"Last year's revenue reached some US$20 billion. Perhaps, this year it would drop by half or more depending on the developments in the COVID-19 pandemic," Wishnutama remarked during a virtual press conference after a meeting with President Joko Widodo here on Thursday.
The ministry made the temporary projection on condition that the tourism industry would begin recovering in June 2020.
The plunge in foreign exchange revenue in the sector is chiefly owing to a drop in foreign tourist visits to the country.
According to Kusubandio, the number of foreign tourists is expected to drop to only five million in 2020, as compared to 16 million in 2019.
"From last year's foreign tourists reaching 16 million, maybe this year we can only record five million tourists," he stated.
However, the sector is projected to recover gradually in June and expedite in 2021.
The current pressures on the tourism and creative economy owing to the pandemic have, in fact, driven operators to learn strategies to make the industry more sustainable in future.
"It is most important that we can contain this pandemic. I believe that after we go through this remarkable process, the tourism and creative economy sector will grow better than before," he affirmed.
At the opening of the limited meeting, President Widodo noted that pressures imparted by the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism and creative economy sectors will allay by the year-end, and a rebound is projected in 2021.
"Next year, we will witness a boom in the tourism sector. All people will go travelling. All people want to enjoy the beauty of tourist destinations. This optimism must be raised, and we should not become trapped in pessimism," Widodo emphasized.
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