Bali re-opens to flights but no tourists in sight

BALI, INDONESIA (AFP) – Bali re-opened to international flights from selected countries yesterday, 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 yesterday. Foreign visitors must be vaccinated, quarantine in a hotel for five days and follow strict visa requirements under new entry rules for travellers.

“We’re ready and waiting for international flights,” said airport spokesman Taufan Yudhistira. “But so far… nothing scheduled today.”

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

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

Empty deck chairs by the beach in Sanur, near Denpasar on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali. PHOTO: AFP