According to Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, the tourism sector has experienced a difficult period during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order for the tourism sector to survive and continue to contribute to the national economy, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has launched a program for developing five super priority tourist destinations, he said.
This is part of the '10 New Bali' program launched by the government. The destinations selected for the program are later expected to foster a creative economy which can greatly benefit local residents, the minister said.
The super priority tourist destinations are Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara; Mandalika, West Nusa Tenggara; Lake Toba, North Sumatra; Likupang, North Sulawesi; and Borobudur, Central Java.
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The government is aiming to complete the five tourist destinations by the end of 2021 after pushing back the initial deadline, which was the end of 2020, the minister said.
The tourism destinations are targeted to attract domestic tourists with their own uniqueness, Uno said. Data has pegged domestic tourist spending on travel abroad at Rp150 trillion, he noted.
Through the presence of five new super priority destinations in strategic national tourism areas, the government hopes to take the opportunity to reallocate some of the domestic tourism spending to be used for traveling abroad.
The tourism format presented by tourism actors and the creative economy has also been changed by implementing the concepts of personalized, customized, localized, and smaller size travel packages, Uno said.
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Personalized tours mean tours that are private or limited to families, while customized tours involve tourism actors preparing itineraries that meet the needs of tourists, such as green open spaces, beaches, or even preparing local cultural experiences through tourism villages, he explained.
Localized tours refer to tours prepared for the domestic community that can be presented without venturing far from home, while small size tours are organized for tourist attractions that do not accommodate many people so visitors can explore more things at the tourism destination, he added.
“These local tourism stakeholders are focusing on providing health and safety-based tourism for tourists. I am sure the number of domestic tourists will return and with the increase in CHSE (Clean, Health, Safety, and Environment) certification. We will push so that 34 million creative economy actors can not just survive, but seize the opportunity to bounce back amid this pandemic," Uno said.
One of the five super priority tourist destinations, Likupang, was initiated as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). With an area of 197.4 hectares, the SEZ was built in East Likupang sub-district, North Minahasa.
A two-hour drive from Manado, Likupang has several beaches with white sands and picturesque scenery, namely Pulisan Beach and Hill and Paal Beach, Uno said. This area is also close to Lihaga Island and Gangga Island, which are known for their snorkeling and diving spots; not to mention Likupang Beach, which is home to a rare species of green turtle; it is also a habitat for Maleo and Black Macaques, the minister added.
Not only is it an attractive option for sports and marine tourism, tourists can enjoy special local dishes, such as rica-rica chicken, woku fish, various types of processed fish, and tinutuan porridge, which contains vegetables such as spinach, kale, basil, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and corn, Uno noted.
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There is also goroho banana, similar to banana chips, served with chili sauce, which is best consumed with a cup of coffee or tea, he added. Tourists can also enjoy a snack called panada, made of fried bread stuffed with shredded tuna, he continued.
Proud to Travel Indonesia
Through the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, the government has continued to accelerate the recovery of the tourism sector and the creative economy. To that end, the government has been promoting the 'Proud Traveling Program in Indonesia' (Bangga Berwisata Indonesia/BWI).
Coordinating Minister Luhut B Pandjaitan said the main problem in the tourism sector has been the decline in the number of domestic trips and the reduced value of spending per trip by domestic tourists. Therefore, the program is expected to build a sense of pride and ownership in traveling in the country. This is aimed at encouraging longer stays and higher travel expenditure, he added.
“It is estimated that domestic tourism will recover one-two years faster than overseas tourism. International tourism will recover at the end of 2022 or early 2023. Therefore, the development of five super priority tourism destinations must be accelerated so that when tourism recovers, tourists can enjoy qualified destinations," Pandjaitan said.
The government is also promoting the tagline #DiIndonesiaAja (Stay In Indonesia), hoping it will resonate with the public. Tourism has declined 70 percent and trust in travel is low, therefore, tourism recovery must focus on domestic tourists, especially millennials, he added.
"According to the President's direction, we will focus on tourism recovery to be carried out in five DPSPs as well as a trial run. Creative economy products will also be launched as well as efforts made to continue to innovate, adapt, and collaborate with the Proud Traveling concept in Indonesia," Minister Uno said.
The campaign is synergized with the 'Proudly Made in Indonesia National Movement' (Bangga Buatan Nasional/Gernas BBI), which was first inaugurated by President Joko Widodo in May 2020.
The campaign aimed to encourage the public to buy products made by local MSMEs to support the sustainability of their business during the COVID-19 pandemic, Uno said.
The movement continued in 2021 and was officially launched through a ceremony at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali on January 11, 2021. Later, it was expanded to Sulawesi with the theme #PelangiSulawesi, which was officially launched on August 26, 2021, he informed.
Themed "From Sulawesi to Abroad", the movement aims to promote tourism potential and MSMEs in Likupang, North Minahasa, North Sulawesi, the minister said. The government has built a culinary and souvenir hawker center in Likupang to help MSMEs market their superior products in the tourism area in an effort to support the economy of the Likupang community, he added.
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To support the BWI Program, the government is continuing to encourage digital payments, even for small things, such as for the use of toilet facilities. Digital payments using the QR Code, namely the Indonesian Standard Quick Response Code (QRIS), are being carried out to encourage transparency and reduce cash-based risks.
QRIS was developed by the payment system industry and Bank Indonesia to make the transaction process with QR Codes easier, faster, and secure. Through #PelangiSulawesi, Bank Indonesia hopes to increase the use of QRIS so that the digitalization target in North Sulawesi can soon be realized.
Through QRIS, all payment applications from any provider, both bank and non-bank, that are used by the public can be used in all shops, merchants, stalls, parking lots, tourist tickets, donations (merchants) bearing the QRIS logo.
"Let's not forget to use QRIS, which until July 31 (2021), has reached 459,346 merchants throughout Sulawesi, an increase of 114 percent (yoy)," Governor of Bank Indonesia, Perry Warjiyo, stated.
He explained that the increased use of QRIS cannot be separated from the synergy and collaboration that is increasingly being strengthened between BI, tourism players, banking, especially BNI as a top brand, the government, and the Sulawesi's National Craft Council.
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BNI took part in #PelangiSulawesi by curating and providing assistance to 111 MSMEs that have products with global competitiveness, including cloth craft products, processed foods, and coffee, he said. Most MSMEs that passed the curation have been registered by BNI in various marketplaces such as Blibli, Bukalapak, and Shopee, he added.
BNI deputy president director Adi Sulistyowati said that Gernas BBI 2021 is in line with BNI's focus on supporting the MSME sector through a series of activities, which include the Entrepreneur Heroes Program, the Business Idea Festival, the MSME Digital Market, the BNI Trade Forum, and Xpora, which seek to help Indonesian MSMEs become more advanced and developed in terms of globalization and digitization.
"Through the Xpora program, BNI offers an integrated digital solution that will help MSMEs to carry out export transactions in the global market with three main features, namely go productive, go digital, and go global," Sulistyowati explained.
BNI has also held a number of webinars entitled 'UMKM Go Export', 'MSME Partnership with Marketplace', 'Tips for Selling Online', and 'Education of Cashless Transactions with QRIS', he said.
To enliven #PelangiSulawesi, BNI is also providing promotional offers to credit and debit card users. The promos range from 85 percent discounts to zero percent installments in different marketplaces.
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