Indonesia Tourism and Covid-19

  • Indonesia : a promising future

Indonesia is one of the most promising tourism destinations in the world. Its number of international arrivals has been constantly increasing for the past 15 years, and the country presents now far more destinations than the very famous island of Bali. In fact, the tourism sector has had a large contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), around 5.5 percent of the total IDR 280 trillion GDP. On the other hand, the tourism sector also absorbs up to 10 percent of the workforce of the 12.7 million workforce.

  • Covid-19: a hard blow on the sector

However, as everywhere else in the world, the pandemic has hit hard in Indonesia.

Based on data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), there was a decrease in the number of foreign touristsby 73.6 percent during January-November 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. During January-November 2019, there were a total of 14.73 million foreign tourists who enter Indonesia. This number has dropped sharply to 3.89 million foreign tourists in 2020.

Indonesia is estimated to have lost foreign exchange of US$ 14.5-15.8 billion (around Rp. 213 trillion to Rp. 232 trillion) due to the decrease in foreign tourist arrivals.

The pandemic has caused an 85% drop in the number of tourists visiting Bali this year. This has had a knock-on effect on unemployment in tourism sectors.

  • Preparing the future

To overcome the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the tourism sector, President Joko Widodo ensured that there was a social protection program for workers in the tourism sector. On April 16, 2020 , the President emphasized that he would reallocate the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy's budget to a labor-intensive program for workers engaged in the tourism sector. Furthermore, actors in tourism and the creative economy will be given an economic stimulus so that they can survive massive layoffs.

As one of the sectors directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism has received assistance from the government of IDR 3.8 trillion.

On the other hand, the government is also trying to safeguard tourism activities during the pandemic by issuing various health protocols, such as protocols for hotels, restaurants and nature tourism. In July 2020, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy published a health protocol for the tourism sector and creative economy which was drafted and ratified by the Minister of Health. The program was then developed into a certification for cleanliness, health, safety, and environmental sustainability (CHSE) in the tourism sector and the creative economy.

The gradual provision of the Covid-19 vaccine to the community, the enforcement of strict health protocols, the wheels of Indonesian tourism are expected to be run again with a new spirit, where the target is tourists from their own country.