The Jakarta Post
Tourism businesspeople in Indonesia feel optimistic about COVID-19 vaccines, which they expect will help revive the industry.
Association of Air Ticketing Companies in Indonesia (Astindo) deputy head Anton Sumarli said he was certain the COVID-19 vaccine would boost travel demand.
He noted that the tourist industry had seen a positive trend in the fourth quarter of this year.
“Compared with the third quarter, the fourth quarter [shows] a better performance, and there is considerable demand [for tourist activities],” he said on Wednesday, as quoted by antaranews.com.
He added that the association’s regional members had been receiving inquiries for the upcoming holidays.
Astindo secretary-general Pauline Suharno added that demand for tourism had increased 20 to 30 percent when compared with the low point in May.
She explained that the positive trend was driven by trips of government officials as well as travelers’ plans for the upcoming holidays.
However, new restrictions and regulations have made some travelers wary about going on a vacation, and it is still hard to predict the long-term trends for the industry.
“However, we hope that the COVID-19 vaccine will make people feel more confident while [vacationing],” Pauline said.
Indonesia Tour and Travel Agency Association (ASITA) deputy chairman Budijanto Ardiansjah voiced a similar opinion. He said COVID-19 vaccines could help to gradually increase people’s confidence and predicted that it could take three to four months after the vaccination program for the situation to return to normal.
Budijanto expressed his hope that the central government would provide clear policies and information, allowing consumers and tourism stakeholders to plan ahead.
The government is currently pursuing various efforts to revive tourism, including allocating Rp 14.4 trillion (US$972.6 million) for businesses and issuing cleanliness, health, safety and environmental sustainability (CHSE) certification for service providers in the industry.
However, the efforts would most likely be in vain if Indonesia failed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
An independent survey conducted by Kleopas Danang Bintoroyakit, who represented Indonesia at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) next Generation Aviation Professional Global Summit in 2017, discovered that 54 percent of foreign travelers were unsure about the idea of flying to Indonesia and that they would like to check the implementation of health protocols in the country.
The survey, which was conducted between Oct. 22 and Nov. 14 and involved 102 respondents from 28 countries, also found that 26 percent of the respondents said they wanted to visit Indonesia, while 20 percent said they would wait for a COVID-19 vaccine.
With regard to the vaccination program, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has announced that the COVID-19 vaccination will be made free of charge as the state looks to quell criticism over assertions that it would only fund inoculation for a third of the population targeted in the program.
Speaking in an official video published on Wednesday, Jokowi said he would make the vaccine available without cost in order to build trust among the people and show that it would be safe to use. (jes)
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