TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Deputy Governor of North Sulawesi (Sulut) Steven Kandouw said the tourism sector in this area is ready to embrace the new normal.
"Supposing COVID-19 cannot be eliminated, we, however, must be able to control it. Just now, we discussed the new normal with the central government, and inevitably from now on we have to adapt ourselves to it," Kandouw said here on Saturday.
Health protocols are crucial as vaccine against the COVID-19 is not available yet. Tourism businesses should continue despite all limitations, he said.
"The government is trying to do financial relaxation. In the future, the tourism format must be adjusted to the situation. Whether we like it or not, all our tourism transactions must be carried out online," he said.
In accordance, with the COVID-19 protocols, everyone must wear face mask and use hand sanitizer, among other things.
"Show it to potential domestic and international tourists that North Sulawesi is safe because it applies the COVID-19 protocols, hotels must implement those protocols," he said.
He was upbeat that there would be a boom in the tourism sector when the pandemic is over.
He called on the tourism stakeholders to be united, innovative and improve services in order to attract tourists to North Sulawesi.
In the meantime, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Indonesia had outlined a target to receive at least 17 million foreign tourists in 2020.
However, in the wake of the viral outbreak, the number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia had dropped sharply in March to 470,900, or equal to the figure in 2007, according to the Central Statistics Office (BPS) on April 4, 2020.
The March figure indicated a 45.5-percent drop as compared to February and 64.11 percent from that in March 2019, according to BPS Head Suhariyanto.