The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has ordered his ministers to disburse a stimulus package for businesses in the hard-hit tourist and creative economy sectors to help them survive the economic impact caused by COVID-19.
“We need to carefully prepare an economic stimulus for business players in the tourist and creative economy sectors so that they can survive without having to terminate employment on a large scale,” the President said in a limited Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
He also asked his subordinates to ensure social safety net programs for workers in the aforementioned sectors to be conducted meticulously. Furthermore, Jokowi also asked the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry to reallocate its budget to labor-intensive programs that could help informal workers in the tourist sector.
“We know that tourism has suffered the hardest impact from COVID-19. People in hotels, restaurants and craft businesses have been impacted,” he said.
The measures were part of mitigation efforts to bolster tourism, which has been hit hard by the global pandemic. More than 1,260 hotels have closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country affecting more than 150,000 employees, according to the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI).
Still, Jokowi expressed optimism that the grim situation in the tourist sector would only last until the end of this year. He urged his Cabinet to support the tourist sector as he believed that Indonesian tourism would bounce back after the pandemic is over by 2021.
“We must take advantage of the tourism boom that will rise after COVID-19 is over,” he added.
Previously, Coordinating Maritime and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said that the government would revive the tourist sector soon.
“We’re paying serious attention to tourism. We see that China has recovered [followed by] South Korea and Japan within the next one or two months. That means they have tourists who want to go out after being in a stressful situation for months,” he said on Tuesday as quoted by Kompas.com.
He added that Bali was among the local tourist destinations that would be boosted to attract foreign visitors from these countries.
Responding to Luhut’s comment, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama clarified that the government did not yet to open the door to foreign tourists.
“This plan will be implemented after the pandemic ends, since no one can go anywhere during this pandemic,” Wishnutama said on Thursday.