'Look at America right now': Indonesian minister hits back at critics, flags Bali bubble

2020-08-11 | Since 4 Month

Indonesia is negotiating with key regional governments, including Australia's, to allow international tourism to re-start.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, one of the most influential members of President Joko Widodo's cabinet, said the country would not "hurry" to reopen its borders but planned to begin accepting foreign tourists from September 11 were on track.

The co-ordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, a former general and presidential chief of staff, took a thinly-veiled swipe at critics of his country's handling of the pandemic, highlighting the failure by the United States and Singapore to contain the virus.

Tourism contributes billions of dollars annually to Indonesia's economy and it received more than 16 million visitors in 2019. The majority of those tourists travelled to the holiday island of Bali, including 1.3 million Australians last year, more than any other nation.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Indonesia, like countries around the world, to throw up the shutters to foreign tourists but Bali officially reopened to domestic tourists on July 31. The provincial government has been pushing hard for foreign tourism to resume.

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