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Tourism recovery depends on tackling COVID-19

Jakarta Post - November 23, 2020

Jakarta – The Indonesian government is currently pursuing various efforts to revive tourism, including allocating Rp 14.4 trillion (US$972.6 million) for businesses and issuing cleanliness, health, safety and environmental sustainability (CHSE) certification for service providers in the industry.

However, the efforts would most likely be in vain if Indonesia failed to contain the spread of COVID-19.

An independent survey conducted by Kleopas Danang Bintoroyakit, Indonesian representation for the 2017 International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) next Generation Aviation Professional Global Summit, discovered that 54 percent foreign travelers were unsure about the idea of flying to Indonesia and they would like to check on the implementation of health protocols in the country.

The survey, which was conducted between Oct. 22 and Nov. 14 and involved 102 respondents from 28 countries, also found that 26 percent of the respondents said that they wanted to visit Indonesia, while 20 percent said that they would wait for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Based on the survey, Danang concluded that foreign travelers would consider several aspects prior to traveling in the new normal period, including the implementation of health protocols in destinations as well as the accommodation's safety and comfort.

Hariyadi B. Sukamdani, chairman of Visit Wonderful Indonesia (VIWI) Board, an umbrella organization for 18 tourism associations, expressed a similar concern, saying travelers would check the development of COVID-19 cases prior to visiting a country.

"If the number of cases continued to increase, especially in destinations they want to visit, the tourists will almost certainly not come to visit," he told kompas.id on Sunday.

In addition to the implementation of health protocols tourists would also consider the destination's healthcare facilities, Hariyadi said, adding that Turkey was among the countries that had picked up this concern.

Hariyadi said that, since Turkey reopened its borders to tourists on June 12, the government had prepared health facilities for tourists in the country's main tourist destinations.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) vice chairman for tourism Kosmian Pudjiadi said travelers' decision to visit a destination would be depending on the countries of origin and destination policies and regulations.

"These [policies] will depend on the number of COVID-19 [cases in the country]," said Kosmian, explaining that if the positive and death cases remained high, travelers would be prohibited from leaving their country or coming to a certain country of destination.

With the imposition of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in several regions and border closures to prevent virus transmission, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the tourist industry.

According to data provided by the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), the crisis has wiped an estimated Rp 85 trillion (US$5.8 billion) from Indonesia's tourist revenue as of July, with losses of around Rp 70 trillion recorded by the hotel and restaurant sector.

Meanwhile, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) reported that, in June, the number of foreign visitors was down 88.82 percent year-on-year (yoy) at around 160,300. The month-to-month figure also fell 2.06 percent, marking a return to a downward trend after a brief uptick in May that suggested a recovery. (jes)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/11/23/tourism-recovery-depends-on-tackling-covid-19.htm