THE INDONESIAN Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy will consider plans to reopen Aceh’s tourist gates for foreign tourists which were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for tourists from Malaysia who have a high number of visits to Aceh.

According to the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno in Aceh Besar, Wednesday (10/20), said the Tourism Ministry would wait for a letter, either from the Aceh Government or the Aceh’s Regional of House Representatives (DPRD) as consideration for the pandemic conditions in Tanah Rencong, before opening the tourist door for foreign tourists.

“(The letter) for us to consider at the next evaluation meeting,” said Sandiaga while reviewing the Nusa Tourism Village, Lhoknga District, Aceh Besar.

Sandiaga explained that Indonesia had opened Bali and the Riau Islands (Kepri) for foreign tourists to visit since October 14. Then this opportunity will also be obtained by other regions in Indonesia.

“Therefore, we are waiting for an official letter to submit it, because now there are Bali and Riau Islands which have been opened since last October 14,” Sandiaga noted.

Indeed, said Sandiaga, I had heard complaints from the public regarding the decline in foreign tourist visits to the Veranda of Mecca during the pandemic. Especially tourists from Malaysia, whose decline reached more than 70%.

“We want to open. Like in the Nusa Tourism Village, earlier I heard stories of many tourists from Malaysia coming here because they feel the beauty of nature and this is a source of the community’s economy here,” he stated.

Indeed, the trend of adding COVID-19 cases has shown a decline in recent weeks. Therefore, he said, the tourist door for foreign tourists will be opened if all parties continue to unite against the pandemic, disciplined in implementing health protocols.

“If COVID-19 shows conducive conditions, and is proposed, with the support of local governments and tourism actors who are ready to implement health protocols, of course we will consider this,” he concluded. []