Indonesian government to ban backpackers from Bali when borders reopen

It's one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the world.
It's one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the world. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Indonesian government is planning to ban backpackers from travelling to Bali, according to local media reports.

Speaking during a virtual press conference this week, Maritime and Investment Coordinator Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said Bali would reopen to travellers from low-risk countries when the area reaches "Level 2 partial lockdown" status.

But backpackers won't be welcome.

"We'll aim for quality tourism in Bali, so we won't allow backpackers to enter once the reopening plan for international travellers is officially put in place in the near future," Pandjaitan said.

Bali is one of the most popular destinations for backpackers in South-East Asia. It's unclear exactly on how "quality tourism" and "backpacker" will be defined by the Indonesian Government, or how they intend on stopping them from entering the country.

The minister also said all travellers will be required to scan in using a COVID-19 tracing app called PeduliLindungi before entering tourist attractions, malls or other areas popular with visitors. 

On Wednesday, Indonesia reported 3948 new cases of COVID-19, a dramatic decrease from July when daily figures were above 50,000.

The Indonesian Embassy in Wellington has been contacted for comment.