As Indonesian tourism continues to plot a course through Covid-19, a range of locations – from Bali to Yogyakarta and Komodo National Park – have resumed operations recently. The latest round of reopenings, coinciding with a cautious revival in domestic tourism, bode well for the future of the sector. Industry professionals and government officials alike are working to reinstate infrastructure and implement new SOP to ensure the safe return of foreign tourists when international travel restrictions are lifted.
Last month, Bali completed its lifting of travel restrictions for domestic tourists, allowing all Indonesian residents to visit a wide range of premier attractions, cultural highlights and historic sites. Although the planned return of international arrivals has been postponed, the island is now up and running; a welcome sight for tourism industry professionals in Bali and beyond. The safety and success of this domestic reopening offers a promising prototype for the planned international return.
While Bali may be ahead of the curve, other destinations in Indonesia are now beginning to catch up, raising the shutters on their tourism hot spots and getting back to business. One such destination is Yogyakarta in Central Java. Home to a wide range of historical monuments, spectacular landscapes and ancient cultures, the region is a popular destination for international travellers.
At the end of August, tourism officials announced that ten of the region’s most popular tourist attractions would reopen after a precautionary fallow period in response to Covid-19. Domestic tourists will now breathe life back into these places, in preparation for a full return to international operations, either later this year or in early 2021.
These destinations include Kalisuci Cave, with its stunning rivers and rock formations; Agrowisata Bhumi Merapi, where visitors can interact with animals and engage in ecotourism; Banyu Langit Gate, home to photogenic views and fun water activities; and Watu Purbo Waterfall, cascading over six tiers in a landscape of jungle and volcano peaks. Other sites to reopen near Yogyakarta include Baron Beach, Breksi Cliff, Taman Pintar, Kaliburu and the Mount Merapi Museum.
Combining a wide array of natural wonders, historical treasures and family-friendly activities, these ten attractions in and around Yogyakarta are complemented by the city’s unique cultural heritage, its royal architecture and its many fascinating markets and dining establishments. With superb monuments such as Borobudur and Prambanan just out of town, the city offers a diverse array of activities to fill an itinerary with safe and stimulating travel experiences.
Each of the sites will reopen under strict health and safety protocols, with visitors also required to download the Jogja Pass and Visiting Jogja apps to make and manage their bookings. The former features an emergency call button connected to nearby hospitals and contains essential information on Covid-19. The latter offers online booking for the destinations themselves.
Elsewhere in Indonesia, the Government of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) has confirmed that Komodo National Park will also reopen, after six months’ closure due to Covid-19. To ensure the safety of returning visitors, popular sites in the park will be limited to 25 visitors per day, all of whom will have to adhere to strict health and safety protocols during their visit. Bookings will be made solely online, and tourists will need to provide rapid test results prior to travel, in order to prove they are not infected with Covid-19.
Entrance by sea to the park’s attractions will also be regulated. The number of boats permitted to enter tourism areas will be limited, with online registrations expected to help the local tourism office to record visitor numbers and avoid boat crowding at each spot. The Tourism Bureau of West Manggarai district, NTT province, has allowed the Labuan Bajo authorities and the Komodo National Park office to reopen the destinations in three phases. The first phase began on July 6, 2020, with the return of provincial visitors; followed by a partial return for domestic tourists in August; this third phase extends the number of sites to reopen and constitutes a more comprehensive domestic tourism revival. Ultimately, the park and the government of NTT expect to welcome back international visitors as soon as the national restrictions are lifted.