Indonesia tourism numbers rise but industry remains cautious
JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): Nearly 50 times more foreign tourists visited Indonesia in April compared to the same month last year, according to data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), showing that tourism of the country began to rebound.
But observers insist on the need to remain vigilant about the recovery process. Hendrie Adjie Kusworo, who heads the Doctoral Program in Tourism Studies at Gadjah Mada University (UGM), warned domestic stakeholders and tourists to remain vigilant and support the recovery of domestic tourism.
“The recovery of tourism depends on the response of governments to Covid-19 around the world, and above all, on our continued efforts to control the spread of the virus,” he told the Jakarta Post on Friday June 3. adding that Indonesia’s response to the pandemic was relatively effective so far.
Hendrie said he expected tourism, especially the number of foreign arrivals, to continue to grow slowly but steadily, returning to pre-pandemic levels.
Foreign tourist arrivals rose to 111,100 in April, up 172.27% from 40,800 a month earlier, BPS reported on Thursday, showing the sector is recovering from the severe impact of the pandemic. of coronavirus.
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By comparison, Indonesia recorded a total of 13.03 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019. This number dropped to 2.2 million in 2020 and just 141,211 in 2021.
The president of the Association of Indonesian Travel Agents (Astindo), Pauline Suharno, said she expected foreign tourist arrivals to continue to increase in the coming months as more borders had opened and travel rules had been relaxed.
“We hope there will be no news [Covid-19] variants causing a spike in active cases,” she told the Post on Friday.
The number of foreign tourist visits from the beginning of the year to April was recorded at 185,440, up 350 percent from the equivalent period of the previous year.
The government’s decision to allow nationals of several countries to obtain a visa on arrival (VoA) upon arrival in the country rather than through a more complicated application in advance, is expected to attract more foreigners to the country. ‘archipelago.
“Hopefully, the number of foreign tourists will continue to increase as tourism provides a strong multiplier effect for the Indonesian economy,” BPS official Margo Yuwono told a press briefing on Thursday.
The government has added 12 countries to the list of VoA-eligible countries, which previously included 60 countries.
New to the list are Russia and Ukraine. With the new additions, citizens of 72 countries will be able to enter Indonesia through nine airports, 11 seaports and four border crossings, as stipulated in a circular from the Directorate General of Immigration. The new policy took effect on May 30.
As for room occupancy in luxury hotels, BPS recorded an average rate of 34.23% across the country, a significant drop from the previous month’s figure of 45.15%.
The drop was caused by a drop in government activities during the fasting period, according to Margo.
“Government events taking place in hotels significantly affect [hotel occupancy]. Additionally, the Moto GP event also ended in March,” he said at the same press briefing, pointing out that the occupancy rate at West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) had risen from 38.43 % to 15.27%.
Muhammad Baiquni, a tourism expert from UGM, said hospitality industry players, especially hotels, needed new business strategies to bounce back from the pandemic, in addition to depending on international events unfolding. in Indonesia.
“Hotel management could consider creating incentives for local businesses to hold offline meetings and for local tourists to enjoy a stay at their hotels.
For example, they could include outdoor tours in partnership with amateur groups,” he said, noting that there could also be growing demand from people who wanted to organize meetings after more than two years of pandemic restrictions.