The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a crushing blow to the world of Indonesian tourism. Indonesia is also estimated to have lost more than Rp 213 trillion in foreign exchange due to the decline in the number of foreign tourists.
“Indonesia is estimated to have lost foreign exchange of US$ 14.5-15.8 billion (around Rp. 213 trillion to Rp. 232 trillion) due to the decrease in foreign tourist arrivals. This slump is because the tourism sector relies heavily on human movement,” said Deputy Minister of Tourism and Economy Creative/ Deputy Head of the Tourism and Creative Economy Agency, Angela Tanoesoedibjo in the “Maya Tourism Industry Post-Covid-19 Talk: Survival and Revival Strategy” as quoted on Monday (19/10).
Angela emphasized the importance of various synergy efforts or programs that are currently being implemented by her party to revive the tourism sector and creative economy in Indonesia which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Angela said that the Covid-19 pandemic that has occurred around the world, especially in Indonesia, has caused a slump in the tourism sector and the creative economy. According to data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), from January to June 2020, global tourism was down by 440 million tourists.
Therefore, Angela said that her party has issued various policies as well as assistance to help tourism operators affected by this pandemic. Among other things, by helping business liquidity through facilitation of fiscal relaxation, the use of the National Economic Recovery (PEN) program to support access to capital, electricity incentives in the form of relaxation of minimum electricity rates, and the use of hotels as independent isolation locations and for health workers.
“As for the resilience of tourism workers, we see that there is an urgency to distribute direct assistance because many workers were sent home and experienced layoffs. We have facilitated social assistance for tourism workers with the Ministry of Social Affairs and this shall continue, facilitating pre-employment cards with the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy, and reduced payments of BPJS Ketenagakerjaan (social security) contributions. Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism is also distributing emergency food assistance directly to tourism actors,” explained Angela.
Angela also explained that in terms of the resilience of the tourism industry, the focus of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy at this time is to improve the quality of destinations and prepare the industry in adapting to new norms as well as post Covid-19 pandemic.
“For example, we provide free training through webinars to increase the productivity and quality of tourism actors. Second is the revitalization of facilities and infrastructure such as a tourism destination cleaning program which aims to improve the quality of the tourism destination itself. We have also implemented health protocols with stakeholders and The Ministry of Health which has been approved in KMK Number HK.01.07/ Menkes/382/2020 for the tourism sector,” she said.
Angela also revealed that the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy/ Baparekraf had prepared and immediately distributed tourism grants of IDR 3.3 trillion for hotel and restaurant tourism businesses and local governments. 30% of grant funds are intended to assist local governments in dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the tourism sector and the creative economy. Meanwhile, 70% is allocated to assist hotel and restaurant businesses in carrying out their daily operations and in implementing health protocols.
“In addition, we have also allocated more than IDR 119 billion for free CHSE certification from independent institutions, which is aimed at increasing consumer confidence in the tourism sector,” she added.
Meanwhile, to revive the country’s tourism sector, Angela said that her party would empower domestic tourists through a tourism discount program, planned to be launched in 2021 or after the Covid-19 vaccine is available. “The tourism discount is used to encourage domestic tour packages. Because during this pandemic, in addition to the factor of public confidence in the cleanliness of tourist destinations, people’s purchasing power is also decreasing during” said Angela.
Still related to domestic tourism, Angela also revealed the Kemenparekraf/ Baparekraf’s medium and long-term plans in increasing domestic tourist spending. “Because Indonesia is a country with a large population, we have opportunities in domestic tourism that can still be maximized,” explained Angela.