Government steps for three destinations affected by Coronavirus

Government organizations need to take a pro-active stance in dealing with epidemic. (Photo: IO/Rayi Gigih)

IO, Jakarta – Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government was formulating incentives for tourism industry players (such as airlines) to counter the negative impact of the spread of the coronavirus on the domestic economy, in line with a directive from President Joko Widodo. “The President mentioned several things that we might study – first, of course, whether we can stimulate activities in the tourism centers that suffer a significant decline due to the coronavirus, so later this will be more on the allocation of spending there,” said the Minister after the cabinet meeting at the Bogor Palace, Tuesday (02/11/2020). 

“Secondly, it can be determined whether incentives or subsidies to airlines, especially for domestic tourists, may stimulate spending from the public to sustain the tourism sector,” she said. 

Sri Mulyani said that the incentive scheme was still being studied by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. Meanwhile, Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said three tourism destinations in Indonesia were severely affected by the Coronavirus outbreak: Bali, Bintan and North Sulawesi. The three destinations were affected because the government halted flights to and from mainland China starting 5 February. 

Every year, around two million Chinese tourists visit Indonesia and most go to one of the three destinations. Budi Karya expects these incentives can directly impact ticket prices in the form of “vouchers” or discounted airline tickets. “The most effective is ‘bundling’ (packages) such as to airlines and hotels,” Budi said. 

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Tito Karnavian ensured that tourist sites in Bali are not affected by the coronavirus outbreak. This was conveyed by Tito, based on a report from Bali Governor I Wayan Koster, whom he had recently met. “In Bali to date, there is no data on those affected by the coronavirus. Therefore, the number of Chinese tourists has declined because of the travel ban, while tourists from other areas divert to Bali,” Tito said at the TNP2K Office, Jalan Kebon Sirih, Central Jakarta, Tuesday (02/11/2020). 

Tito mentioned that from the results of his observations directly in Bali, he did not see any empty tourist sites. However, Tito said, according to information obtained from the Governor of Bali, hotels or inns usually occupied by tourists from China are unusually quiet. “But there are positive effects too because Thailand, Japan, Singapore are affected by Coronavirus, many tourists who want to go to those countries divert their destination and head for Bali;” he said. (des)