National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia says it’s planning to open seven new international routes from Denpasar, following flight suspensions to a number of destinations due to the international coronavirus outbreak.
“Garuda Indonesia will be introducing new routes as a substitute to flights we have had to halt because of the coronavirus with the hopes that those [new] routes will allow us to manage and not be implicated by the coronavirus, especially routes to and from Denpasar,” Irfan Setiaputra, Garuda Indonesia’s new president director, said yesterday, as quoted by Kompas.
“Of course we’re not hoping to increase people’s desire to travel [at this time] and thus impacting the whole industry. For us, we see this as an opportunity to go back to the fundamentals to see traveling behavior,” Irfan said.
He explained how all flights to mainland China have been halted due to the coronavirus epidemic, which started in China’s Hubei Province. In addition, the airline also had to cut a number of flights to and from Singapore and Hong Kong, and will have to brace the impact from Saudi Arabia temporarily closing its borders to Umrah pilgrims.
The coronavirus outbreak has severely impacted tourist destinations around the world and the Indonesian government this week announced new incentives to boost the country’s tourism industry. This includes the allocation of IDR72billion (US$5.2 million) for influencers as part of an effort to attract foreign visitors to the archipelago.