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Private tour packages on rise amid pandemic

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, November 9, 2020  /  04:32 pm
Private tour packages on rise amid pandemic

A diver enjoys coral reefs in Karimunjawa Islands, Jepara, Central Java, recently. (JP/Suherdjoko)

Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism in Indonesia is gradually picking up as people begin to feel bored at home.

Visiting domestic destinations in small groups appears to be the most popular type of travel while the virus is still out there.

Ghufron, a tour operator for Karimunjawa Islands in Jepara regency, Central Java, for instance, said he had returned to assisting tourists for the long weekend at the end of October.

However, unlike in the pre-coronavirus days, Ghufron discovered that the two groups he handled preferred to have private tours instead of shared packages.

Ghufron told kompas.id that, previously, visitors to Karimunjawa Islands would opt for sharing tours as it helped them save costs.

“In the past, if there was a group of five, they would join with others until there were around 10 to 14 people. That way, the boat rental fee would not be high,” he said.

He further said that the two groups he led last week each comprised of five people and – to avoid joining other groups – were willing to pay more for boat rental, even though it cost Rp 500,000 (US$35.48) per day.

“They agreed [to pay more] because they felt safer in a private [group],” Ghufron explained.

Read also: Yogyakarta eyes small groups of travelers

Meanwhile, B. Poetry Siom Siahaan, a tour operator in Raja Ampat, Sorong, West Papua, said he had begun advising tourists to opt for private tours, explaining that he would feel worried about COVID-19 if he accommodated shared packages.

“Sharing tours mean bringing together tourists from various places. We don’t know their physical conditions,” he said.

With regard to the travel cost, Poetry said, the price would be adjusted.

Visiting domestic destinations in small groups appears to be the most popular type of travel while the virus is still out there.Visiting domestic destinations in small groups appears to be the most popular type of travel while the virus is still out there. (JP/Swi Handono)

Poetry added that, for accommodation, he now offered a small boat with a capacity of six people, which was priced at Rp 6.5 million for a trip from Sorong to Piaynemo, while a big boat would cost around Rp 12 million.  

In addition to Poetry, travel agencies in Yogyakarta were also targeting small groups of travelers.

Udi Sudiyanto, former head of ASITA Yogyakarta told tempo.co last month that 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 are offering affordable packages starting at Rp 200,000 per person.  

The package is valid for a minimum of four people and includes a day trip and transportation to several tourist attractions, such as the Pengger pine forest in Bantul, Parangtritis Beach and Gunungkidul Beach. (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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