JAKARTA, 1 December 2020: A plan that could lead to some airports losing international flights in Indonesia came under attack from Indonesian Travel Agents Association on Monday.
Antaranews first reported the proposal to review airport gateway status quoting the trade association that warned it could cause a 30 to 40% drop in tourism in the post-Covid-19 era for the destinations impacted.
Antaranews quotes the association chairman, Elly Hutabarat, saying the “rearrangement of international airports would have a huge impact on regions that have opened (to tourism) such as Lombok and Bandung,” he said in a written statement to the media.
Right now the country is battling Covid-19 with its borders firmly closed to tourism, but once the situation eases destinations that were benefiting from the opening of secondary international airport gateways would count on them remaining open for international flights.
In the media statement, the association president noted that “if direct flight access from overseas to Bandung via Husein Sastranegara International Airport was closed, tourists would have to disembark at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and continue their transfer to Bandung by car or train.”
Lombok, Belitung and Bandung a rely heavily on airports to deliver foreign tourists and business travellers.
In related comments, the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association chairman Haryadi Sukamdani said that the Covid-19 pandemic partly caused the review of international airports. It could see some international airports revert to their previous role serving just domestic travel exclusively as a preventative health safety measure.
He argued that once life returned to normal, the status of the airports would be restored, but at present, only domestic travel is allowed.
However, he noted that the Indonesia National Single Window (INSW) policy means the major gateways to enter Indonesia would remain Bali, Jakarta and Medan.