THE Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has prepared various strategies for handling COVID-19 and national economic recovery (PEN) in the tourism and creative economy (parekraf) sector in Indonesia.

According to the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Wishnutama Kusubandio during the Coordination Meeting of the Committee for Handling COVID-19 and National Economic Recovery (Rakorpim PC-PEN) in Bintan, Riau Islands, Friday (25/9) explained that one of the economic sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is tourism which has experienced a significant decline due to the cessation of tourist activities.

“It takes serious efforts together from all parties to restore the tourism industry by making a breakthrough that is able to empower all industry players with the support of National Economic Recovery funds,” Wishnutama said.

He added that Ministry of Tourism has prepared a budget of IDR3.8 trillion for various programs such as Tourism Grants, Certification of Cleanliness, Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability (CHSE), Tourism Reactivation Stimulus, Hotel Facilities with 3 meals and snacks for Self-isolation.

“The tourism grant aims to help tourism destinations and businesses to improve the implementation of health protocols so as to increase the trust and confidence of tourists in 85 districts/cities based on criteria such as 10 priority tourism destinations, capitals, provinces, branding destinations, areas with 15% Hotel Tax and Restaurant Tax (PHPR), and regions. which includes 100 Calender of Events (CoE),” Wishnutama noted.

The tourism grant mechanism will be carried out through transfers to the regions, 70% for hotel and restaurant businesses based on data on the realization of the 2019 PHPR realization for each local government. Then the other 30% are used by regions to be part of the handling of the social economic impacts of COVID-19, especially in the tourism sector.

For the Tourism Reactivation Stimulus, the Ministry of Tourism provides a reactivation stimulus in the form of a 50% discount on tour packages that will only start after the vaccination runs. Then there is the free CHSE certification with the aim of ensuring that health protocols are carried out properly in tourist destinations according to the Ministry of Health’s Decree (KMK) and guidebooks from the Ministry of Tourism as implementation guidelines.

Tourism Minsitry, he continued also prepares accommodation in the form of a 3-star equivalent hotel, including eating and drinking facilities. The hotel supply areas are located in Jabodetabek, West Java and Bali. The number of facilities that will be provided can accommodate 14,000 patients within 14 days of quarantine until December 2020. Currently, there are 17 hotels that have been verified by the Ministry of Health with a capacity of 3,290 rooms and will continue to grow.

Previously, during the opening remarks of the PC-PEN Rakorpim, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto said that the tourism sector was the sector that was badly hit with a decrease in income of up to 90% compared to last year. The tourism sector, which usually generates US$15 billion in foreign exchange a year, this time fell by 90%.

“Tourism in the Riau Islands is one of the hardest hit apart from Bali. In the second quarter of this year, the growth was minus 6%, while in Bali it was minus 10%. Most of the hotels during the first 9 months of this year hardly served guests due to restrictions on movement amid the pandemic,” Airlangga pointed out.

As Chair of the PC-PEN Committee Airlangga noted that the PEN program had only started in early June 2020. This means that the absorption rate of 40% was achieved in just 3 months and 3 weeks. With the faster absorption rate going forward, we estimate that the PEN budget of IDR695 trillion will be absorbed up to 100%. []