Jakarta – Banyuwangi regency in East Java has begun to reopen tourist destinations under "new normal" policies to alleviate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism, regent Abdullah Azwar Anas has said.
"We have begun opening several destinations in Banyuwangi. It is still limited, including hotels," he said in a virtual discussion with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) on Sunday, as reported by kompas.com.
Abdullah said prior to opening tourism, the administration had simulated other in-person activities, such as public events and services at houses of worship.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic had hit the local tourism sector hard. Therefore, in a bid to breathe life into the industry, the administration would reopen the destinations under strict health protocols.
"If, in the past, we promoted the price as a selling point, we cannot longer do that now. Health must be our number one [concern]," he added.
He also explained that hotels and restaurants in Banyuwangi would be required to obtain and renew city administration health licenses weekly to ensure health protocols were being enforced properly. Travelers would be able to see which hotels and restaurants had a current health certification through certain apps.
"The city administration can retract the aforementioned licenses after one week if a violation is found," he said, as quoted by tribunnews.com.
The regent said he would require tour guides to take a health protocol competency assessment test.
Previously, national COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo expressed his appreciation for the Banyuwangi regent's initiative in establishing health protocols and certifications.
"Today, I see directly how tourism sites in Banyuwangi have implemented health protocols properly and have even certified them with a safety and health guarantee for visitors. It should be an example for other regions," he said during a visit to Genjah Arum art studio in Kemiren village, Glagah district, Banyuwangi, last week.
He said President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo himself commended Banyuwangi as the city best prepared for the new normal. (trn)