Scroll to top

RDI COVID-19 Webinar Series - Tourism

Picture shown is for illustration purpose only

Our first webinar from RDI’s COVID-19 Webinar Series was conducted with the title of: “The Impact of COVID-19 towards the Tourism Sector and the efforts in transitioning to the New Normal” that was held on July 23rd 2020. As we shift our research and consultation to addressing COVID-19 related issues, tourism is particularly important since its economic activities have been hit hard. In Indonesia alone, the tourism industry has been experiencing about 1.5 million USD of financial loss. At its core, the webinar discussed the impacts of COVID-19 to tourism and the current efforts in transitioning to new normal.

The event was moderated by RDI senior fellow, Dr. Anthoni V. Mardianta. As for the speakers, Dr. Ayu Krishna from Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (Indonesia University of Education) was invited to gave her perspective as an academic, while Mr. Lianda Lubis shared his experiences of tourist site management during the pandemic, as head of Tahura (Forest Park) Ir. H. Juanda. Also present in the webinar was RDI’s director, Mrs. Elisabeth Rianawati, who started the event with an introduction of RDI and its past experiences.

In her presentation, Dr. Krishna brought up how part of the loss experienced by Indonesia’s tourism is due to the lack of foreign visitors. One of the possible scenarios of recovery is to have it back by 2021, given that the mass social distancing in Indonesia ends by December of 2020. With no jobs, many hospitality personnels find themselves working in agriculture or fishery. Though the ideal situation would be to have tourism operating normally as soon as possible,

she also stressed how we need to adapt new habits and health protocols while coming up with innovations to cope with the present situation.

Furthermore Mr. Lubis presented that Tahura as a national non-profit tourist site is not impacted as severely as other private sectors. However, what has been done by Tahura’s management team is keeping the numbers of visitors low by cancelling big gatherings or wedding ceremonies. Moreover, Mr. Lianda stated that at the moment, only local visitors of West Java are allowed to come, while they abide by the protocols of ‘cleanliness, health and safety’. At the same time, he also acknowledged how tourism would not be on people’s priority of spending, even when things are back to normal.

Discussion during the Q&A Session

As the discussion progressed to the Q&A and discussion session, the moderators and speakers focused on the responsibilities of stakeholders in tourism. Even though the health protocols are socialized by the government, Mr. Lubis pointed out how tourist sites are also responsible in making sure its visitors are cooperating to keep everyone safe. The discussion also touches on topics related to government support, and the question of who are going to be prioritized in receiving financial support. Dr. Krishna mentioned that the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy currently chose focuses ints financial support towards micro to medium enterprises. However, Mr. Lubis added that it might not be as effective if the demands from tourists were not there. That being said, many indeed can only look for temporary means of income as tourism slowly recovers, while virtual tourism or bringing artisanal products to e-commerce can also be great answers.

Though it is a tough time for many in the industry, our speakers of the day concluded that the current condition can be utilized as a time to rethink towards a safe, and sustainable tourism in the future. They were also optimistic in gradually welcoming back people to especially natural tourist sites, as people long for the healing and calm that nature offers.

Watch the full version of the webinar by clicking through this link and subscribe to RDI Indonesia YouTube channel to stay updated with our upcoming COVID-19 Webinar Series.