Pros and Cons of New Travel Regulation for Domestic Travellers

17 December 2020

The Central Government of Indonesia has suggested Bali Authority to strengthen the implementation of health protocols in the Island of Gods before Christmas and New Year holiday. The Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, has responded with a Circular Letter Number 2021 Year 2020 (15/12); main points of this new regulation are:

  • All domestic tourists coming through Ngurah Rai Airport must possess a valid negative SWAB Test (PCR) which conducted 48 hours (the latest) before flight
  • Filling up personal information at e-HAC Indonesia online
  • All domestic tourists coming through sea-ports must possess a valid negative Antigen Rapid Test which conducted 48 hours (the latest) before departure
  • Both negative SWAB Test (PCR) and Antigen Rapid Test must be valid for 14 days after testing

Not only controlling the guests, but all businesses are strictly prohibited from holding any event, including doing celebration by lighting fireworks and drinking alcohol. These restrictions applied from 18 December 2020 to 4 January 2021.

Governor Koster said that this difficult decision must be taken as the health and safety of Balinese citizens is the number one priority. Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants (PHRI) Badung Regency, I Gusti Agung Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya added that Bali must be able to convince the world, especially it plans to open for international market shortly. “We need to take very careful steps to convince the world since the COVID-19 pandemic still exists, and the number of infections keep fluctuating. I even urge all PHRI (hotels and restaurants association) members to create a cooperation task force in their properties to urge everyone following the health protocols,” said Rai.

But only a few hours after this new regulation being released, tourism entrepreneurs in Bali must swallow the bitter pill as many tourists who booked their properties decided to cancel their visit. The high price of Swab Test (PCR) is the main reason why people abort their plan on spending Christmas and New Year holiday in Bali. Before, domestic travellers would only need to pay IDR 85.000 for Rapid test at the airport, but Swab test price is started at IDR 900.000, which is ten times more expensive. Imagine a family of four will need to pay more than IDR 3 million just to get tested for the flight.

According to the Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Hariyadi Sukamdani (16/12) Bali suffered losses of up to Rp967 billion after the government required tourists to take a PCR test before flying to Bali. Meanwhile, there were 133 thousand tourists who decided to refund their flight tickets, causing a loss of up to IDR 317 billion. This amount only comes from the sale of aeroplane tickets, not including other sea and land transportation.

The latest figure of Covid-19 Per Wednesday (16/12), there were 145 new infections in Bali, which make total cases on the island 15.880. New recoveries at 146, in total 14.495 with two recent death was reported, in total 474. While in Indonesia, there were 6.725 of new cases which make total cases in the country 636.154. Recent recoveries at 5.328, in total 521.984. New deaths at 137, and in total 19.248.

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