Malang, East Java (ANTARA) - Eid al-Fitr 1444 Hijriah celebration on April 22, 2023, feels different than two to three years ago, with community activity restrictions (PPKM) to tackle COVID-19, applied earlier that limited visits to hometowns during Eid, lifted.

In 2023, the Indonesian government succeeded in dealing with the spread of the virus that first emerged in Wuhan, China, by boosting COVID-19 vaccination, among others. The government's efforts have succeeded in reducing the rate of COVID-19 spread in Indonesia.

As a result of the government’s work in handling the disease, this year’s homecoming activities were more relaxed, and people got an opportunity to travel back home.

The government predicted that some 123.8 million people returned to their hometowns during this year's Eid homecoming period.

The people’s movement during Eid homecoming cannot be seen as just an annual ritual. The enthusiasm of the people to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in their hometown must also be recognized to bring a positive impact on the domestic economy.

Homecoming is not just the mobility of people from big cities to rural areas. Moreover, it can increase money circulation in each destination area.

Millions of Indonesians, who return home, will not just stay at home and gather with their families. However, there will be an increase in consumption, both from small things, such as culinary purchases to shopping for Eid needs in their respective region.

In Malang City, East Java, the people’s frenetic economic activity ahead of the Eid celebration has been felt approximately two weeks before Eid.

Shopping centers in Malang City were bustling with shopping activities. Shoppers seem to be back with a vengeance as is apparent from consumption or spending of public money to welcome the 2023 Eid after activities in the previous year were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vehicles had to queue up to enter shopping centers. In addition, two-wheeled vehicles parked on the sides of roads affected traffic flow due to the residents’ enthusiasm to shop ahead of Eid.

One of the shopping centers in Malang City recorded a very significant increase in consumer visits. One of the shopping centers located on Veteran Street recorded that community activities had increased as compared to the previous year.

In fact, the increase in visits also exceeded the period before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In 2023, the people’s enthusiasm to shop increased significantly, and it is estimated that the number of visitors will reach 110 percent as compared to that in 2019. The number of visits per day reached 35 thousand people on weekends, with an average of 25 thousand people per day.

The increase in community activities ahead of the 2023 Eid did not stop on D-Day. After gathering with families, people then proceed to go to several tourist destinations.

Related news: Eid Holiday boosts spending, consumption indicating economic recovery

Eid trips
Gathering with family is indeed the moment awaited by travelers, who return to their hometowns. The occasion of meeting the family was not only limited to a gathering at home but also going to tourist destinations in their respective areas.

Tourism activities are also a complement to the Eid holiday in Indonesia. Roads around tourist destinations have reportedly experienced an increase in flow of vehicles over the past few days.

In fact, in Batu City, one of the most popular tourist destinations in East Java, the police have also prepared traffic engineering by implementing a one-way traffic flow to assist tourist activities in the area since the volume of vehicles heading to Batu City has increased.

The Batu City Government earlier projected that tourist visits to the area during the Eid holiday this year would reach 500-600 thousand.

One of the managers of tourist destinations in Batu City, Jatim Park Group, noted that until April 24, 2023, the number of tourist visits reached 30 thousand people, with an average of 15 thousand visits per day, higher than normal conditions that range from 10 thousand people per day.

Jatim Park Group is one of the major tourist destinations in Batu City. Jatim Park Group manages eight tourist sites with 14 tourist parks and has become a reference for tourism activities in the region.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) in Batu City recorded that during the 2023 Eid holiday, the hotel occupancy rate reached 80 percent, an increase as compared to normal conditions that ranged from 20-30 percent on weekdays and 70 percent on weekends.

Chairman of Batu City PHRI, Sujud Hariadi, stated that one of the policies that caused a spike in hotel occupancy was the government’s policy by stipulating joint leave for Eid on April 19-25, 2023.

Hariadi remarked that on April 21-24, most guests staying at hotels in Batu City came from Jakarta, Bandung, Bogor, Sumatra, and other areas in East Java.

"This time, the Eid joint leave is longer and had an effect on hotel occupancy. The guests for the period of April 21-24, 2023, mostly came from Jakarta, Bandung, Bogor, and Sumatra,” he remarked.

The high tourism activity is certainly in line with the increase in public consumption, especially from tourists. This high level of consumption could help to increase regional economic income.

Related news: Expect Eid exodus to economically benefit regions: ministry

Maintain consumption
The surge in public consumption during the Eid holiday can help to increase the Indonesian economy that is estimated to lie in the range of 4.5-5.3 percent.

However, a major homework also awaits. Increased consumption in a relatively short span of time to meet the people's needs during Eid, should, in fact, also be maintained.

An economist from Brawijaya University, Nugroho Suryo Bintoro, emphasized the need for the government to pay attention to the continuation of the positive trend of increased consumption after Eid.

One aspect that should be considered is the supply of important staple goods and the needs of the community that must be maintained after Eid. Important staple goods must be available to avoid price fluctuations that suppress consumption and reduce the purchasing power.

“We must consider the people’s purchasing power. After Eid, they may be afraid to spend their money. However, the availability of staple goods must be maintained,” he emphasized.

In Indonesia, one of the factors that drives economic growth is the high level of public consumption. Thus, the continuity of consumption is important and needs to be maintained by the government.

It is hoped that the increase in public consumption in order to boost economic growth will not occur only in the April 2023 period or only during Ramadan to Eid celebration.

“It is expected that consumption will not only grow in April but also in the following months to achieve the target of our economic growth this year,” he noted.

Maintaining an increase in public consumption is not an easy job, especially after the Eid al-Fitr holiday, since people only tended to increase their consumption when spending time with family.

Members of the community should also be able to manage their finances to avoid disruption in their purchasing power due to excessive spending during the 2023 Eid holiday.

Related news: VP urges travellers to maintain health protocols during Eid exodus

Translator: Vicki Febrianto, Resinta S
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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