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Indonesian Tourism Minister Extends Health Protocols to the Surf

May 8, 2021, 01.35 AM

NORTH LOMBOK, - Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno continued to highlight post Covid-19 or new normal tourism in Indonesia, six months after President Joko Widodo slated him for the post.

The former Jakarta Deputy Governor practiced what he preached with a swim in the waters of Gili Trawangan, one of the Gili Islands in West Nusa Tenggara [NTB] province's Gili Islands.

Sporting a face mask and a T-shirt with the words #newnormal, Sandiaga hit the water with NTB Governor Zulkieflimansyah to highlight the need to maintain health protocols on land, air and sea.

Also read: Indonesia Temporarily Bans Flights From India: Tourism Minister

"Swimming in Gili [Trawangan] was fun, even behind a mask to maintain health protocols," Sandiaga said after taking a dip on Thursday.

As with the swim, he called on travelers to constantly "apply health protocols to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. We hope that doing so will help restore the local economy."

While he believed that the nationwide travel ban during the Idul Fitri or Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday was the best solution to avoid a surge in Covid-19 cases similar to that in India, Sandiaga acknowledged that the policy affected small businesses that depend on tourism.  

He asserted that the government will take steps to aid their plight, not least in NTB. "We will disburse Rp3.7 trillion [$261,809,040] in grants to help movers in the tourism and hospitality industries in NTB whose livelihoods were affected by Covid-19," he said.

Also read: Indonesian Tourism Minister Hails Karangrejo's World-Class Homestays 

Governor Zulkieflimansyah welcomed the initiative, and hoped that Sandiaga's highlighting of NTB will help the province's tourist industry.

Gili Trawangan is one of three islets that make up the Gili islands, along with Gili Air and Gili Meno. The island, along with the resort island of Lombok, make up some of NTB's leading tourist sights. 

The Covid-19 pandemic hit Indonesia's tourism industry hard since it struck the country in March 2020. The outbreak hit up and coming destinations like NTB and the neighboring province of East Nusa Tenggara Timur [NTT] hard, as well as more iconic destinations like Bali.

(Writer: Idham Khalid, Lombok Contributor | Editor: Rachmawati, Pythag Kurniati)


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