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The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated various sectors.

The results of an analysis from DCode, the world economic and financial consulting agency based in Cairo, Egypt, the tourism sector could be the most affected by the outbreak of Covid-19, which oblige many people to stay at home, not going anywhere. For those who work in this sector, ranging from guides, food stalls, souvenir sellers, online taxis, those who are involved in hospitality, airlines, airports, and others are severely affected. One reason is that there are very few or almost no people traveling, especially remote destinations.

Right. At this time, there may not be anyone who ‘dares’ to plan a walk in these difficult conditions. When will this virus go? When did it start safe to leave the house and meet lots of people? When can we safely travel again? Even if it’s safe, which ones are safe, which aren’t? Then, traveling using what is safe? Plane, train or car? Various questions linger in our minds, without any answers. No one can provide certainty and answers to these questions.

Many things must be revived, and we must move on. There are many things that must be done by companies, hotels, travel agencies, airlines, car rentals, and governments around the world to re-create the tourism sector into a dynamic sector and be able to support many people.

At the very least, the world of tourism will begin to revive again depending on several things;

  • The lockdown / quarantine rule is revoked, and of course there has been an official announcement from the government (Ministry of Health) that Covid-19 has been successfully overcome. Whether it’s because the vaccine has been found, or because of other reasons. At present, Indonesia is still in a period of national disaster, and we are still advised to stay at home, as well as conduct social / physical distancing.
  • WHO has given the green light to return to traveling. Now, WHO has clearly stated ‘stay home. There are no signs that in the near future WHO will change its policy.
  • Other countries have also revoked travel warnings, travel restriction, and so on. This could be one of Indonesia’s benchmarks for doing the same thing. Now, no country has done it.
  • Schools, campuses and businesses are back to normal. When students and students have returned to study at their school / campus, and restaurants no longer apply the social / physical distancing rules, this can also be one of the benchmarks that traveling can be done again.

The safest is to wait for the four points above to occur in parallel. In addition, we need to be careful of some of the things below that are not a sign of a safe time to travel again, which are this following;

  • Tourist attractions are reopened. Of course, this is not a sign that the virus has left, but it could be due to severe economic reasons because there is no income from visitors.
  • There are no newer covid-19 cases. Again, even this is not a sign that the virus has left. To find out if there are new positive cases or not, testing must continue. And all countries have limitations to do it.
  • When politicians say ‘Covid-19 is gone’. For this, let the health experts, the ministry of health, WHO, and those who have the competence to ensure it.

But indeed, we need to realize that the world of tourism will be the longest and last sector to return to normal after this pandemic is over. Let’s look realistically. Even though many travel restrictions will be lifted, we might not be able to go out of the house and travel soon and feel completely safe. Many of us will still be concerned and considerate. It could be that some countries will still ‘shut down’ for some time even though the pandemic has been declared over.

This will reduce the number of countries in transit, the number of destination countries, and the number of tourists. In addition, millions of people were affected financially during the pandemic season. Revenues are reduced, savings are reduced. When Covid-19 is gone, the first priority in using the ‘remaining’ funds is certainly not traveling, but to our own recovery. But although we have to face the reality, we must not stop to be optimist, right?

Like many countries, Indonesia is currently focused on preparing a new normal to prepare for welcoming tourists back. The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia are still undergoing some plans to reopen tourism. Certainly, Bali is one of the important areas to be recovered. Bali’s tourism sector planned to be opened in two stages, that is in August 2020 for domestic tourists and September 2020 for foreign tourists.

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Wishnutama Kusubandio, said that if the phase one of the new normal implementation in Bali which is the opening of various sectors, except education and tourism could run smoothly, then the Island of the Gods could enter the second stage; the opening of tourism sector.

According to him, overall, the spread of Covid-19 in the Island of the Gods was relatively far lower than other places. However, tourism industry is a business of trust that must create a sense of security and comfort when visiting. So, he emphasizes that what we need to build is a public trust, both national and international tourists, regarding the implementation of health protocols in Bali.

Bali’s Governor, I Wayan Koster also said that he had made preparations regarding the protocol for the implementation of the new normal. But for the opening of tourism industry, we must be very careful in order to prevent the second wave of pandemic, which is very risky and very heavy to face. Therefore, no need to rush, because we are all trying.

Meanwhile, The Nusa Dua area is preparing a pilot program on the implementation of Cleanliness, Health, and Safety (CHS) for new normal tourist destinations. The Nusa Dua area was chosen because it is strategic, exclusive and have centralized system, so the supervision could run smoothly. Nusa Dua is also equipped with supporting facilities ranging from accommodation, amenities, and even hospitals on an international scale.

The steps for the opening of tourism divides into two stages;

First is Gaining Confidence and second is Appealing. Gaining Confidence starts from the preparation of the CHS protocol which will later be packaged through video tutorials and easy-to-understand guidebooks for tourism stakeholders such as hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, tourist destinations, and others. Then proceed with the training, simulations, publications, and campaigns as well as the application of CHS application.

While in the Appealing stage, The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy will run a number of programs such as Mega Daytrip involving key opinion leaders (KOL), the media and travel agents (TA) and tour operators (TO). Then also make a joint promotion by making tour packages with airlines and TA / TO and preparing MICE activities on a small scale.

Nevertheless, they emphasize that the opening of tourism destination still depends on the decision of the Covid-19 Task Force and the local government. Because each destination has different situations and conditions. But let’s hope for the best, to regain “normal” very soon.