The Villas at Novotel Lombok. Source: Agoda

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has massively disrupted economies worldwide, particularly the tourism and hospitality sectors — and Indonesia, popular for its pristine beaches and cultural diversity, is not exempt from taking the hit.
Wishnutama Kusubandio, the country’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, told a working meeting with lawmakers held via teleconferencing on Tue (7 Apr) that 1,500 hotels across Indonesia will temporarily cease operations as the number of bookings continue to decline sharply.
The minister added that hotel occupancy in Bali — Indonesia’s most famous tourist destination — continues to decline.
According to the Bali Tourism Office, the numbers of foreign tourists visiting the island have plummeted 95 per cent due to the global pandemic that has killed around 1.3 million people globally to date.
Employers in the hoteling sector fear that they will not be able to pay their employees’ Eid allowance for Muslims observing Eid, expected to fall on 25 May this year.
Rainier H. Daulay of the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) said on Sat (4 Apr) that thousands of employees will not be receiving any income due to the closure of the said hotels.
PHRI and other related organisations have discussed the matter with and provided input to the government to save the industry and its employees.
Some employees may even lose their jobs as a result of the temporary closure.
In Lombok, an island located in West Nusa Tenggara, more than 300 hotel employees from 17 hotels will possibly be retrenched, local media reported last Sat (4 Apr).
The tourism industry contributes between 45 per cent and 60 per cent to West Lombok Regency’s regional income.
Indonesia’s aviation sector, much like its counterparts in the region and around the world, has also suffered a huge blow as a result of COVID-19.
Many countries have imposed travel bans since the COVID-19 outbreak began, leading to a decline in the numbers of foreign tourists.
Indonesia’s state air carrier PT Garuda Indonesia has also stopped flights from and to China since February 5.
To mitigate the issues potentially faced by employees affected by the closure, Wishnutama last month said that his ministry is currently working with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) to form partnerships with hotel chains to provide accommodation for frontline medical workers dealing with COVID-19 patients across the archipelago.
Affected tourism employees and creative economy workers will receive a Kartu Pra-kerja or a pre-employment card, aimed at providing financial aid for training.
TOC visited the Kartu Pra-kerja website on Tue night (7 Apr). However, we were unable to find the registration column. It is unknown as to how many workers in both sectors will receive the card.

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