Airline fares dropped to boost sales amid COVID-19 scare
Travelers, brace yourselves as you see the drastic drop in several airline ticket prices starting in March as the Indonesia government prepares incentives to encourage tourism to and within their country amidst the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak worldwide.
The Transportation Ministry issued a document containing information regarding the airfares. As stated, it will drop by 40% to 50% on specified routes to 10 destinations which are deemed the most affected by the recent outbreak. Malang, Yogyakarta, Manado, East Java, Bali, Mandalika, North Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, Labuan Bajo, Batam and Bintang of the Riau Islands. Bangka Belitung province and all other regencies around North Sumatra’s Lake Toba are included in the category under the 10 destinations.
According to Wishnutama Kusubandio, a Tourism and Creative Economy Minister, the Indonesian government is very concerned about this serious health matter. It will soon issue important policies that may help to save the tourism industry. This initiative also thinks of the locals who work in the given industry.
The airfare discounts make up a part of the $21 million in government incentives. This will be allotted to airline companies and travel agents that will be a tool to attract foreign tourists and travelers to Indonesia. The specified incentives are expected to run starting March until May this year.
The government hopes to help the sinking tourism industry since the majority of the visitors already canceled their vacation plans, hotel accommodation, airfares, and other plans in this country over fears of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak which sickened and killed thousands of people especially in Wuhan, China. A report from the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) was released stating that almost 40,000 and 20,000 rooms and visitors respectively canceled their Bali getaway due to novel coronavirus outbreak in early January.
The government’s incentive is expected to attract at least 736,000 tourists from foreign markets who are deemed to have a high average spending level on vacation. Some of the markets are highlighted which include Australia whose tourists are capable of spending an average of $1,800 upon arrival in Indonesia. Another notable market was the Middle East wherein tourists spent $2,200 on average.
The Minister, Wishnutama Kusubandio, also added that the expected increase in tourist arrivals would contribute around Rp13 trillion to the industry of Indonesia as a whole.
Authorities are then projected to allocate a separate Rp 443 billion in discounts for domestic tourists traveling to the given 10 tourist destinations being highlighted on the program.