COORDINATING Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the reactivation of tourism in Banyuwangi and Bali had boosted the number of domestic tourists.

“Since the reactivation of tourism in Banyuwangi and Bali, there has been an increase in the number of domestic tourists. This is a good trend. What’s interesting is that there has also been a decrease in infected (exposed to Covid-19) in Bali and an increased rate of recovery,” he said.

Luhut admitted that he was worried that reactivation of tourism would have an impact on the increase in the number of infected cases. However, it turns out that the opposite is true.

He also revealed that there was a change in the trend of travel from mass tourism to quality tourism. Domestic tourists also tend to visit buffer cities that have beautiful and clean natural panoramas.

“(Tourists) Jakarta, for example with Sentul and Puncak. Or Surabaya and the surrounding areas to Banyuwangi and Bromo,” Luhut noted.

Luhut explained that the COVID-19 pandemic situation has a major impact on the tourism sector and the creative economy. The decline in foreign tourists which makes tourism destinations lonely should be a trigger for strategic reformulation. The movement of domestic tourists is believed to have great potential in tourism recovery. Domestic tourists are also said to be the main drivers of the tourism sector in 2020-2021.

“We have the potential for more than US$15 billion in the country. So if we have to move our domestic economy with domestic tourists, it will really help us all,” he mentioned.

Therefore, he also invited regional leaders to make innovations in order to reactivate local tourism. However, he reminded that tourism reactivation must continue to prioritize public health.

“Don’t get tired of reminding us to obey the use of masks, washing hands and social distancing, especially in densely populated areas,” he added.

Luhut also campaigned for the slogan “Indonesia Aja” to encourage domestic tourism. This is also in line with the absence of Umrah, Hajj, and official trips abroad so that domestic potential must be maximized.

To start restoring tourism, he also advised local governments to maintain cleanliness in tourist spots, increase cooperation with the team, and remind people that the presence of local tourists will help economic movement.

“Earlier I mentioned that in Banyuwangi and Bali the results were very encouraging. To this day Banyuwangi looks very orderly tourists, Bali is the same, so their economy is also running,” Luhut concluded. [antaranews/photo special]