Due to COVID-19, the world is facing a major tourism loss. During this tough time of the global pandemic, the Indonesian government is in the middle of drawing up plans for a ‘travel bubble’ between Australia and three other Asia Pacific countries (China, South Korea and Japan), in a desperate bid to boost their tourism.
COVID-19 stats comparison Indonesia and Australia
The Travel Bubble
According to Odo Manuhutu, deputy coordinating Minister maritime affairs and investment in Indonesia – the travel bubble would be between Australia, South Korea, Japan and China. In an interview conference, he said that for the initial stage Indonesia is opening their borders firstly to those four countries since they have less COVID-19 cases, and other countries will follow suit, and of course health protocols will be ordered. According to local media, the plan would include executing a criterion for foreign travellers allowed to visit the country, which would also involve the offering of packages for “in-city tourism”. Some news sources have revealed that these packages would be ladened with strict health protocols, as part of an effort to recover domestic tourism.
Deputy Minister said that after the criteria are made, negotiations will be made with those countries for two, three or four weeks. When agreements are made, the travel bubbles will be opened for travellers. In addition to the high level of tourists, there are also business interests with these four countries as well for Indonesia. It is understood the four countries were selected as corridor partners given their investment has helped Indonesia’s economy a lot. Critics of the travel bubble have already questioned whether the discussions are too premature, given that numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to spike in some parts of Indonesia and China. Indonesia has officially recorded more than 39,000 COVID-19 cases and 2198 deaths until now.
Green Lane Between Bali And Australia
It’s not the first time a connectivity program has been suggested between Bali and Australia. In May 2020, hotels and resorts pointed to an early-July reopening to allow guests to the popular holiday island. Local authorities and businesses in Bali have proposed to unlock travel restrictions which currently avoid tourists from visiting the island. The introduction of a travel bubble or “green lane” between Bali and Australia would permit some movement between regions where coronavirus infections were low or non-existent. Indonesian Hotel & Restaurant Association (PHRI) chairman Rai Suryawijaya mentioned in the publication that some form of allowance for international travel would need to be implemented soon, as Bali’s economy couldn’t hold out much longer.
According to the Asian Review, the four countries nominated by Indonesia for travel bubble in are particularly important for Southeast Asia. China and Japan offered more than one-third of foreign direct investment into Indonesia in 2019, while Chinese and Australians together recorded for more than 20 per cent of foreign visitors last year.
If everything goes well, the travel bubble will begin soon, keeping in mind the health and safety measures. This will help boost the economy of Indonesia.