This travel agent has a clear market segmentation, namely Chinese tourists. This new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has severely affected its business
Bintan, Riau Islands (ANTARA) - China's new coronavirus outbreak that the WHO has declared a global pandemic, has crippled the business of Star Jet, a travel agent on Bintan Island, Riau Islands Province. As a result, it has filed a request for laying off 187 employees to the local industrial relations court.

"This travel agent has a clear market segmentation, namely Chinese tourists. This new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has severely affected its business," Head of the Bintan District Workforce Office Indra Jaya told journalists here on Thursday.

The Star Jet greatly relies on the inflow of Chinese travelers but the COVID-19 has crippled its business severely. Therefore, the company had filed a request for the dismissal of 150 workers at the end of February and 37 others on March 10, 2020, he said.

Due to the virus spread that has forced WHO to declare it a global pandemic, the inflow of foreign holidaymakers, particularly those from mainland China, has significantly declined. The Chinese Government has even prevented its citizens from traveling abroad.

The district's workforce office has attempted to approach the Star Jet management in order that it did not lay off its employees. However, his office could not force the company to maintain its workers amid its poor financial condition since the wide spread of COVID-19, he said.
Apart from this unfortunate condition for the workers, Indra Jaya said his office would keep monitoring the dismissal to ensure that the company meets all rights of the employees as mandated by labour law and regulations.

"We have socialized the workers' rights to companies in Bintan Island to prevent the conflicts between employees and employers," he added.

The impact of COVID-19 on tourism sector has actually been aware since the early stage of this deadly virus outbreak.
In January, Head of the Indonesia Tour and Travel Agency Association (ASITA) - Yogyakarta Chapter Udhi Sudiyanto, for instance, had unveiled his concerns with the slowing demand for tour packages as several countries had reported cases of infection.

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Despite the absence of significant cancels, the demands for tour packages in January and next months might get decreased compared to those in the previous months, he said in Yogyakarta on January 29.

This situation indicated that many foreign tourists still wait and see the development of this COVID-19 outbreak. Travel agencies become one of the tourism industry players that get impacted.

He argued that travelers need safety, security, and comfortability. Therefore, the government and other related stakeholders of the tourism industry are expected to do everything necessary to ensure that both domestic and foreign tourists coming to Yogyakarta feel safe and comfortable.

Translator: Ogen, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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