Indonesia will persist in its efforts to prepare for the reopening of Bali, Batam and Bintan to international travellers, despite the recent terrorist attacks that took place in Makassar, South Sulawesi and Jakarta.
On March 28, a suicide bombing took place at a Roman Catholic cathedral in Makassar which wounded at least 20 people. Three days later, a lone-wolf terrorist attempted to attack the national police headquarters in Jakarta. A number of suspects have been arrested following police raids conducted in various cities across the country in a counter-terrorism crackdown. Indonesia authorities are also on heightened alert for possible terror attacks in the near future.
Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s minister of tourism and creative economy, called on all stakeholders not to be deterred by the terrorist attacks, nor to allow them to foil the country’s tourism recovery plans.
“The tourism and creative economy sector depends greatly on national stability. Therefore, we must not be afraid as (instilling public fear) is what (the terrorists) are after,” he said.
Sandiaga added that since the incidents, the government has tightened security measures and increased the number of CCTVs at a number of tourist destinations.
Heightened security measures have also been put in place by travel and hospitality players, although they express confidence that the terrorist acts will not hamper the government’s efforts to partially reopen borders.
Ng Sebastian, owner of Incito Vacations, said: “(In the past,) terrorist attacks had a severe impact on travel, but now, people are more concerned about travelling to a Covid-19-free zone than a terrorism-free destination, as the pandemic is (considered) to pose a higher (safety) risk.”
Eduard Rudolf Pangkerego, COO at Artotel Group, said: “(Safety) is always a concern for corporate travellers. However, questions related to terrorism are no longer top on their list (of concerns), but rather, the current Covid 19 situation and the new protocols being applied in Indonesia.”
Eduard added that Artotel has beefed up security and precautionary measures at its properties across the country, while its hotel staff have been trained to activate emergency procedures as needed. Additional surveillance measures have also been undertaken in the wake of the terrorist attacks. In fact, even during the pandemic, Artotel has maintained its number of security personnel patrolling the premises of its properties.
Paul Tallo, chairman of the Indonesia Inbound Tour Operators Association, said his members have shared the latest situation in Indonesia and explained the safety precautions being taken by the government in the wake of the attacks to their respective business partners overseas.