Indonesia’s natural tourism areas to reopen in stages: Officials

Komodo airport development was part of its effort to support Labuan Bajo as one of Indonesia's priority tourism development to make 10 'New Balis'. Photo: mohinikomodo.com. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, Jun 23, 2020, The Jakarta Post. The national COVID-19 task force has announced that natural tourism venues and activities will reopen in stages. These include conservation and ecosystem-based activities in COVID-19 green and yellow zones, The Jakarta Post reported.

“With measured and continuous preparation by the government and regional administrations, I announce that natural tourism areas, as planned, will be reopened in stages,” COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo said on Monday.

Doni, who is a member of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said the decision to open a particular area would be the responsibility of regents and mayors in the 270 regencies and cities designated green or yellow zones.

“I remind regents and mayors to always consult with governors and refer to regulations that have been made by the central government regarding policies for a productive and safe society,” said Doni.

Marine tourism, water conservation areas, adventure tourism establishments, national parks, nature tourism parks, grand forest parks and wildlife reserves will all be allowed to reopen gradually.

In addition, geoparks and non-conservation natural tourism areas such as botanical gardens, zoos, tourist villages and natural areas managed by communities will be allowed to reopen in stages.

“Natural tourism areas can be opened gradually with a visitor limit of 50 percent of normal capacity,” said Doni.

The task force said regional decisions regarding reopening had to follow a discussion with managers of tourism areas, doctors, epidemiologists, health experts, economists, local figures, conservationists, tourism industry players and regional council members.

The managers of reopened areas will have to prepare health and crisis management protocols and ensure the areas are monitored and evaluated.

The task force instructed reopened areas to follow Health Ministerial Decree No. HK.01.07/MENKES/382/2020 on health protocols in public spaces and facilities to prevent COVID-19.

The Environment and Forestry Ministry, which forms part of the national task force, said at least 29 conservation tourism areas were ready to reopen from now to mid-July.

The 29 tourism areas are located in the provinces of Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, East Kalimantan, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, South Sulawesi, South Sumatra and Bali.

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said the reopening required all regional stakeholders, tourism businesses and tourism communities to implement strong health protocols to build the trust of tourists.

“Tourism is a sector that is highly dependent on the confidence of domestic and international tourists in security, health and comfort,” Wishnutama said. “We must be able to build this trust, so our tourism can rise again.”

The national task force said that if COVID-19 transmission or violations of the provisions were discovered in reopened natural tourism areas, regency or city forces would consult with provincial and central teams to tighten restrictions or close the areas.

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