Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A deadly tsunami, triggered by Mount Anak Krakatau eruption in the Sunda Strait on Dec 22, 2018, has hit the tourism industry hard in Banten and Lampung Provinces, which are known for scenic beaches.

Beaches in the two provinces facing the Sunda Strait, which is located between Java and Sumatra Islands, were deserted following the volcanic tsunami that killed at least 437 people in five districts.

In Banten, over 90 percent of the hotel bookings were canceled prior to New Year`s Eve due to the deadly tsunami that occurred three days prior to Christmas.

Less than 10 percent, who retained their hotel bookings, were mainly journalists covering the post-tsunami event.

To discuss recovery program for tourism industry in those provinces, the Tourism Ministry is to organize a coordinating meeting on Strategy of Tourism Recovery in Post-Sunda Strait Tsunami to be held in Anyer, Pandeglang, Banten Province, on Jan 11, 2019.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya is expected to officially open the meeting to be attended by governors of Banten and Lampung.

The ministry has revealed that recovery program is expected to last from January 11 to April 12, 2019, to be followed by a normalization program from April 12 to December 31, 2019.

The recovery program will involve the Banten and Lampung authorities and stakeholders in the tourism industry.

The Tourism Ministry and stakeholders have prepared several plans of action to speed up the recovery of tourism.

Every deputy in the Tourism Ministry has prepared a plan of action for the recovery of the Sunda Strait tourism, Guntur Sakti, a spokesman of the ministry, noted in a statement, on Jan 10, 2019.

The plans of action will be coordinated by relevant institutions and tour and travel operators.

As part of the recovery program, the Tourism Ministry will organize 23 activities nationally and internationally. Of the 23 activities, 20 will be held in Indonesia and three in Malaysia.

The activities will focus on Branding, Advertising, and Selling.

For branding, the ministry will use hashtags #ExcitingBanten and #TheTreasureOfSumatra. For advertising, the ministry will advertise on all media platforms, informing that several parts of Banten and Lampung are not affected by the tsunami.

Moreover, the ministry will offer tourism packages at various tourism market events, farm trips, and road shows, Adela Raung, assistant to the ministry`s deputy in charge of marketing, stated.

The Secretary General of the Indonesian Association of Restaurants and Hotels lauded the recovery program to be launched by the tourism ministry.

Promotion of Anyer and Carita, Banten`s tourism icons that were not affected by the tsunami in Banten, will speed up the recovery program, he added.

Eneng Nurcahyati, head of the Banten tourism office, stated that it will usually take a year for the tourism industry to revive. However, the province will intensify the recovery program, with the hopes of the tourism industry recovering in six months.

Several tourist destinations in Banten, such as Baduy, Old Banten, and Sawarna Beach, were also not affected by the tsunami, she pointed out.

She called on stakeholders in the tourism industry to help promote tourism by organizing various events.

"In Bali, the recovery efforts took six months, but in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), its tourism recovered within three months only," she remarked.

Meanwhile, to ensure tourists onLampung?s safety, the Lampung provincial government will go ahead with holding the Krakatau Festival 2019 on Jany 22.

"Krakatau Festival is a routine tourism event of Lampung Province, and it has been included in the national tourism calendar of events," Budiharto, head of the Lampung tourism office, stated recently.

The festival`s agenda will include a visit to Mount Anak Krakatau. The visit, however, will be coordinated with the local meteorology and geophysics office and the local natural resources conservation office to ensure that it is safe to be held on that day. If the two offices advise against doing so, the visit will be cancelled.

Besides, Lampung has planned various other activities, including a beach clean-up on Pahawang Island on Jan 10, 2019.

Mount Anak Krakatau is currently still very active but relatively stable, compared to its eruption on Dec 22, 2018, which made the volcano lose its southern flank measuring 64 hectares. The collapse of the huge flank that slid into Sunda Strait waters was believed to be the cause of the tsunami.

The volcanic activities of Mount Anak Krakatau are currently at alert level 3, and the authorities have announced a danger zone in the radius of five kilometers from the mountain`s crater, wherein no one is allowed to approach or enter.

Anak Krakatau, which means child of Krakatau, is the offspring of the infamous Krakatau volcano that affected global climate with a massive eruption in 1883.

Mount Anak Krakatau first rose above sea level in 1929, according to Indonesia`s volcanology agency, and has been increasing its land mass since then.

At present, the volcanic ash from Anak Krakatau Mountain has no impact on airport closure so far, as the nearest airports, including Soekarno Hatta Airport and Lampung Radin Inten II Airport, are still operating normally.

Editing by Eliswan

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Eliswan Azly
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