Responding to a projected US$10 billion loss in tourism revenue for 2020, Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, has confirmed the government will roll out a stimulus package to support businesses in the tourism industry hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. While mitigating losses caused by the coronavirus, the nation also expects a swift recovery, leading to a possible boom in tourism next year.
According to the Jakarta Post, the President (known locally as ‘Jokowi’) said in a Cabinet meeting on Thursday (16th April) that the economic support is intended to help tourism businesses to weather the storm, without resorting to closures or layoffs. According to the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association, COVID-19 has already closed an estimated 1,260 hotels nationwide in Indonesia, affecting more than 150,000 employees.
Indonesia’s government views COVID-19 as a temporary disruption to the tourism industry, and is working to ensure the sector stays at full strength in preparation for the anticipated return to normal operations. The President has asked the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry to reallocate its budget to labour-intensive jobs for workers affected by the crisis, creating what’s been described as a ‘social safety net’ for workers in the tourism industry.
Despite grim financial projections for 2020, Jokowi remains optimistic that Indonesia will see a “tourism boom” next year when the COVID-19 situation has passed. With travel restrictions already being lifted in Thailand and the number of new cases falling across Southeast Asia, those working in the region’s tourism sector are hoping the end may already be in sight.
Panorama Destination will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Indonesia, and will post updates to our social media channels as soon as there is news to share: