It looks like you might be sinking Bintangs in Bali sooner than you think because the Indonesian tourism ministry is planning to open the borders again as early as October.

The coveted Bali trip is a rite of passage for young Australians, and thankfully it looks like you won’t have to wait much longer before relaxing in your beachside villa with your besties.

Unlike the rest of Indonesia, Bali itself has only had a small number of coronavirus cases. While the whole Indonesian archipelago had recorded 16,496 cases with 1,076 deaths as of Friday, only 343 of these cases and four deaths were from the popular holiday island.

According to the secretary of the tourism ministry No Wayan Giri Adnyani, Indonesia is looking to partially reopen islands including Bali, Yogyakarta and the Riau Islands in an attempt to boost international tourism, if the curve continues to flatten.

Understandably, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown has wreaked havoc on the popular tourist spot, with much of the island’s economy riding on the back of overseas tourism.

Indonesia closed its borders in March, allowing only Indonesian citizens, diplomats and family members to enter the country. While this helped to quickly flatten the curve, it has resulted in devastation for the country’s economy and the livelihoods of citizens.

“People don’t have a social safety net like we do in Australia – the amount of savings for Balinese is usually about one to two weeks,” The Indonesia Institute president Ross Taylor told The West Australian newspaper.

“There’s families [in Bali] actually starving – it’s catastrophic the economic fallout for a disease that appears not to be impacting as yet on the island.”

If the curve continues to flatten and active cases remain low, Indonesia will look to reopen popular tourist destinations between June and October.

But don’t get your hopes up too high just yet because all Australian citizens and permanent residents are currently prohibited from travelling outside of Australia (unless you’ve got an exemption).

Australia is already in talks for a trans-Tasman “travel bubble,” so we’ll likely have to wait and see how that works out before they open up the restrictions to other countries like Indonesia.

“I think we might see some Asian and pacific ports open their borders to us from the start to the middle of next year,” the Tourism and Transport Forum’s Margy Osmond told the Courier Mail.

It’s probably not worth planning your itinerary just yet, but maybe this is the start of the light at the end of the tunnel.

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