Reopening the Tourism Sector: Academics discuss at the international seminar hosted by Atma Jaya

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An online seminar held by the Atma Jaya University’s Tourism Program discussed disasters in the field of tourism and actions that need to be taken to recover. The discussion suggested the government and businesses should not rush to re-open the tourism sector.

At the seminar, the academicians from Atma Jaya Tourism Program recalled the Government’s decisions of the possible risks in implementing health protocol in tourist attractions sites.

“While re-opening the public access and allowing tourist attractions to operate based on the new normal, we should reconsider the worst consequence if the health protocols fail to be implemented. It will only lead to an increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Indonesia,” said lecturer of the Atma Jaya Tourism Program Dr. Yerik Afrianto Singgalen, M.Si.

In line with Yerik, a researcher from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA, Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto said during this crisis moment tourism industry should play an integral part in reflecting and recover, even more so considering the over-tourism phenomena which are a severe issue from some countries.

“This is the right time for the tourism industry to reflect and recover from their problems, one of which is uncontrolled tourism development. I assume traveling will become luxury again regarding multiple conditions and protocols that need to be completed before traveling,” explained Cahyanto in this online seminar titled Tourism and Disaster.

Implementing health protocol means a swift or change in comfort typically found during a trip to a holiday destination. For instance, the visitors should always comply with carrying hand sanitizers and self-protection equipment such as masks and wipes, let alone a limited capacity and constant temperature check, whether in a restaurant or amusement park. The experts remind business actors that traveling is no longer the consumer’s priority amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Yerik asks the government to optimize communication and coordination with the stakeholders to set standards and prepare facilities needed when adjusting with the new normal in traveling.

“It is necessary to examine the application of health protocols in each tourist attraction with a high intensity of mass tourism trajectories.”

“This collaborative approach characterizes the growth of Indonesian tourism in the era of a new order that upholds synergy and solidarity in post-pandemic economic recovery,” said Yerik.

Yerik recommended that the stakeholders accommodate the premium concept tourist destination without limiting the local community’s participatory space to create community-based and sustainable tourism.