THE transition period for large-scale social restrictions has become a “pleasant” period for village tourism managers. Understandably, during a pandemic, like other resorts, tourist villages also do not operate to avoid the transmission of the new coronavirus.

Currently, several tourist villages have started accepting tourists again. One of them is Umbul Ponggok Tourism Village in Klaten, Central Java. Starting last October 27, Umbul Ponggok returned to operations, after being closed for eight months due to the pandemic.

According to Suyantoko, Head of the Village Tourism Division of the village-owned enterprise (BUMDes) Tirta Mandiri Ponggok, due to his long absence from operations, Umbul Ponggok lost revenue of up to IDR18 billion. He also hopes that the reopening of Umbul Ponggok can slowly cover the losses of this tourist spot.

“To prevent transmission of the corona virus, Umbul Ponggok managers implement strict health protocols. For example, they limit the number of visitors to a maximum of 20% of the total capacity which reaches 1,000 people or 200 people per day. We also limit the time to visit, a maximum of two hours,” Suyantoko said.

Then, in the Umbul Ponggok area, it also underwent an arrangement. Take for example, the traders who are usually scattered in several points, are now in one area.

Not to forget, the manager routinely cleans all areas of Umbul Ponggok with disinfectant before opening and after closing. Supporting facilities for health protocols are also available, such as hand washing stations and distance markers.

With the additional facilities, the village-owned enterprise (BUMDes) Tirta Mandiri Ponggok, as the manager of the tourist park, spent IDR30 million. The hope is, by implementing strict health protocols to prevent the corona virus, visitors will come back to Umbul Ponggok.

If usually Umbul Ponggok can bring in a turnover of IDR800 million per month, now the manager has lowered the target to IDR450 million by the end of this year. Unlike Umbul Ponggok, the Tanalum Tourism Village in Purbalingga, Central Java, which offers natural tourism including waterfalls, opened earlier, at the end of July.

However, according to Mohamad Nur Fatah, Chairperson of the Pokdarwis Argo Wisata Lestari Desa Tanalum, the number of tourists who came was not as many as before the pandemic. Even though the entrance ticket at this tourist spot is only IDR5,000.

Even so, the manager of Tanalum Tourism Village was not discouraged. They also apply health protocols such as providing means of washing hands, and officers using personal protective equipment. The goal is so that visitors feel safe while traveling in a tourist village. [ special]