JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - The global tourism industry is one of the worst affected businesses since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airlines in Europe have received financial assistance and so has Indonesia’s national airline carrier, Garuda Indonesia, through a working loan guarantee of IDR 8.5 trillion by the central government.
As air travel declined sharply and countries closed their borders to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, stakeholders in the tourism industry have had to face an uncertain future.
Indonesia’s tourism businesses have not been immune to the volatility and unpredictability of these uncertain times.
Under President Joko Widodo, Indonesia has ramped up efforts to boost the number of tourist arrivals and invest in underdeveloped tourism destinations.
Official plans on tourism development had to be pushed aside as the government closed national borders to international travelers, imposed lockdown, and faced difficulties to curb the pandemic.
This has resulted in a significant reduction of international travelers entering the country where Statistics Indonesia reported an 87.44% drop in year-on-year international tourist arrivals posted for April 2020.
Despite preparing itself to enter a ‘new normal’, Indonesia has demonstrated a lackluster response to the pandemic.
As of 5 June 2020, the country has a total of 29,521 COVID-19 cases with daily infection rates in the high hundreds – raising questions over how it can attract tourists amidst the backdrop of the novel virus.