Indonesia asks airlines to slash fares to keep tourism afloat for virus scare.
The government has called for airlines to entice domestic tourists with special discounts for flights bound for some of Indonesia’s top tourism destinations as part of the country’s strategy to cope with declining foreign tourist arrivals amid China’s coronavirus outbreak.
The move followed Jakarta’s decision to impose a travel ban to and from mainland China and to halt visa-free and visa-on-arrival provisions for Chinese tourists — a policy aimed at preventing the fast-spreading virus from entering the archipelago but which will almost certainly take a toll on Indonesia’s tourism.
“Through the Transportation Ministry, the government has initiated giving special discounts for domestic flights to Bali, North Sulawesi and Bintan Island,” Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko said on Thursday (Feb 6).
Bintan Island in Riau Islands, Bali, and Manado in North Sulawesi have been among the favourite destinations of Chinese tourists, who for years have been among the largest group of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia.
Transportation Ministry expert staff member Adita Irawati said the ministry had discussed with a number of airlines about providing discounted prices for flight tickets.
Adita said that it would be the airlines’ prerogative to decide how big the discounts would be.
“The Transportation Ministry has given the instruction, the application is up to each of the airlines,” she said as quoted by kompas.com.
Adita said the discounts were one of the country’s efforts to keep Indonesia’s tourism afloat despite the many route closures to and from China.
Statistics Indonesia (BPS) revealed that from January to November 2019,1.9 million Chinese tourists visited Indonesia, representing nearly 13 per cent of overall foreign tourist visits.
“We are looking for ways to keep [tourism] attractive by [offering] various packages from the airlines,” Adita said,”The airlines will soon announce how big the discounts will be.” – The Jakarata Post/Asia News Network