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Image: Cok Ace during the webinar. Credit: Pemprov Bali

Deputy Governor of Bali Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati (Cok Ace) said yesterday that the government had already prepared a Free Covid Corridor program for Bali.

He was the Keynote Speaker at a SAKIRA (Time to Talk) webinar organized by ASITA 71 Bali (Bali Association of Indonesian Tourism) with the theme ‘When will Bali open its Borders?’ during a zoom meeting from the Bali deputy governor’s office, in Denpasar, Thursday afternoon (25/2).

The webinar included the Secretary of the Bali Province Covid-19 Task Force I Made Rentin, the Head of Marketing for the Bali Provincial Tourism Office Ida Ayu Indah Yustikarini, the CEO of Garuda Indonesia Bali-Nusra Dewa Rai and the Head of the Immigration Division Bali I Made Sukrayasa, and Deputy Governor Cok Ace explained that the Free Covid Corridor program would allow foreign tourists who had completely implemented vaccines in their own country.

“The target at this time are Chinese tourists, as we know that the country has managed to get out of the pandemic because of a successful vaccination program. So we can let them in very soon,” explained the Head of DPD PHRI Bali.

However, Bali also has to set several requirements, or achievements, first before this can happen.

“First we have to have 75% of the population vaccinated, and especially tourism operators and workers,” he said. According to him, the complete vaccination of Bali as quickly as possible is now the priority of the government, and especially within the tourism sector. “For that I have asked the central government to set Bali as a priority for vaccines,” said the vice governor.

In addition, the professor of ISI Denpasar also said that another requirement was a health facility similar to their home country, namely China. “We also have to prepare this. At least our facilities must be the same. So that the country allows its citizens to travel to Bali,” he explained.

Furthermore, he also emphasized that keeping to the Covid-19 health protocols is one of the important things that must be considered if you want to open borders. He admits that he is grateful that Bali is currently in the second position in obedience to health programs with a rate of 98.3% under West Kalimantan at 98.6%. “This is of course another strength to convince the international community that Bali is indeed ready to welcome international tourists,” he added, saying that tourism actors have also prepared a CHSE certification program in every main accommodation, restaurant and tourist destination.

Cok Ace said that the government will not stop pushing the implementation of the protocols to the public. Because, this is the first selling point of Bali tourism during this pandemic period. “In the past, what we were selling was nature, customs and culture. Now we move a little beyond those three things. We have to be able to convince the international community that the government and society have actually implemented the program properly and correctly,” he said.

Previously, the Chairman of ASITA 71 Bali, Putu Winastra, stated that the SAKIRA webinar was an initiative of the ASITA Bali DPD management to obtain and spread information about Bali tourism, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The information we get from interested parties can be shared with ASITA members and other travel agents,” said Winastra.

The webinar was also attended by 35 tourism sellers and 35 tourism buyers.