Sri Mulyani to Offer Tourism Incentive to Curb Coronavirus Impact

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati stated that the government is formulating incentives for tourism industry stakeholders, such as hotels or airlines, to counter the negative impact of the coronavirus on the domestic economy.

    "[We're formulating] a couple of things such as subsidies to airlines especially for domestic tourism, in order to increase spending from the public to support the tourism sector," she said after a plenary cabinet meeting at the Bogor Palace, West Java, on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.

    Minister Sri said the proposed incentives are still being studied by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. The incentives were a request from President Joko Widodo.

    Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said there were three tourism destinations in Indonesia that have already been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, namely Bali, Bintan, and North Sulawesi.

    As many as two million Chinese tourists visiting Indonesia yearly and the three destinations were severely affected due to the government’s ban on the flights to and from mainland China since February 5, 2020. 

    Budi Karya hopes that these incentives can directly impact ticket prices at hotels and airlines, through vouchers or discounted airline tickets. "The most effective (incentive) is 'bundling' (packages) such as to airlines and hotels," he said.

    Countries that are China's economic partners are now beginning to anticipate the effects of the widespread coronavirus outbreak.

    Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Wishnutama Kusubandio previously said that Indonesia could potentially lose US$4 billion in foreign exchange earnings if Chinese flight routes are going to be closed for a year.

    The total loss was further added on by the impact of postponing foreign tourist visits from other countries to Indonesia for fear of contracting the virus originated from China.

    ANTARA | DIO SUHENDA (Intern Translator)