Elvira Anna Siahaan, Jakarta – Since Indonesia reported its first Covid-19 cases in early March, tourist arrivals have nosedived.
Data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) showed 160,000 foreign tourists visiting Indonesia in April, down a whopping 66.02 percent from March.
Compared to the same period in 2019, the number was down 87.44 percent from 1.27 million.
Ari Gema, a spokesman for the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry's Covid-19 mitigation task force, said the ministry is formulating a "new normal" health protocol and business model for the tourism industry.
The new protocol and business model will be in use once tourist destinations around the country have been declared ready to welcome tourists.
"President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo said we should not rush to reopen our tourist sites. Our first focus is to encourage domestic tourism, once everything is safe again. We will work closely with regional governments," Ari said.
"The new normal guidelines are designed to make tourists feel safe when they visit Indonesia," Ari said.
The health protocol will follow new normal guidelines prepared by the Health Ministry and be informed to the public through a massive public awareness campaign.
Ari said the ministry is also preparing a cleanliness, health and safety (CHS) program to be implemented at all tourist sites around the country.
"Tourism will be one of the main drivers of our new normal economy," he said.