JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Covid-19 pandemic remains uncertain for more than a year, causing an unprecedented crisis for the tourism industry around the world, including Indonesia.
Just like others, the Southeast Asia country could only rely on domestic tourism following the travel restrictions.
This year, the government has lowered the domestic tourism target to 180 million movements from 320 million movements. On the one hand, it would create further challenges for the industry, but on the other hand, it could contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Despite the challenges, some strategies have been developed to help recover the tourism and travel sector. This includes various incentives to improve the industry after the rate of hotel occupancy, the hotel revenue and other tourism-related services are hit badly.
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto recently said that the assistance includes the implementation of CHSE (cleanliness, health, safety, and environment) measures, the support for the making of Indonesian films, and hotel accommodation for health care workers.
This year alone, the government has allocated 7.67 trillion rupiahs ($537.5 million) to support the national tourism strategic areas, ecotourism, and human resources training in the tourism sector.
There is an increase in the budget of the government incentive assistance to 60 billion rupiahs [$4.2 million] or a threefold increase in the assistance compare to 2020. It aims to fund the seven creative economy sub-sectors namely apps, game developers, handicrafts, fashion, culinary, film, and the tourism sector, according to Airlangga.
To reduce the impact of Covid-19 and to maintain the sustainability of the economy in the tourism sector, the government has provided grants of 3.7 trillion rupiahs ($260 million) from the national economic recovery (PEN) program. The funds aim to alleviate the burden of the local administrations, hotels, and restaurants after experiencing a decline in revenues and financial hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The grants have been transferred to the provincial governments and tourism operators in 101 regencies or cities, based on some criteria. “The grant in the tourism sector has been increased to 3.7 trillion rupiahs [$260 million] this year from 3.3 trillion rupiahs [$231 million] last year.”
The grant is part of the programs to enhance social protection and it will not only be used to assist the hotels and restaurants, but also travel agencies, operators of tourist attractions, and recreational parks.
In a recent interview, Co-founder of Indonesia’s first online travel company tiket.com Gaery Undarsa expressed optimism about the tourism sector may return to its pre-pandemic level.
“The impact of Covid-19 pandemic is not the worst thing ever happens to tiket.com,” Gaery, who is also the company’s chief marketing officer, told Kompas.com on Wednesday, September 22.
He recalled that in 2017, before the pandemic, the company could not afford to pay the salaries of 250 employees. But, during the pandemic, when the tourism industry is one of the sectors most affected, the company can pay the monthly salaries of over 1,000 employees and all still have their jobs. “This is something that we can be grateful for,” he said.