The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry is preparing a program it calls “Book Now, Travel Later” to support the recovery of tourism and creative industries in the country.

“We have prepared the ‘Book Now, Travel Later’ program as a recovery plan for Indonesia’s tourism stakeholders,” said Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio in a statement on Monday, reported.

Wishnutama hoped that tourism stakeholders would get financial assistance from the program.

Wishnutama acknowledged that there would be an increase in mobility during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

He encouraged travelers to include health protocols in their holiday plans.

He also reminded Indonesia’s tourist establishments to enforce cleanliness, health, safety and environment (CHSE) measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“For tourism stakeholders, implement CHSE protocols to curb the transmission of COVID-19. Those who plan to travel, do it responsibly. Get independent COVID-19 tests, either COVID-19 antigen or polymerase chain reaction [PCR] tests, to protect yourself and others,” he said.

To ensure the safety of travelers, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry introduced InDOnesia CARE in August, an initiative for Indonesian tourism establishments to enforce CHSE protocols.

The uppercase letters read “I DO CARE” in an effort to emphasize that such protocols should be taken seriously.

The CHSE certification was created to provide a sense of security and comfort for travelers when they visited tourist destinations in accordance with recommendations from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Health Ministry.

Bali, one of the destinations hit hardest by the pandemic, was among the first Indonesian destinations to reopen while implementing CHSE protocols. Before Bali, Banyuwangi reopened certain CHSE-ready tourist attractions. Following Bali, Batam and Bintan in the Riau Islands and Yogyakarta were next in reopening and implementing CHSE protocols.

“Travel businesses, hotel management and restaurant owners can quickly improve their preparations in cleanliness, health and safety protocol implementation in accordance with the government’s COVID-19 health protocols,” said Wishnutama in October.

In Jakarta, Taman Impian Jaya Ancol (Ancol Dreamland Park) has received CHSE certifications in four categories, namely for its tourist attractions and souvenir shops, its diving attractions, its restaurants and for holding conferences.

“This certification motivates us to provide the best services in accordance with the health protocols,” said PT Taman Impian Jaya Ancol vice director Thomas Riandy Jo on Friday.

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio vowed on Oct. 13 to distribute Rp 3.3 trillion (US$ 224 million) to tourism-related businesses and local administrations as it aimed to help cushion the impacts of the pandemic on the sector and improve health protocols at tourist destinations.

The tourism grant is to be sourced from the government’s Rp 695.2 trillion COVID-19 national economic recovery fund, which aims to finance the healthcare system and bolster the economy. (jes)

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