Need to review visa-free facility amid COVID-19: MPR

Need to review visa-free facility amid COVID-19: MPR

Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), Bambang Soesatyo. (ANTARA/Indriani)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), Bambang Soesatyo, has asked the government to review its visa exemption policy for tourists to prevent a massive spread of COVID-19 infections once the tourism sector reopens.

“The visa-free policy must be reviewed, especially for countries prone to COVID-19," Bambang Soesatyo said during a webinar held by STP Trisakti here on Tuesday.

Indonesia must strictly scrutinize foreign tourists and make sure they are free from the novel coronavirus, he added.

The Golkar Party politician said he believes the tourism sector will rise in the new normal. That's because people would need entertainment after the long stay at home, he explained.

"The tourism sector must be (given) a priority in revamping the economy, and become the country's foreign exchange target," he continued.

To improve the competence of human resources in the tourism sector, higher education in tourism must be developed, he stated.

Tourism concerns many aspects, ranging from education, culture, religion, to historical values, he noted.

"Hence, we need to prepare a new strategy in the tourism field. New standards need to be prepared. I am sure once the pandemic ends and we embrace the new normal, the first thing that will happen is a surge in flights and increased (demand for) hospitality accommodation," he remarked.

Director general of vocational education, Education and Culture Ministry, Wikan Sakarinto has sought cooperation from campuses and the tourism industry, particularly in the adherence of the health protocols in the new normal.

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