Jakarta – The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry has encouraged organizers of meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) events and tourist destination operators to work closely with local COVID-19 task forces in implementing health protocols during the pandemic.
Titik Lestari, the ministry's coordinator for MICE, said most tourist destinations in the country were already applying health protocols but not all had proper monitoring teams to make sure they were properly implemented.
"The monitoring can be applied to both guests and destination operators," she said during an event in Batam as quoted by tempo.co on Saturday, adding that the COVID-19 task force had the ability to monitor.
Titik said local administrations could request the deployment of COVID-19 task force officers at tourist destinations.
Many tourist destinations and entertainment establishments in Batam have strictly applied a set of rules set by the ministry, which covers hygiene, health, safety and sustainability.
The Kepri Coral marine resort in Batam, for example, has created an isolation unit for visitors.
"We have a health clinic with an isolation facility," said Kepri Coral general manager Eddy C Lumawe, adding that it was available for visitors who showed symptoms like coughing, fever and shortness of breath.
"Up until now, we haven't treated any visitors [with such symptoms] because we already implement preventive measures for visitors at the port and when they board a boat to [the island]," he said.
Similarly, Grand Mall Batam has an isolation ward on the building's ground floor. "We also provide an ambulance if we need to transport a visitor to a health facility," said the mall's marketing communication officer, Vivi.
Separately, the ministry's general affairs and legal division head, Dessy Ruhati, said each regional administration had the authority to decide which tourist destinations were ready for reopening.
However, she added that the administrations needed to evaluate the tourist sites thoroughly and their ability to implement COVID-19 health protocols before allowing them to resume operations.
"We really hope that the public and the tourism community will comply with the health protocols, including wearing masks, washing their hands and physical distancing," said Dessy.
"It will be unfortunate for all of us if one destination is reopened but people surrounding the site [and visitors] neglect the rules, because we never know which of one of us has the virus."
Indonesia has set a limit of allowing only 5 million foreign visitors into the country until the end of the year. Last year, Indonesia welcomed a total of 17 million foreign visitors. (nkn)