THE INDONESIAN tourism sector is expected to be able to increase innovation in an effort to promote existing tourism potential, even though the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet.

According to the Economist of Universitas Brawijaya Malang, Nugroho Suryo Bintoro in Malang City, East Java, Friday (7/23) said Indonesia’s tourism sector has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so innovation is needed by presenting the concept of virtual tourism.

“Tour agents can innovate by following the times. Of course, the packages provided are in the form of footage about various tourist destinations. That can be sold,” said Nugroho.

Nugroho explained that business actors in the tourism sector need to innovate through digital-based platforms to provide new experiences for the community in conducting virtual tourism activities.

According to him, the virtual tourism concept is expected to trigger people’s desire to travel, when the implementation of community activity restrictions (PPKM) is relaxed, or when the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

“It will raise people’s curiosity. And when PPKM, and these pandemic ends, people will be able to return to travel in those areas,” he noted.

The use of the digital platform, according to him, must be able to provide detailed information or visuals about the area or tourist attraction. With the concept of an attractive tourist area footage, it will raise the public’s desire to take part in the virtual tour. In addition, in the virtual tourism concept, you can also cooperate with a guide who can provide explanations, and explore existing tourist objects.

“It will not be as comfortable as coming directly, but at least they can explore, and create curiosity, so that when (the spread of COVID-19) subsides, they will go to tourist destinations,” he added.

Nugroho explained that the COVID-19 pandemic had a fairly deep impact on the Indonesian tourism sector. It is hoped that the government’s efforts to suppress the spread of COVID-19 can run smoothly, so that the tourism sector can get back on track.

Overall, there are 3,033,339 positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia. Of the total, 2,392,923 people were reported to have recovered, 79,032 were declared dead, and the rest were under treatment. [antaranews/photo special]