Australians could be allowed to travel to Bali from as early as next month as Indonesian officials push for a travel bubble between the two nations.
Indonesia’s Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said Australia is one of a select number of countries officials would like to welcome tourists ahead of plans to reopen Bali on September 11.
‘We have to carefully selected (countries), so I think Australia, New Zealand later on, China, of course, and maybe South Korea and Japan. We are studying day by day,’ he said.
Indonesian officials are hoping to implement a travel bubble with Australia. Pictured: Atuh Beach in Bali (stock image)
Mr Luhut, who was speaking at an address to the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club on Monday, said discussions would be held with the Australian government.
‘Right now we negotiate with Australia. We will see what happens, what they need from us and what we need from them,’ he said.
‘We need to negotiate standard of care because nobody can claim they’re better than others. Look at America right now. Look at Singapore right now.’
Mr Luhut said he believes Indonesia is currently handling the coronavirus pandemic ‘okay’ but needs to remain vigilant.
According to the minister, Indonesia remains on track to reopen its international borders in September. Bali welcomed domestic travellers on July 31 and saw about 4,000 additional arrivals daily.
Tourism brings in billions of dollars to the Indonesian economy each year.
Indonesia’s Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said his government would speak to Australia about the proposed travel bubble
Pictured: Flight attendants wearing face mask walk through Bali’s international airport during the coronavirus pandemic
There were more than 16million visitors to Indonesia last year, including 1.3million Australians, Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Despite Mr Luhut’s hopeful comments, there is little indication the Australian government would implement a travel bubble with Indonesia anytime soon.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s international borders remain closed for the foreseeable future and citizens are advised against leaving.
On Tuesday, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner warned border controls on visitors from coronavirus hotspots would remain in place for at least 18 months.
Queensland has barred visitors from NSW and Victoria, while WA Premier Mark McGowan announced his borders could remain shut until mid-next year.
Indonesia has recorded more than 127,000 coronavirus cases and more than 5,700 deaths.