The Jakarta Post
A kapok tree is seen at Prambanan Temple in Klaten, Central Java. JP/ Magnus Hendratmo (JP/Magnus Hendratmo)
After seven months of the global COVID-19 pandemic, tourism in Yogyakarta has been slowly picking up.
Yogyakarta Tourism Agency head Singgih Raharjo said on Tuesday that the province had started to see a recovery in visitor numbers, with some 5,000 daily visits recorded on weekdays and 40,000 on weekends.
Singgih shared last month that most visitors came from within Yogyakarta, from Central Java, from West Java and from Jakarta, with popular tourist areas such as Malioboro flooded with domestic tourists.
Meanwhile, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) recorded an increase in Yogyakarta’s hotel occupancy rate to 27.8 percent in July from 15.5 percent in June. That figure is still far below the pre-pandemic level of 56.3 percent in February.
Amid the improvement, nevertheless, travel agencies in Yogyakarta have yet to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Heri Setiawan, head of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) Yogyakarta said during a virtual talk show hosted by Tribun Jogja that the agencies usually catered to foreign travelers in the pre-coronavirus days and business had yet to return to normal as most countries had still closed their borders.
Meanwhile, visitors to Yogyakarta these days usually come in small groups and without help from travel agents.
To boost the business, travel agencies in Yogyakarta are now eyeing small groups of travelers.
Read also: Five tourism trends to expect after COVID-19
Udi Sudiyanto, former head of ASITA Yogyakarta told tempo.co that that the travel agencies in Yogyakarta were now focusing on domestic travelers and offering more outdoor activities, which were adapted to the current trend.
To lure travelers, the agencies have prepared various affordable packages with a starting price of Rp 200,000 (US$13.61) per person.
The package is valid for a minimum of four people and it includes a day trip and transportation to several tourist attractions, such as Pengger pine forest in Bantul, Parangtritis Beach and Gunungkidul Beach.
In addition to the aforementioned destinations, Udi also shared that some travel agencies had begun offering trips to Prambanan Temple, adding that a bicycle tour around the temple cost Rp 250,000 per person.
The pandemic has depressed tourism as it has prompted authorities to enforce mobility restrictions in various regions to curb virus transmission. It has wiped out around Rp 85 trillion of Indonesia’s tourism revenue so far this year, according to data from the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI).
Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, who is also the Yogyakarta governor, in July decided to partially reopened the province’s tourism sector. The governor let tourist destinations operate with limited numbers of visitors, as he feared the full reopening of the sector would be too risky for Yogyakarta. (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.
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