As Jakarta continues to be gripped by riots and demonstrations opposing president Joko Widodo’s re-election, agents are recommending limited travel to the Indonesian capital for the time being while inbound demand to other destinations in the country appear unaffected.
“The riots, like terrorist attacks and natural disasters, cause a lot of disruption to the travel flow. However, as the riots in Jakarta this time were a result of the elections, it was more predictable and therefore easier for us to handle and ensure our customers’ safety. We have already contacted our clients who are there and confirmed their safety, and we have made arrangements for those who wish to return immediately,” Toru Ikuta, president & CEO, Asia-Pacific headquarters, JTB told TTG Asia.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is advising Malaysians to stay away from areas where protestors are expected to demonstrate.
In a statement issued on May 22, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that while the situation in central Jakarta is currently under control, the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta has reported that big demonstrations are likely in the near future in front of the offices of the General Election Commission and the Election Supervisory Board, in central Jakarta as well as other cities throughout Indonesia.
With the Malaysian school holidays starting today for the states of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu and on Saturday for the rest of the country, agents contacted said they have no bookings for Jakarta.
Tours to other parts of the country will carry on as usual, as agents continue to closely monitor the situation in Indonesia.
K Subramaniam, director, SC Southern Tours & Travel based in Johor, said he has not received any booking cancellations and there is strong demand for Batam and Bali from the southern state of Johor.
Mint Leong, managing director, Sunflower Holidays, also sees continued strong demand for Bali strong among Chinese and Russian clients who combine Malaysia with Bali. For the Malaysian family travel segment, the company has not received any cancellation or postponement requests for Bali and Bandung.
Likewise, Ikuta also shared that most of JTB’s customers travelling to Indonesia typically head to Bali rather than Jakarta, hence the agency is not heavily impacted by the current situation.
- Additional reporting by Pamela Chow