Gov’t to Promote Domestic Destinations Among Local Tourists Amidst Fears of Coronavirus
Date 5 Februari 2020
In the wake of the spread of coronavirus in several countries that have led to the decline of foreign tourists, the Indonesian Government gears up to boost domestic tourists to travel to popular destinations across the country, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Wishnutama Kusubandio has announced.
“In the wake of the spread of novel coronavirus in several countries, promoting local tourism destinations aims to reduce the risks. The most important thing is to boost the country’s tourism sector,” Wishnutama said after attending a limited meeting at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java Province, Tuesday (4/2).
The Minister added that several airlines have cancelled their flights to China and the Government planned to lobby a number of airlines to offer flight packages to domestic destinations.
“We will discuss this matter with the airlines,” he said, adding that he, along with Minister of Transportation, plans to meet with representatives of roughly 30 airlines to divert the route to Indonesia.
Wishnutama went on to say that this plan can take a long time to materialize and the Government will make its utmost efforts to make it happen, as well as to expand marketing to countries outside China aimed at covering the low arrivals of Chinese tourists to Indonesia.
“This is not easy for Indonesia and many countries are also experiencing the same problem,” he said.
Regarding flight cancellation, Wishnutama mentioned that it had only been a few days, so the exact figures have yet to release.
“As we may be aware, there are two million tourists from China (visiting Indonesia) per year. It means we will probably lose about $4 million,” he said, adding that this poses a serious challenge for the country’s tourism sector.
However, Wishnutama noted that health issue is of utmost importance and coronavirus has not only impacted tourists from China as other countries will also have psychological issues.
February – April will be the most crucial period since it is time when people book for summer holidays, he added.
“We have received reports of vacant rooms at popular hotels in Bali. However, we have yet to know the full extent of the impact,” Wishnutama added. (AIT/EN)
Translated by: Muhardi
Reviewed by: M. Ersan Pamungkas