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Asia Minute: Bali Heads Toward Cautious Re-Opening

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AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati
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A security guard wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus as he guards an empty beach in Bali, Indonesia on Friday, May 22, 2020.

As Hawaii moves closer to a gradual re-opening of tourism, other visitor destinations are doing the same. One of the latest to announce plans is the Indonesian island that's the country's most popular with visitors.

 

The island of Bali has long enchanted visitors with a vibrant mix of cultures, a rich history going back thousands of years, and, away from the crowds, a peaceful, contemplative environment. According to the Indonesian government, it’s also the most popular tourist destination in the entire country.

And it’s apparently just about ready to get back to business — carefully.

The Jakarta Post reports Bali will welcome local travelers in a couple of days — part of a phased approach to a broader reopening. International visitors won’t be able to come until September.

That gives a little time for some of the details to be worked out, with some familiar questions for tourist destinations, including Hawai’i.

Are visitors from any location welcome? What about negative tests for COVID-19? And how far ahead of the visit do they need to be held?

As for broader questions about the future of tourism on Bali, those may sound familiar too.

The online magazine The Diplomat quotes a local hotel owner who asks “Do we want Bali to essentially be a playground, or theme park, where people from the outside come in and have fun . . . or do we want it to be something that serves the people who live here, who in the end are responsible for managing the development on the island and the preservation of its culture and natural resources?”

Or perhaps, some combination.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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