In a statement released here on Tuesday, spokesperson for the ministry's Task Force for COVID-19 Handling, Ari Juliano Gema, said the ministry has estimated a significant fall in foreign tourist visits to Indonesia due to the pandemic.
"We have prepared strategies to anticipate the decline in foreign tourist visits by applying new normal protocols in the sector," he added.
The protocol will be applied in regions which are ready to receive tourists.
"President Joko Widodo has instructed us not to act hastily. During the recovery period, we will first focus on efforts to mobilize domestic tourists," Gema added.
The implementation of the protocol, he said, will depend on regional preparedness. The ministry is working on coordinating with regions which are ready to apply the protocols.
The Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) has recorded a sharp fall in tourist visits to Indonesia to 160 thousand in April, 2020, a 66.02-percent decline compared with March (month-on-month).
Compared to the same period last year, the number of tourists has dropped by 87.44 percent, or 1.27 million.
Travelers from Timor Leste dominated tourist arrivals in the month of April this year, accounting for around 83 thousand, or 52.2 percent, of the foreign tourist arrivals in the month, followed by Malaysia (62 thousand, or 39 percent), and Singapore (two thousand, or 1.3 percent). Travelers from other countries accounted for 12 thousand, or 7.5 percent, of the tourist arrivals.
A decline in tourist arrivals has been anticipated as many countries, including Indonesia, have barred visitors to curb COVID-19 transmission.
"To reopen the tourism sector, we need to apply standard procedures in public facilities that are aimed at disciplining the public to adhere to health protocols in the sector," Gema said.
In future, the ministry will focus on the development of quality tourism that emphasizes on efforts to increase foreign exchange revenue, rather than focusing on mass tourism alone, he added.
Earlier, on Sunday (May 31, 2020), Gema had said the protocols for the tourism sector under the new normal would focus on hygiene, health, and safety in conducting businesses.
The ministry would ensure that tourism and creative economy actors are ready to welcome the new normal by applying protocols focusing on the three aspects, he added.
Meanwhile, Indonesia's Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio has urged the tourism industry to implement health protocols during the new normal.
The ministry has worked in coordination with related ministries and stakeholders to prepare protocols applicable in the sector, he noted. (INE)
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