Bali’s paradise reopens for foreign tourists.

Hindu temple Ulun Danu, on Lake Bratan, Bali, Indonesia. Photo by DEZALB on Pixabay

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For the first time in two years, direct international flights to Bali have resumed after Indonesian authorities decided to open the island’s tourist paradise to foreign travelers from all over the world. However, the mandatory quarantine remains in force for all visitors, writes the Associated Press.

Indonesian officials have announced since October that the island of Bali will accept foreign tourists from 19 countries that meet the World Health Organization’s pandemic control criteria, but so far there have been no direct international flights to Bali. On Thursday, the airline Garuda Indonesia operated the first flight of this kind in the last two years, operating a flight that came from Tokyo.

Singapore Airlines will also introduce a regular direct route on the Singapore-Denpasar route (Bali) from February 16, according to a spokesman for Bali International Airport.

Tourists who will prove full-fledged vaccination must be quarantined for five days in a hotel or on a cruise ship certified by the Jakarta Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, while tourists who have received a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine should be quarantined for seven days.

Indonesia reported 27,197 new Covid-19 infections and 38 deaths in the last 24 hours on Thursday. The country has recorded more than 4.4 million cases since the pandemic began.

Prior to the pandemic, Bali Airport received more than 200 international flights a day. The island was closed to all international flights in early 2020, after the pandemic hit Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world.

Tourism is obviously the main source of public and private income in Bali, an island inhabited by over 4 million people, mostly Hindus, although the Indonesian nation is predominantly Muslim.

Tourism in Bali has grown enormously in the last two decades, having previously become a desolate tourist paradise due to numerous terrorist incidents targeting foreign visitors. The Bali authorities have made great efforts to overcome this image crisis, and now the island is one of the most popular tourist destinations for lovers of exotic holidays.

The reopening of Bali will also serve as a “rehearsal” as the Indonesian government prepares to host a major G-20 summit later this year, Tourism and Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said.

The meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors was scheduled to take place in Bali in mid-February, but was moved to the capital Jakarta due to rising Covid-19 cases, which led some invite them to participate in the event only virtually.