Antara, Jakarta – Eid al-Fitr, which fell on April 22, 2023, raised hopes of positive shifts in Indonesia's tourism sector.
The Indonesian government had set April 19, 20, 21, 24, and 25 as collective leave days to support people in celebrating the festival.
The government projected that during the Eid holiday period, the number of domestic tourist trips would reach 300 million – 350 million.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno assured that the Eid collective leave and holidays would be optimally utilized, with an estimated 25 percent of the target of 1.2 billion – 1.4 billion domestic tourist trips for 2023 expected to be achieved during the Eid exodus period.
During the holiday period, several regions in Indonesia recorded a surge in visitors as well as income from the tourism sector. This came as good tidings for provincial governments, considering that during the previous years' Eid al-Fitr, there had been a sharp decline in the number of tourist visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) even set a high target for tourist visits for this year's Eid period. Head of the NTB Tourism Office, Jamaluddin Malady, said that his office targeted to achieve 2 million tourist visits, both domestic and international tourists.
The NTB government was optimistic of achieving the target, in line with the revival in the tourism sector after the pandemic.
Even though the detailed calculation regarding the surge in tourists is still being carried out, Malady informed that the number of passengers at Zainudin Abdul Majid International Airport has increased by up to 16 percent.
Tourist attractions in Bukittinggi City, West Sumatra, also recorded an increase in visitors during this year's Eid holiday. In the period from April 21-25 alone, the number of visitors to tourist attractions in the city reached 67,058. They contributed more than Rp1.4 billion to the city's regional revenue.
According to the head of the Tourism Office of Bukittinggi, Rofie Hendria, the mainstay tourist attractions in the city are Lubang Jepang (Japanese Tunnel) Park, Fort De Kock Fortress, and Bukittinggi Kinantan Zoo.
Another region in West Sumatra that benefited from the Eid al-Fitr holiday was Tanah Datar district. The high number of tourist visits in the district consequently boosted the occupancy of homestay accommodations.
An official from the Tanah Datar Homestay Association (Ashtar), Andra, informed that during the 2023 Eid al-Fitr holiday period, the number of homestay visitors increased by up to 300 percent compared to normal days.
The increase came as a blessing for homestay business players in Tanah Datar as they could obtain higher revenue compared to the previous year.
Andra informed that the increase in homestay accommodation visits started to occur on April 20. On average, each homestay accommodation was occupied by 25 people per night, with the lowest price being Rp300,000 per night.
According to the head of the Tourism, Youth, and Sports Office of Tanah Datar, Hendri Agung Indrianto, Istano Basa Pagaruyung was the district's chief tourist attraction during this year's Eid holiday.
From April 21 to April 24, the total number of tourist visits to Tanah Datar district reached 42,357.
East Java Province also recorded an increase in the number of tourists. At one of its main tourist attractions, namely Sarangan Lake, Magetan, the number of visitors crossed 70,000.
"Based on the existing data, during the 2023 Eid holiday from April 19 to April 26, the number of visits to Sarangan Lake tourist attraction surpassed 70 thousand," head of the Tourism and Culture Office of Magetan district, Joko Trihono, said in Magetan, East Java, on Wednesday (April 26).
The average number of visitors per day during the Eid holiday reached more than 10,000, and even 20,500 during the peak on April 24.
The number of visitors reflected a significant increase compared to the number of visitors on normal weekend days, which only reaches around 2,000 to 3,000.
To maximize the management of visitors at Sarangan Lake, the district government of Magetan made arrangements for entry routes for 2-wheeled and 4-wheeled vehicles. The entry routes were also temporarily closed when the number of visitors to Sarangan Lake reached more than 15,000.
According to Trihono, the temporary closure policy was implemented twice by taking into account the comfort of tourists at the attraction.
So far, the method, which is aimed at diverting tourists to other tourist attractions around Sarangan, has helped reduce traffic congestion along the route on the slopes of Mount Lawu.
The hope is that an increase in the number of visitors would not only be experienced by Sarangan Lake, but also other tourist attractions in the Mount Lawu area.
Apart from comfort, security also became a focus of attention for stakeholders during the holiday period. For example, the Jepara District Police, Central Java, has held security patrols on the Teluk Awur Beach tourist attraction.
Jepara District Police is aiming to ensure that the situation remains safe and has appealed to visitors to stay careful on the beach.
Uncertain weather conditions have an impact on sea waves, causing them to be quite high. Therefore, the Jepara District Police has been tasked with warning visitors, especially to look after their children, as conveyed by the Jepara Sub-district Police Chief Sri Retno B.
Securing tourism routes has been one of the main tasks of security officers during the Eid holiday period. The high number of visitors has caused crowding in small-scale locations.
With the benefits presented by the tourism sector to regions, the relevant stakeholders need to ensure the security and comfort of tourists as part of their responsibilities in serving the community.