KOMPAS.com – Since the coronavirus pandemic was first reported in March, Indonesia’s tourism sector has not experienced any significant growth.
“Back in March, while other countries were feeling the impact of the novel virus, Indonesia was doing fine because there were no Covid-19 cases. Since the first coronavirus case was detected in Indonesia, the situation has not been on our side,” said Secretary-General of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (Astindo), Pauline Suharno.
When the country had zero Covid-19 cases, Astindo members hoped that they could encourage travelers to visit destinations in Indonesia.
The decision was partly to restore Indonesia’s domestic tourism sector which had been on the downtrend since 2019 due to expensive airfares.
“The travel and social restrictions imposed by the government and travel advisories applied in certain provinces have, of course, worsened Indonesia’s domestic tourism,” said Pauline.
The month of May was the lowest-performing month for Indonesia’s domestic tourism with Indonesian citizens facing travel restrictions during the month of Ramadhan — a period that would otherwise be busy for the tourism sector.
As a result, travel agents in cities and various regions faced massive difficulties during which some agents lost their entire market.
A short breeze for Indonesia’s tourism sector
Tourism in Indonesia did experience a brief moment of joy during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly when the Jakarta Provincial Government moved ahead with a partial lockdown on June 5.
Since then, tourist attractions across Jakarta have reopened including Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park and Ragunan Zoo.
In the province of West Sumatra, several tourist attractions began opening their doors on July 17 while the island of Bali opened for business by allowing entry to Indonesian travelers on July 31.
“There was some relief from July-August 2020 when governments began easing lockdown rules and people began to restart their daily activities,” said Pauline.
During that brief period, many Indonesians had started traveling around, but it did not last long.
When the number of Covid-19 cases began to surge across Indonesia coupled with Jakarta reinstating partial lockdown for the second time on September 14, Indonesia’s tourism sector once again took a hit.
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