Indonesia’s minister of finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati yesterday announced that the government has set aside a budget of 298.5 billion rupiah (US$21.5 million) to help stabilise Indonesia’s economy and pull tourism businesses through the economic slowdown.
Additionally, to spur domestic tourism, the government will grant 443 billion rupiah to airlines, in the form of a 30 per cent discount for 25 per cent of the total available seats per flight to 10 tourist destinations such as Yogyakarta, Manado, Bali, Mandalika, Labuan Bajo, Bangka Belitung, and Batam.
Total support directed at airlines, including aviation fuel discounts and reduced Aircraft Passenger Services fees, valued at an estimated 860 billion rupiah, will be funded by the Ministry of Transportation, Angkasa Pura Airport Authorities and AirNav.
Furthermore, the central government will provide grants of 3.3 trillion rupiah to 33 district and city governments in the ten tourist destinations in return for waiving hotel and restaurant taxes for the next six months, said Sri Mulyani.
Adjie Wahjono, operations manager of Aneka Kartika Tours, said the financial aids to reduce airfares will only benefit travellers and the airlines, and not the DMCs and travel companies which are just as affected by the outbreak.
Budijanto Ardijansyah, vice chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies, sought clarity on the technical distribution of the subsidies, such as if the benefits were the same for LCCs and full-service carriers, and the type of travel companies that can qualify for incentives.
Donny D, founder of Adonta Global Trip, would like the government to organise tourism exhibitions to promote the main destinations in Indonesia, such as Jakarta, Banten, West Java, and East Java, and provide subsidies to allow for cheaper entrance fees, free highway tickets for tour buses, and support schemes for tour guides.
“After the agent creates the package, the government provides subsidies to lower prices. Everyone is happy. Agents get a bigger profit margin, travellers can enjoy cheaper tour packages, and the airlines (get their planes filled),” he said.