The Jakarta Post
As a result of travel restrictions and border closures, Kualanamu International Airport (KNIA) in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, has recorded a steep drop in international flight departures.
According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the airport served only 253 and 210 passengers for international flight departures in September and October, respectively, antaranews.com reported.
BPS North Sumatra head Syech Suhaimi said on Thursday that between January and October, Kualanamu International Airport served a total of 187,696 passengers for international departures, a 76.84 percent drop from the same period last year when it served 897,211 passengers.
Syech explained that in addition to travel restrictions and border closures, many travelers were still afraid to travel during the pandemic.
He predicted that the airport would see an increase in international departures toward the end of this year, though the number would still be far below that of precoronavirus days.
Syech added that between January and October, the number of foreign arrivals also fell to 216,525 passengers, while in the same period last year, the airport welcomed 934,932 tourists.
Indonesia saw a drop in foreign tourist arrivals in March as the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the country’s tourism.
According to BPS, foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia plunged 64.1 percent year-on-year (yoy) in March to 470,898 visitors, a level unseen in more than a decade, BPS head Suhariyanto said earlier this year.
“The number of tourists from all over the world is declining sharply because of the social movement restrictions, lockdowns and flight restrictions in effect in different countries,” he said during a live-streamed press conference.
According to BPS data, March’s foreign tourist arrivals were the lowest monthly arrivals since February 2009, when the country welcomed 421,555 foreign visitors.
Tourists from mainland China showed the steepest drop in March at 97.4 percent yoy, followed by Hong Kong (96 percent) and Kuwait (89 percent).
China is among the countries that send the most tourists to Indonesia.
“The drop is so severe and we need to be wary of it. Such a level of decline will greatly affect tourism and its supporting sectors,” Suhariyanto said.
Although Kualanamu International Airport is still suffering from the effects of the pandemic, it resumed all its domestic routes last month.
Currently, the airport serves flights to 25 destinations in Indonesia and accommodates around 10,000 passengers daily.
“All Indonesian airlines have resumed operations,” said Fajri Ramdhani, KNIA acting communication and legal manager, adding that these domestic routes were still dominated by passengers flying to and from Jakarta. (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.