Coronavirus disease transmission (COVID-19) has started to impact Indonesia’s tourism industry as more visitors with months of travel plans canceled their trips to major destinations, including Komodo National Park in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara.
To date, about 45.000 visitors have canceled their plans to visit the world-famous destination from January to May, according to the Indonesian Tour Guide Association (HPI) Regional Head of East Nusa Tenggara Agustinus Bataona.
Tourists, who last year had purchased tourism packages in advance for holidays, had issued cancelation notices by travel agents throughout the province, he added.
Head of the Indonesian Tour and Travel Agency Association (Asita) West Manggarai branch Donatus Matur told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that cancelation of the trip had become a new standard after the influence of coronavirus had begun to be felt in Labuan Bajo.
“Especially as global travel alerts have been placed in effect because the epidemic has spread internationally. We also hope that this coronavirus will quickly be suppressed, so that the tourism industry does not stay slow, “said Donatus.
West Manggarai tourism practitioner Maria Oktaviani Simonita Budjen expressed the same thought, stating that places around Labuan Bajo had become quiet as tourist visits continued to decline.
“It’s distinct from usual days when visitors walk around the town of Labuan Bajo,” she said.
Labuan Bajo— one of the government’s top five tourism-enhancing destinations— is not the only tourist attraction to be granted a broad berth as a consequence of COVID-19.
Indonesia’s iconic tourism destination Bali was also hard hit by the epidemic, which was officially proclaimed a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday.
Bali Immigration Office reported 392,824 visitors arriving in February, a 33 percent decline from January since the government enforced travel bans to and from mainland China on Feb 5 to curtail the spread of the outbreak. Last month, Australia surpassed China as the leading producer of international visitors, followed by India and Japan.
In the meantime, airline and leisure sectors still tend to struggle from poor occupancy levels and cancellations.
The Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) announced that the country’s overall occupancy rate has decreased from 50 to 60 percent to 30 to 40 percent since the coronavirus outbreak in China at the beginning of January. Bali, Jakarta, Manado in North Sulawesi, and Batam and Bintan in the Riau Islands are probably the hardest affected regions.
Also, state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I announced that as many as 12,703 flights with nearly 1,67 million passengers had been canceled at its 15 airports across Indonesia from January to February.
Of such flights, 11,680 are domestic, and 1,023 are international flights originating from its airports, including I Gusti Ngurah Rai Foreign Airports in Denpasar, Bali, and Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java.
Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on Monday that tourist arrivals amounted to 1.27 million in January, around 5.85 percent more than the 1.2 million posted in the same month of 2019.
Nevertheless, the rise is far smaller than that of about 9.5 percent increase in arrivals in January 2019 relative to the same time in 2018, Indonesia set the target of getting 17 million visitors this year. A total of 16.1 million visitors visited the nation last year, far from the goal of 18 million by 2019.
Sourced from The Jakarta Post, Mar 12, 2020