THE Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy emphasizes the importance of various synergy efforts or programs that are being carried out by the Tourism Ministry to revive the tourism sector and creative economy in Indonesia which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Angela Tanoesoedibjo said the COVID-19 pandemic that is occurring around the world, especially in Indonesia, has made the tourism sector and the creative economy deteriorate. According to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), from January to June 2020 world tourism lost 440 million tourists.

“Indonesia is estimated to have lost US$14.5-US$15.8 billion in foreign exchange due to a decrease in foreign tourist arrivals. This downturn is due to the fact that the tourism sector relies heavily on human movement,” Angela said.

Therefore, Angela explained that Tourism Ministry issued various policies and assistance to help tourism actors affected by this pandemic. Among other things, by helping business liquidity through facilitation of fiscal relaxation, utilization of the National Economic Recovery (PEN) program to support access to capital, electricity incentives in the form of relaxation of minimum electricity rates, and utilization of hotels as independent isolation locations and for health workers.

“Meanwhile, for the resilience of tourism workers, we see an urgency to distribute direct assistance because many workers who have been sent home have even experienced layoffs (PHK). So we have facilitated social assistance for tourism workers with the Ministry of Social Affairs and this continues, facilitation of pre-employment cards with the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy, as well as access to reduced contribution payments for the Social Security Administrator Body (BPJS) for Employment, in addition the Ministry of Tourism also distributes emergency food assistance directly to tourism players,” Angela noted.

In addition, Angela also added that in terms of the resilience of the tourism industry, the current focus of Tourism Ministry is to improve the quality of destinations and prepare the industry in adapting to new norms and post-COVID-19 pandemic.

“For example, we provide free training through webinars to increase the productivity and quality of tourism actors. Second is the revitalization of facilities and infrastructure such as the cleaning program for tourism destinations which aims to improve the quality of the tourism destinations themselves. We have also compiled a health protocol with stakeholders and the Ministry of Health which has been ratified in KMK Number HK.01.07/Menkes/382/2020 for the tourism sector,” she said.

As a derivative of the Decree of the Minister of Health (KMK), the Ministry of Tourism has also launched a guidebook intended as a more technical guide for various types of tourism businesses. So this book becomes a complete and detailed reference for national tourism efforts in implementing health protocols.

Angela also revealed that the Ministry of Tourism has prepared and immediately distributed tourism grants of IDR3.3 trillion for hotel and restaurant tourism businesses and local governments. 30% of the grant funds are intended to assist local governments in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the tourism sector and the creative economy. Meanwhile, 70% is allocated to assist hotel and restaurant businesses in carrying out their daily operations and in implementing health protocols.

“In addition, we have also allocated more than IDR119 billion for free Cleanliness, Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability (CHSE) certification with an independent institution, which is aimed at increasing consumer confidence in the tourism sector,” she concluded. []