THE COVID-19 pandemic, which still envelops the world, has come up short for the tourism sector. This pandemic has forced restrictions on mobility through tourist entrances, thereby reducing the movement of tourists both the archipelago and foreign countries.

According to a senior economic researcher of Institute of Strategic Studies, Universitas Kebangsaan RI,

Eric Sugandi said that in fact, the visit of foreign tourists was one of the sources of foreign exchange reserves for Indonesia. To that end, the government finally made adjustments to the tourism target in the 2020-2024 period.

“This year, the government is targeting to get foreign tourists visiting 2.8 million visits to 4 million visits. This number dropped dramatically from the realization of foreign tourist visits last year which reached 16.1 million visits,” he said.

Eric explained that with the number of visits, tourism revenue was targeted to only be in the range of US$2.8 billion-US$4.0 billion. This target certainly also plummeted from tourism foreign exchange throughout 2019 which reached US$19.7 billion.

“Even though the foreign exchange target for tourism has been cut far lower than last year’s realization, I assessed the government would still find it difficult to realize the target. But difficult with the current conditions. There are restrictions and/or travel requirements from both the Indonesian government and other countries,” he noted.

He pointed out even though the travel ban has begun to be relaxed, but there are still many other citizens who tend not to travel until the COVID-19 epidemic in the world can be controlled. Moreover, considering the growing number of cases in Indonesia.

“Not to mention, there is a risk of a second wave of spread of the virus that still haunts. So according to him, even though tourism incentives are offered, foreign tourist visits this year will not be much. At present the government is better focused on controlling the COVID-19 outbreak as the core problem. He also hopes that next year COVID-19 will be under control,” Eric stressed.

He concluded, next year I hope it can be better, if there is already a vaccine and drug against COVID-19. This will help restore tourism. [ special]