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Jakarta Post

Demand for staycations to surge as tourist destinations reopen

  • Eisya A. Eloksari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, August 7, 2020   /   06:07 pm
Demand for staycations to surge as tourist destinations reopen Tourists visit Melasti Beach in Badung regency, Bali, on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. (Antara/Fikri Yusuf)

Staycations are expected to see a surge in popularity, following the reopening of some tourist destinations in Indonesia, a research and consultancy firm has stated.

Inventure predicted that with the current travel restrictions in place, local travelers would be the segment that boosts the Indonesian tourism sector.

“This creates a demand for the hotels that offer amenities for staycations such as restaurants and swimming pools,” Inventure business analyst Amanda Rachmaniar said during a webinar on July 30. “It also creates demand for trips that are accessible by car.”

According to Google Trends, searches for “staycation” in Indonesia have been rising since several places began easing their large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in June.

The average search popularity for the keyword in June and July has exceeded December’s average, signaling a higher interest for local vacations compared to year-end holiday trips.

 

The pandemic has depressed both the aviation and tourist industries, as people have stayed at home amid the PSBB.

The tourism sector is estimated to have lost Rp 85 trillion (US$5.87 billion) in revenue so far this year, according to Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) data. Meanwhile, foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia plummeted 59.96 percent to 3.09 million in the first half of the year, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) reported.

The PHRI stated that domestic tourists had made up 96 percent of total visitors since the pandemic began, making it a potential key market for the tourist industry.

“People are still avoiding international travel because of the danger of COVID-19 infection, so they opt for local destinations, which in turn can help awaken the tourism sector,” Amanda said.

The government recently allowed some tourist destinations to reopen to visitors in its effort to curb further losses in the industry.

The Yogyakarta city administration opened some of its tourist sites, such as the Yogyakarta Palace, Malioboro and Sonobudoyo Museum, but only to local residents. Tourists from outside the region have been advised to plan their visits for August barring any further outbreaks.

Bali welcomed an estimated 4,000 domestic tourists on July 31, when tourism there first reopened. A representative of the Airport Authority Office Area IV, Puguh Lukito, said Ngurah Rai International Airport served 28 takeoffs and 28 landings on the day.

It is planning to open its borders to international tourists on Sept. 11.

Amanda explained that people were also seeking outdoor destinations as they wanted to escape their cabin fever.

For social distancing reasons, she said that people also preferred “micro tourism”, which refers to traveling alone or with a small group of people, as well as traveling for a shorter period.

Online travel agency PegiPegi.com has reported a continuous upward demand for hotel bookings since the Idul Fitri holiday in June. 

“People’s demand for staycations is also growing, one reason being that they are driven by the relaxation of the PSBB and the opening of several shopping malls, restaurants and tourist destinations,” the company’s corporate communications manager, Busyra Oryza, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

PegiPegi.com has been routinely promoting flash sales to attract more travelers, in addition to adding a search filter for “clean and safe stay” to promote lodging that adheres to health and safety measures.

Inventure managing partner Yuswohady said on July 30 that recovery in the travel and hospitality sectors would “take a long time” despite higher interest for local tourism.

“I think people are still worried because ever since the social distancing relaxations, new COVID-19 clusters have come from crowded places such as wet markets and offices,” he said. “That is why some people are still reluctant to travel locally.”