Jakarta – A long weekend is just around the corner, expected to begin with Prophet Muhammad's birthday on Oct. 29 and combined with collective leave days from Oct. 28 to 30 as well as the ensuing weekend.
In anticipation of a spike in tourist visits, the tourism industry and city administrations in Indonesia have been preparing safety measures, including creating more awareness about the 3M health protocols: menggunakan masker (mask-wearing), mencuci tangan (hand-washing) and menjaga jarak (social distancing).
Health and safety protocols are not only meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 but also provide various benefits for small business owners.
Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Teten Masduki said small business owners could attract more visitors if they followed health and safety protocols.
Teten said in a virtual event hosted by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) on Tuesday that tourists wanted to eat in warung (kiosk) and hotels that followed protocols as it made them feel safe. "Those who travel mostly have money and are well-educated," he said.
He added that these tourists did not look for discounts or low prices. Instead, they wanted to visit places that adhered to strict safety rules.
The National COVID-19 task force expert team coordinator and spokesperson, Wiku Adisasmito, echoed his sentiments, saying that small business owners could benefit from applying health protocols.
Discussing the upcoming long weekend, Banyuwangi Regent Abdullah Azwar Anas said small business owners and hotel operators should not miss this opportunity. However, Anas also encouraged business owners to follow health protocols to provide comfort for customers.
Anas shared that Banyuwangi regency in East Java had made several efforts to attract tourists during the pandemic, such as releasing new normal certifications for hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions and developing an area for street food.
From the business owner's perspective, Wayan Sudarmadja shared that his business in Ubud, Bali, had closely followed recommended health and safety protocols. Nevertheless, he discovered an issue in attracting customers.
Speaking about this issue, COVID-19 task force deputy head Safrizal ZA said that trust remained important, especially in an attempt to attract foreign travelers.
He added that to increase the confidence of foreign tourists, it is necessary to show success in reducing the spread of COVID-19. (jes)