JAKARTA, Feb 2, 2020, Asia Times. The coronavirus outbreak is taking a massive toll on tourism, not only in China, but around the world. One of the hardest hit so far, is Bali Island Indonesia, where at least 10,000 have canceled their trips, CGTN.com reported, according to the Asia Times.
The coronavirus outbreak will certainly cast a negative economic influence on Indonesia’s tourism industry, according to the chairwoman of Indonesia Travel Agent Association, Elly Hutabarat.
China is Indonesia’s second-largest tourist source nation after Malaysia. In 2019, a total of 1.9 million Chinese tourists visited Indonesia, representing nearly 13 percent of the overall foreign tourist visits, according to data from Statistics Indonesia. The target previously set by Indonesia’s president was to attract 10 million Chinese tourists annually, the report said.
During the Spring Festival holiday in 2019, Indonesia, ranked third in the most popular overseas travel destinations among Chinese tourists list, after Thailand and Japan, the report said.
However, Hutabarat thinks it’s probably too soon to gauge the economic loss the coronavirus will bring, and she believes there is hope that China might be able to get the virus under control soon, the report said.
“The coronavirus outbreak will definitely affect Indonesia’s tourism. However, the severity of the impact would depend on how long it would take for medication or vaccines for the virus to be developed,” she said.
The outbreak of SARS between 2002 to 2003 also affected tourism in Indonesia. Seventeen years later, “probably the medicine can be found faster because there is a more advanced technology, but we do not yet know how long the process will take,” said Hutabarat.
“Once it’s discovered, we will get back to normal soon,” she added.
Chinese tourists made 149 million overseas trips in 2018, with total spending amounting to US$130 billion, according to a report released by the China Tourism Academy.