TEMPO.CO, Yogyakarta - The rupiah's depreciation to around Rp13,700 per US dollar has not led to a surge in tourist arrivals to Yogyakarta.
Foreign tourists usually flock the Sultan's Palace in summer around July to August before continuing their travels to Borobudur or Prambanan temples. The palace's tour guide, Amirul, said that in the first two weeks of August, the number of foreign tourists visiting the palace has been the same as last year.
"[The number is] around 500 to 700 people per day; same as like last year. There is no effect of the [US] dollar appreciation," Amirul said.
This year's visit is dominated by Europeans tourists from the Netherlands, France, and Germany, accounting for some 70 percent of daily visits. From Asia, the visit is still dominated by the Japanese.
Amirul said the absence of tourist surge is likely due to the new traffic management regulation near the palace area, where buses are now prohibited from entering the palace square.
"Banning buses from entering the square had led to travel agencies separating tour packages. In the past, the palace visit is combined with a tour to Borobudur and Prambanan. These days, tourists must pay twice if they want to visit the palace. Some of them are willing to do it, some are not," he said.
The stagnant number of foreigners' visit to the palace had caused a decline in the number of bilingual tour guides operating in the complex from around 50 guides per day to just 20-30 people per day.
Meanwhile, the Tamansari garden—also located within the palace complex—is experiencing a surge in foreign tourist visits.
"From July's 200 people per day, the number of visit has more than doubled this August," said Parjiyo, a ticket officer at Tamansari.
At the Pagelaran Keraton complex, a place that also serves as a museum that stores various attributes of the palace tradition, the number of foreign visits is even fewer at just 150 people per day.
"But this is our normal number of visits from year to year," said ticket officer Davis.
Muhammad Fuad, chairman of the Cooperative Communications Forum for the Palace's North Square, said the square will continue banning large buses from entering the area.
"All tour buses are asked to park outside the palace complex in order for parking to be more organized. Tourists can then enter the complex on a shuttle bus provided," he said.