Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Covid-19 pandemic has left many stories of the workers' ups and downs in various industries, including tourism which has been seriously affected. Lake Toba of North Sumatra, one of the super-priority destinations, was one of them. It ranges from the plummeting number of tourist visits to the many workers laid off. Data from the Samosir Regency Tourism Office shows that during the first year of the pandemic, foreign tourist visits dropped drastically from 50,000s in 2019 to only 2,000s in 2020.

Among many tourism sector workers who have to face efficiency, Candra (31 years old) is the lucky one. The man who comes from Pematang Siantar, which is 2 hours drive from the hotel where he works, works as a front office at a hotel on Samosir Island. He is grateful that he didn't experience the layoff at the beginning of the pandemic, even to this day when a new normal era has been applied. When tourist visits dropped, and the hotel where he worked was deserted, he took advantage of this time to upgrade his skill, especially in English, which more specifically supported his work in the hospitality field.

Tomy Yunus - CEO & Co-founder of Cakap

Candra - Hotel worker & Student of Cakap English course

"Previously, I felt that (my English skills) were still lacking, and I really needed it (to take courses). Then I learned English specifically for hotel workers, for example, how to deal with guests who complain," stated him. Candra, who has an educational background in accounting, explained that so far, foreign tourists who come to the Lake Toba area are dominated by Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore. But he believes that international tourists will soon visit this caldera lake. "Since covid-19 cases have decreased and Samosir is one of the priority destinations, I am confident that it is likely to be a popular destination like it used to be in the 90s. European tourists will return to visit," concluded Candra.

Candra attended an upskilling class provided by EdTech Cakap in collaboration with the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) North Sumatra. The teaching materials provided are also specifically for tourism sector workers, such as basic vocabulary in housekeeping, to conversations with hotel guests for workers in the front office that are very relevant to their daily profession. Since rolling out in April 2022, at least 100 students have received the benefit and continue to grow. These students are mostly workers in the tourism sector.

As the pandemic has decreased, in the first three months of 2022, there was an increase in the number of tourists by up to 30% compared to the same period in 2021 (YoY) (data from the Tourism Office of Samosir Regency). "We believe this post-pandemic era will be followed by increased tourist visits, including Lake Toba. This, of course, must be accompanied by an improvement in the foreign language skills of these industry players," said Tomy Yunus, CEO & Co-Founder Cakap. This platform, which provides online foreign language courses, sees the importance of upskilling the quality of human resources in North Sumatra, especially since the government has declared Lake Toba as one of the Super Priority Destinations.

Besides self-development or upskilling programs, North Sumatra EdTech Cakap collaborates with educational institutions, one of which is The Institute Technology of Del, located in Toba Regency. Cooperation includes seminars, public lectures, workshops or training, internship programs to campus recruitment. North Sumatra is one of the provinces where the platform for the social responsibility project under the "Cakap Untuk Bangsa" program is rolling out. "During the pandemic, there was an increase in students from North Sumatra who studied on this platform. With this positive trend, Cakap wants to provide bigger opportunities to lift the true potential of Indonesian human resources across the country," concluded Tomy.

Reporter: PR Wire
Editor: PR Wire
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