The Jakarta Post
The entrance gate of Rinca Island, Labuan Bajo, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, in March 2018. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari )
Labuan Bajo and Flores Tourism Authority (BOPLBF) president director Shana Fatina feels optimistic about the tourism industry recovery in 2021.
“The fast movement [initiated by new] Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno has given a new spirit for [Labuan Bajo] economy recovery, particularly for the tourism sector,” Shana told antaranews.com on Monday.
The authority had conducted a dialogue with the minister on Sunday, discussing the strategies to increase foreign and domestic tourists’ trusts in visiting tourist attractions.
Shana said the dialogue had provided the authority with a better picture of what to do to help tourism recover.
She mentioned they would continue implementing the cleanliness, health, safety and environment (CHSE) measures, a program that was initiated by former Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio, while also creating new innovations.
Shana added that in the past months the BOPLBF had developed tech-based tourism by digitalizing 25 tourism villages in six regencies
At the same time, Labuan Bajo has also digitalized the culinary industry.
Manggarai Barat Tourism Agency head Agustinus Rinus said they had followed Jokowi’s instructions to prepare human resources for the tourism industry.
However, Agustinus said it was one of the biggest challenges for the agency, as 60 percent of the population did not have education above elementary school level.
Agustinus expressed his hopes that the local government would continue to develop a tourism polytechnic in Labuan Bajo.
The tourism industry is among the sectors hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indonesia drastically slashed its foreign tourist arrival target for this year from 18 million travelers to between 2.8 million and 4 million visitors, less than a fourth of the initial target.
Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data show that foreign tourist arrivals picked up slightly to 158,200 in October, an increase of 4.57 percent from September. However, the figure was still down 88.25 percent from the same month last year.
The local tourism agency has made several innovations to attract tourists.
The tourism park in Pekanbaru, Riau province, for instance, has built a Corona Virus Monument.
Asia Farm manager Edy said on Monday that the monument served as a mark for a historical event in our lives.
“We made it cute and colorful so people would not be afraid of the pandemic, but stay cautious while doing activities during the new normal period,” he explained.
He said tourist attractions had to be creative to survive, explaining that they saw a significant drop in visitors during the large-scale social restrictions.
Hence, they have also adapted to the new situation and implemented strict health protocols in the tourism park. (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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