The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has paid a visit to Banyuwangi regency in East Java, also known as Bumi Blambangan, to check the regency’s preparedness for reopening tourist sites in the “new normal” era.
The President and his entourage visited Banyuwangi on June 25, 2020, and for Jakowi, it was the first visit to regions outside Jakarta under the new health protocols.
During the visit, Jokowi was accompanied by Coordinating Legal, Political and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Whisnutama, National COVID-19 Task Force Chief Doni Monardo, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa, Pangdam V (Commander of Military Area V) Brawijaya Maj. Gen. Widodo Iryansyah, and East Java Police Chief Irjen Fadil Imran.
Upon arriving in Banyuwangi, Jokowi immediately directed his attention to the services in the airport, the first one with a green architectural concept in Indonesia. He expressed appreciation to the airport’s staff and workers for keeping the facility neat and also for their high sense of discipline.
The President and his entourage visited the Vila Sorong tourist destination, where they were treated to the unique sight of Osing ethnic group’s typical traditional houses against the backdrop of the stunning Bali Strait.
The President was welcome with Lesung music performed by 10 young women of the ethic group. Their attraction drew Jokowi’s attention and promoted him to stop for a moment to enjoy the show.
. (Courtesy of Pemkab Banyuwangi/.)
The President received detailed explanations about the readiness for reopening the tourist sites in the regency in the “new normal” era. These include the popular performance of the Gandrung Dance created with a new concept. The President and his entourage continued their visit to Hotel Dialoog, which blends the modern with the local. The hotel is situated on the beach side, not far from Villa Solong.
“Today, I witness how Banyuwangi is preparing for tourism under the new health protocols. I see on the ground that Banyuwangi is the most ready region heading toward the precondition for the “new normal” era. I’ve noticed the role that the local administration and the people play (in the preparation). I’ve also noticed that they have all participated actively,” the President said.
Jokowi also appreciated local administration for developing tourism by empowering local people. Engaging local people in developing low star-rated hotels or those below three stars, including homestays, was an example. The opportunity to develop four- and five-star hotels are given to investors. According to the President, Banyuwangi’s way of developing the hotel business can serve as an example for other regions.
“We strongly support what Pak Regent and Governor are doing in preparing the preconditions for the “new normal” era. Later, when the tourism sector is fully opened, the people and tourism players can be completely ready,” he said.
Regent Abdullah Azwar Anas expressed his gratitude to President Jokowi, saying Banyuwangi was ready to perform deliver on its commitment to reopen tourism under the new health protocols. A range of preparatory steps have been taken since early June. These include issuing certificates for the new normal by involving health experts.
Operators of tourist destinations, cafes and kiosks that pass the health protocol tests are entitled to a certificate on the new normal issued by the Banyuwangi administration.
Local tourist guides are also given access to health education and are required to understand the “new normal”, with those passing the test also entitled to special certification.
“Looking ahead, when it comes to Banyuwangi’s tourism selling points, all of the tourism payers will not only focus on hospitality, good services and competitive prices, but also on a healthy lifestyle, understanding (of the tourism products) and enforcing the health protocols properly. We want tourists and tourism players to be equally happy and comfortable as the message that President Jokowi delivered, that is to stay productive and safe from the COVID-19,” Anas said.
Anas added that the support of President Jokowi, Minister Wishnutama and Governor Khofifah could be the driving force for Banyuwangi tourism to become increasingly organized.