487 doses, divided over three regions. At least 47,045 doses have been given to the Ubud region, 87,715 to Nusa Dua, and 35,727 doses to the Sanur region.

Sadewa said he is optimistic that opening Bali to foreign tourists could be a turning point for tourism recovery in Indonesia in general and help move the local economy, such as hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops, and ensure health protocol readiness, or CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety, Environment), as per the standards set by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.

To maintain tourism sustainability, Sadewa said he hopes the government would roll out stimulus or incentives, especially for tourist agencies to help them restart operations that have been halted for over a year. Such stimulus measures, he said, can be in the form of a soft loan for capital, marketing cost incentives, relaxation for foreign tourists who come to Indonesia, and tourism grants.

He also said he is hoping for prompt implementation of ‘vaccine passports’ for foreign tourists who have received their shots, in order to reduce the risk of transmission. This will certainly encourage travelers who want to vacation in Indonesia as well as boost the level of acceptance of foreign tourists by the Indonesian people, he added.

“We hope that Bali (tourism) will soon be revived if the vaccination process goes on every day. If the spread of COVID-19 begins to slow down, with the designated steps by the regional governments, the opening of the economic sector in Bali can be carried out one by one, especially the tourism sector, to (help the region) return to normal,” said President Joko Widodo while reviewing a mass vaccination program in Gianyar, Bali on March 16, 2021.

If the three green or COVID-19-free tourist destinations are opened to tourists, monitoring and evaluation will continue every week, including the developments following the reopening.

“Green Zone Tourism or COVID-19 free areas will be able to accept foreign tourists starting August 17, 2021. It is still the trial stage, because in March, 2022, the whole tourism (area) in Bali will be opened to foreign tourists,” said the Gianyar district head I Made Mahayastra.

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, said green tourist destinations that are free of COVID-19 would make tourists, both domestic and foreign, feel safe while vacationing in Bali. On the other hand, those in the tourism industry and the Balinese people will also be safe and comfortable as incoming tourists would be free of COVID-19, he finally added.

Well, now that we know the plan, can we just start planning already? Below are some ideas of what you can do within the area of Nusa Dua, Sanur, and Ubud.

If you love extreme and water sport, we recommend you to stay in Nusa Dua area; as it is conveniently located along the shores of Bali’s most priminent beaches and known for their water sport and extreme sport facilities like parasailing and paragliding. If jetskis and banana boats have become far too modest for you, then you definitely need to give these a try.

More into yoga and all that jazz? Then you should stay in Ubud and try meditating in the various yoga shalas you’ll easily find there. Known as the center for yoga enthusiasts, you will find no problem getting healthy and vegan food in the area. You should also give Ubud a visit if you have an interest in art as there are some of the island’s most popular art galleries and museums in the area.

Lastly, for a more refined and high-classed version of the island vacation, try staying in Sanur area. Its relatively flat contour make it ideal for family stroll, and it seems like the seniors prefer the area too. With distinguished local boutiques scattered in between luxury brand stores and cozy little restaurants offering five-star menus to fill your stomach with, Sanur had always been busy with pedestrians strolling in summer dresses, and we sure hope that it will soon see some life again.

Which area will you go to this July?