The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry to prepare “special strategies” to revive domestic tourism in regions safe from COVID-19 for the transition to the so-called “new normal”.
However, Jokowi has asked the ministry not to rush to open tourist areas, urging it to gradually identify which areas are ready. The President has said tourist destinations should have COVID-19 basic reproduction rates, or R0, below one to be eligible for reopening.
“I ask the Tourism [and Creative Economy] Ministry to prepare promotional programs for tourist attractions and local products. We should closely monitor conditions before opening [tourist areas] so visitors can travel safely,” the President said during a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
He reminded his Cabinet that the COVID-19 outbreak would change tourism trends, with issues such as hygiene, safety and security becoming major considerations for travelers.
The disease, Jokowi added, would also shift entertainment demand to options such as solo tours, wellness tours, virtual tours and “staycations”.
“[Tourism] actors must really anticipate the trends and must investigate which direction [the tourism sector] will go. We must innovate, improve and quickly adapt to the trends that are likely to occur in global tourism,” said Jokowi.
“Health protocols should be properly implemented in the field because of the high risk of infection. If an imported case occurs, it will be difficult to fix a bad image of the tourism area.”
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said his ministry had prepared standard operational procedures (SOP) for various sectors in tourism and the creative economy.
The ministry has also coordinated with flagship carrier Garuda Indonesia and hotels to prepare packages at low prices to attract tourists as destinations reopen.
“We are synchronizing the plan with other ministries, institutions and task forces,” Wishnutama said after the Cabinet meeting, predicting that the tourism sector would have about one month to prepare after regions applied the “new normal” phase.
He added that the ministry would coordinate with regional heads to disseminate information about the programs and to conduct simulations and trials of the new procedures prior to the “new normal”.
Wishnutama said the ministry had prioritized quality over quantity as well as the importance of tourist hygiene, health and safety even before the pandemic. The ministry would prioritize domestic tourism during the “new normal”.