Jakarta (ANTARA) - The number of of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia dropped sharply in March this year on account of several policies that were implemented to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS).

"In March, 2020, the number of foreign tourists dropped dramatically. And now, the number is only 470,900. If we trace historical data, the number of foreign tourists is almost the same as in 2007," BPS head Suhariyanto said during a virtual press conference in Jakarta on Monday.

Compared with February, 2020, there was a 45.5-percent drop in foreign tourists arrivals in March, 2020. Compared to the year-ago period, there was a 64.11-percent decline in the number of tourists visiting the country, according to Suhariyanto .

There was a decline in foreign tourist arrivals at almost all the main airports, including at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport (down 64.72 percent), at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport (down 75 percent), and Kualanamu Airport Medan (down 64.11 percent), Suhariyanto informed.

“And, if we look at the number of foreign tourists (arriving) by sea, (it) also decreased. In Batam, (tourist arrivals) fell by 75 percent, in Tanjung Uban, (they) fell by 92 percent. Likewise for those who came by land, like in Atambua and Entikong," Suhariyanto noted.

Based on nationality, the sharpest decline was seen in the number of tourists arriving from China, which fell 97.46 percent, followed by Hong Kong (down 96 percent), and Kuwait (down 89 percent), according to the BPS.

Foreign tourist arrivals declined sharply "almost all over the country. And this can be realized because there have been Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB), lockdowns in several countries, and flight stoppages”, Suhariyanto explained.

Thus, cumulatively, the total number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia in January-March, 2020 reached 2.6 million. While in January, 2020, the tourism situation was still normal, it began to decline in February, 2020 through March, 2020.

Compared to January-March 2019, the number of tourist arrivals registered a decrease of 30.62 percent in the first quarter of this year. (INE)

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Translator: Sella P, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Suharto
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