BALI, Indonesia: Beginning Thursday, fully vaccinated travelers from 19 countries will be able to again enter Bali, Indonesia.
Of note, citizens of Australia, which accounts for the largest number of Bali tourists, will not yet be able to visit.
Citizens from those countries permitted to enter Bali include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, New Zealand, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Hungary and Norway.
However, visitors must undergo a five-day hotel quarantine on the island, which has has one of the highest vaccination rates in Indonesia, with more than 82 percent being fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.
Indonesian officials closed the island's international airport in April 2020 to stop the spread of COVID-19.
With daily cases dropping significantly since July, when the country became the epicentre of the pandemic in Asia, the local tourism sector is now hoping for the return of some of the 6 million foreign tourists who visited in 2019 before the pandemic.
However, flight monitoring site Flightradar24 noted that no international flights are scheduled to land at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport on Thursday and Friday, though hotels, restaurants and other businesses that rely on tourism are looking forward to the reopening.
Asih Wesika, deputy chair of the Indonesian Entrepreneurs Association in Bali, told BBC News Indonesian, "This is very good news, it is very promising to reviving the economy in Bali."
He also expressed his concern that the quarantine requirement would prevent many tourists from returning, noting, "Now that they are required to be quarantined and have to bear the cost by themselves, this becomes an even more expensive vacation cost."
The head of the Bali tourism office, I Putu Astawa, told BBC News Indonesian, "If there is a new variant, we must be careful first while we evaluate further developments," adding that the government was considering reducing the quarantine period to three days and eventually doing away with it.