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Jakarta Post

Indonesian tourism could lose US$4 million amid coronavirus outbreak: Wishnutama

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano and Rizki Fachriansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, February 5, 2020   /   07:30 pm
Indonesian tourism could lose US$4 million amid coronavirus outbreak: Wishnutama Chinese tourists wearing facemasks as a preventative measure following a coronavirus outbreak that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan leave the fast boat pier on Serangan island in Denpasar, Bali, after visiting the island of Nusa Penida on Jan. 26. (AFP/Sonny Tumbelaka)

About 2 million Chinese tourists visit Indonesia per year, says Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama.

Minister Wishnutama has estimated that Indonesia is at risk of losing about US$4 million as a result of flight cancellations to and from mainland China amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

“We still need to further assess [the possible losses]. But as we know, there are 2 million Chinese tourists in the country every year, each of whom spends an average of $1,400. It means we’ll probably lose about $4 million,” Wishnutama said after a private meeting at the Bogor Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Tuesday.

Read also: [UPDATED] Suspected Wuhan coronavirus in Indonesia: What we know so far

To recoup the losses, he said the government would focus on attracting domestic tourists to popular destinations across Indonesia. The ministry planned to lobby a number of airlines to offer flight packages to domestic destinations, he added.

“I, along with Transportation Minister [Budi Karya Sumadi], will discuss the matter with about 30 airlines that are probably able to reroute to domestic destinations and, therefore, support local tourism,” Wishnutama said.

He said the government would entice domestic tourists to visit Bali, among other regions, as the island had already begun to report declining foreign tourist arrivals from China after the government decided to halt all flights to and from the East Asian country on Wednesday at midnight due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Read also: Govt to lure more citizens to visit local destinations as tourism copes with virus fears

“We have received reports of vacant rooms at otherwise popular hotels in Bali. However, we have yet to know [the full extent of the impact],” Wishnutama added.

As of Wednesday, the coronavirus had killed 491 people in mainland China, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines and had spread to more than 20 countries, Johns Hopkins CSSE reported.