Tourism industry to apply health protocol in “new normal” era

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Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio has urged the tourism industry to implement health protocol during the post-pandemic “new normal” era.

Kusubandio noted in a statement here on Saturday that the ministry had worked in coordination with related ministries and stakeholders to prepare protocols applicable in the sector in the post-pandemic era.

“Health and security protocols will attract tourists. We continue to work hard to formulate strategic moves to prepare a health protocol in an effort to accelerate recovery of the tourism sector,” he stated.

The minister made the statement during an international tourism webinar themed “Changes of Tourism Paradigm In the Era of New Normal” organized by the Indonesia Tourism Forum (ITF) on Friday (May 15).

Attendees at the webinar comprised President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Gloria Guevara Manzo, Indonesia Tourism Forum Chairman Sapta Nirwandar, Chairman of the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Hariyadi Sukamdani, CEO of the Panorama Group Tourism and Hospitality Budi Tirtawisata, President Director of Garuda Indonesia Irfan Setiaputra, Deputy Governor of Bali Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, and CEO of Clobothink Consultant, Australasia & Middle East Irshad Cader.

The minister was upbeat about Indonesia’s tourism industry recovering sooner than expected or less than five years to return to normalcy.

The closure of tourist destinations owing to the pandemic should be viewed as an opportunity to evaluate and rearrange the locations, so operators can improvise services and facilitate sustainable tourism development.

“We have to work towards ensuring faster recovery of the tourism sector. We fully understand that tourism is the backbone of the economy,” he noted.

Kusubandio believes that the tourism sector has significantly contributed to creating jobs, boosting foreign exchange and investment, and bolstering development of other sectors.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has projected tourism performance worldwide in 2020 to drop by 45 percent, and it will plummet further by 75 percent if there is no sign of recovery until September 2020.

In Indonesia and several other countries worldwide, all tourist destinations and amusement centers were shut down to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Thousands of hotel, restaurants, and travel agents were closed. Hundreds of aircraft were not operated and millions of workers in the tourism sector were among those bearing the brunt of the pandemic.

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