The Jakarta Post
It has been a dark year for the travel industry as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced both business and leisure travelers to put their plans on hold.
Surabaya-based tour agency Shahira Travel, for instance, lost 20 bookings in February alone as a result of the pandemic.
It has been almost seven months since the World Health Organization (WHO) announced COVID-19 as a global health crisis, and the travel industry is now seeing indications of brighter days as people become accustomed to the so-called “new normal”.
A survey by UK air travel intelligence company OAG found that 69 percent of respondents planned to go overseas and 79 percent planned to travel to domestic destinations in the next six months.
Involving 4,004 respondents and conducted in July and August of this year, the survey found that 40 percent of respondents were most afraid of contracting COVID-19 while on the plane, followed by 17 percent who were afraid of catching the virus at airport terminals.
Some 76 percent believed that face masks were the most effective safety measures in planes and at airports, provided facilities required all passengers and staff to wear them.
In Indonesia, Shahira Travel CEO Meyranti “Ichie” Kartika Putri told The Jakarta Post that some people had actually traveled overseas, particularly to Turkey.
Ichie acknowledged that many people were still afraid of travel because of the virus but said that those who had traveled were not worried because they had followed health and safety protocols.
Dwidayatour marketing communications manager Hatta Pradhana told the Post that the company had been seeing growing interest from consumers to travel to both domestic and international destinations.
“However, we find that most of our customers will ask more questions related to the trips during the pandemic, especially about new procedures, before deciding to go on a trip,” he explained.
Some 76 percent believed that face masks were the most effective safety measures in planes and at airports, provided facilities required all passengers and staff to wear them. (JP/Hengky Wijaya)
Hatta said Turkey and Dubai were among the few countries that had opened their borders to foreign travelers.
“Turkey opened its borders to foreign travelers on June 12, followed by Dubai on July 7,” he said, adding that both countries had been actively encouraging health protocols, causing the travel agency to feel confident about offering the packages.
Hatta said that all tourist facilities in Turkey had been certified by an official institution in the country.
“The certification states that the tourist facilities have been implementing the health protocols recommended by the local government,” he said.
“At the moment, tourists traveling to Turkey are only required to show non-reactive COVID-19 rapid test results. Meanwhile, those who are returning home are required to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test in Turkey,” he added, saying that the travel agency suggested that tourists purchase travel insurance to cover all expenses if they contracted COVID-19. (jes)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.