INDONESIA’S Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno said World Tourism Day (WTD) is here to serve as a reminder that the tourism sector can narrow economic inequality.

“Because in the midst of this pandemic, there is one phenomenon, namely that the rich are getting richer, those who are sinking further down,” he said at the National Coordinating Meeting (Rakornas) of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy in a hybrid manner, Jakarta, Monday (9/27).

Furthermore, it is said that there is a glimmer of hope in the tourism and creative economy (parekraf) sectors to open up business continuity and re-activate the widest possible employment opportunities for the people of Indonesia in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sandiaga said that the tourism sector in Indonesia experienced a very strong contraction over the last two years.

In 2020, he stated that foreign tourist visits to Indonesia decreased by 75%. Meanwhile, in 2021 from January to July, foreign tourist arrivals decreased by 80%.

This is said to have resulted in nearly two million jobs being lost amid the pandemic and economic challenges. One of the influences that hindered the flow of tourists, among others, was the social restriction policy due to the soaring number of COVID-19 cases.

“(Therefore), we need policies that are right on target, right on benefits, and on time for the creative and creative sector,” said Minister Sandiaga.

This year, WTD 2021 has the theme Tourism for Inclusive Growth or Tourism for Inclusive Growth.

This inclusive growth is said to be targeting those who are experiencing various pressures in the midst of a pandemic, from losing their livelihoods, losing their jobs, or facing other very difficult situations.

The WTD warning is also in order to encourage the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by efforts to eliminate poverty, create jobs, environmental sustainability, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, and reduce inequality. [photo]