Minister of tourism and creative economy, Wishnutama Kusubandio revised down the foreign tourists arrival in Indonesia from 16 million to five million visitors amid the spread of COVID-19 - Photo: Special

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Minister of tourism and creative economy, Wishnutama Kusubandio revised down the foreign tourists arrival in Indonesia from 16 million to five million visitors amid the spread of COVID-19. His office also sliced this year’ foreign revenues targets more than half from last year realization of US$20 billion.

“Last year (foreign exchange revenues) $20 billion. This year maybe could be about half or more than half lost. We also estimated that the tourists number drops from 16 million tourists to around 5 million visitors,” he told reporters through a video conference today (04/16).

Last February, the statistic bureau reported, number of travelers in the country declined sharply due to the pandemic, down 30.42 percent to 885,100 visitors, said the chief Suhariyanto, on April 1. The annual visits also declined 28.85 percent.

The biggest decline was from China In February, dropped by 94.11 percent. Then, the second biggest decline is for Hong Kong arrivals, which fell 93.12 percent. However, there were slight increases in arrivals of tourists from Malaysia and Japan.

At the limited meeting held today, President Joko Widodo believed that Indonesian tourism will rise again in 2021 with the calculation the epidemic stop at the end of the year. To that, he urged the officials prepares to get advantage from the rise of the tourism sector in 2021 after the pandemic.

“Next year there will be a boom in the field of tourism. Everyone wants to get out and everyone wants to enjoy the beauty of Indonesia,” he told the ministers.

He also asked his staff to prepare economic stimulus for businesses in the tourism sector and the creative economy. The President believes that this must be really done so that they can survive and not make layoffs (termination of employment) on a large scale.

We know the most severe impact is felt and first felt because COVID-19 is the world tourism, including hotels, restaurants, handicraft goods, and other businesses,” the head of state said at the meeting.

Last February, the government has rolled out a Rp10.3 trillion (US$664.51 million) stimulus package in an effort to cushion the blow of the virus outbreak on its economy. The stimulus is channeled to a number of economic sectors affected by the virus and ensures that people’ purchasing power is maintained.

Deputy finance minister, Suahasil Nazara, said, this fiscal stimulus aims to ensure Indonesia’ economic growth. The stimulus in the tourism sector, for example, is expected to balance the potential for decline due to the significant reduction in the number of foreign tourists in this year.

The stimulus is in the form of discounted airline ticket prices for 10 major tourist destinations, incentives for airlines and travel agents that bring tourists, to the policy of hotel and restaurant tax-free schemes for a certain period in these 10 tourist destinations.

“So we hope that economic activity does not go down, the economy continues to spin like hotels can still operate, airlines can also continue to operate and so that we hope it can replace the potential for economic decline that impacted Indonesia,” he stated.

While, the director general at the transportation ministry, Novie Riyanto, the government decided to give ticket fare subsidies up to 50 percent to aviation sector to overcome the impact of the COVID-19.

The stimulus for full service airlines are given a 45 percent of discount, medium service 48 percent, and low cost airlines 50 percent. He added, “Additional discounts also gives from PT Pertamina, PT Angkasa Pura (AP) I, and PT Angkasa Pura II, making ticket discounts to consumers could reaches 40 percent.”

Riyanto explained, this discount applies to 25 percent of seats, calculated from the total overall capacity per aircraft on each flight. The discounts will take place from March to May 2020. According to him, 30 percent of incentive came from the State Budget assistance.

In total, the incentives amounted to Rp910 billion, with details from the State Budget of Rp550 billion, from Pertamina through the reduction of aviation fuel costs of Rp260 billion also AP I, AP II and PT Airnav Indonesia with total amount Rp100 billion, he concluded.

US$1: Rp15,500

Written by Staff Editor, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com