In the third quarter, we cannot wait to walk because we are bored at home, so we will prepare a stimulus for tourism, restaurants, transportation (sectors)
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Head of Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF) of the Ministry of Finance, Febrio Nathan Kacaribu, said the government plans to roll out a stimulus for the tourism sector in the third quarter of 2020.

The stimulus would be announced if there is an economic movement, he added.

"In the third quarter, we cannot wait to walk because we are bored at home, so we will prepare a stimulus for tourism, restaurants, transportation (sectors),” he said during an online discussion on Wednesday in Jakarta.

Febrio said the previous stimulus package was issued to expand consumption among the upper middle class, and comprised discounted airplane tickets to tourist destinations and hotel or restaurant tax incentives.

"That was done to encourage consumption. Consumption in the first quarter of 2020 has been depressed," Febrio noted.

Febrio said a depressed tourism sector on account of the COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to the growth in consumption in the first quarter of 2020, pegged at just 2.8 percent, and expected to fall further in the second quarter of 2020.

"The toughest economy (was seen) in the second quarter, (when) among other things, tourism stopped, trade fell sharply, and manufacturing was disrupted, so we have to get ready. We hope that the consumption stimulus will start for the middle class, namely, (for) tourism, restaurants, and transportation,” he explained.

He further stated that the planned stimulus for tourism is expected to increase consumption among the layers of society in the middle class.

The government has allocated social assistance for the economically weaker classes of the society, he said.

“The government is considering how to expand consumption stimulus among the middle class, “ he added.

The government's planned stimulus for tourism is also part of an effort to reduce the pressure on Indonesia's economic growth, Febrio continued.

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“We hope Indonesia's economic growth is not depressed deeper than 2.97 percent in the first quarter of 2020,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to data provided by the Central Java Statistics Office (BPS), the number of foreign tourists visiting Central Java Province in March, 2020 fell by 46.37 percent compared to the previous month.

Just 945 foreign tourists visited Central Java in the month of March this year compared to 1,762 the previous month, Central Java BPS head Sentot Bangun Widoyono remarked earlier.

The data was recorded on the basis of foreign tourist arrivals through the province's main airports: the Ahmad Yani Airport in Semarang and the Adi Soemarmo Airport in Solo.

"This is the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. A travel ban has been in place since February this year, thereby limiting mobility," he remarked.

Widoyono said most of the foreign tourists were Malaysian citizens.

"The number of visitors from China has declined sharply," he informed.

The decline in visitors impacted the tourism sector, in general, as the occupancy rates at star-rated hotels also dropped in Central Java.

Widoyono said the average hotel occupancy rate in Central Java in March this year plummeted to 28.63 percent from 46.36 percent the previous month. (INE)


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Reporter: Astrid Faidlatul, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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