In a statement received in Jakarta on Tuesday, Kusubandio noted that several tourism sector players awaited the issuance of health protocol policies in the tourism sector and the creative economy since in the past three months, they were compelled to halt activities owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"At the moment, we are planning to open natural-based tourism venues and activities that have a low risk of transmission," he stated.
Kusubandio reminded that under the plan to open nature-based tourism venues and activities, strict health protocols should be followed.
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The health protocol for the tourism sector and creative economy prepared and proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy was ratified through Minister of Health Decree Number HK.01.07/Menkes/382/2020 on Health Protocol for Communities in Public Places and Facilities in the Framework of Prevention and Control of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The health protocol is expected to serve as a reference for all parties in planning the opening of tourism activities and venues, including those related to nature-based tourism.
"Ensure that the reopening of tourism destinations does not lead to a spike in the number of new cases of COVID-19. This is since amending the protocol can take a day or two, but restoring the trust takes a long time. If we are not careful and disciplined in implementing it, the economic impact on the tourism sector can be even worse," he stated.
The nature tourism areas planned to be opened gradually comprise marine tourism areas, water conservation areas, adventure tourism areas, national parks, nature tourism parks, grand forest parks, wildlife reserves, and geoparks.
In addition, non-conservation nature tourism areas include botanical gardens, zoos, safari parks, tourist villages, and nature tourism areas managed by the community.
Chairman of the COVID-19 Task Force for Accelerated Handling Doni Monardo stated that the natural tourism areas can be re-opened in stages, with visitors permitted to not cross 50 percent of the current normal capacity.
"Natural tourism areas permitted to be opened are those located in the green zone and/or yellow zone districts. For other zones, it will be regulated in accordance with the regional preparedness and area-wise management. Decision on opening natural tourism areas in 270 districts and cities in the green and yellow zones were left to the head districts and mayors," Monardo stated.
Monardo remarked that the decision-making had to go through the process of deliberation with the Regional Leaders Communication Forum that involved the manager of the natural tourism area, the Indonesian Doctors Association in the area, epidemiologists, public health experts, community economists, religious leaders, cultural figures, community leaders, press figures, activists conservation, the business world especially the tourism industry, and the regional House of Representatives (DPRD).
"One must go ahead with this decision after undergoing the precondition stages of education, awareness raising, and simulation in accordance with the conditions of the natural tourism area and characteristics of the people in their respective regions," he expounded.
If a COVID-19 case or a violation of the provisions in the nature tourism area is found, the district and city task force team will again tighten or close the tourism destinations after consultation with the provincial officials and central task force.
Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar noted that on the basis of the on-field work of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry along with local governments through the ministry's technical implementation unit, 29 national parks and natural tourism parks were recorded to be able to open in phases currently until mid-July of 2020.
"We will open some national parks including Mount Gede Pangrango, Bromo Tengger Semeru, and Rinjani," Bakar stated.
Several other locations to thereafter also be opened in stages comprise DKI Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, East Kalimantan, NTB, NTT, South Sulawesi, South Sumatra, and Bali.
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