Covid-19 slashes Indonesia’s tourism budget by 41%

Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (MoTCE) will be putting destination marketing campaigns on hold after its annual budget was slashed by 41.3 per cent to 2.02 trillion rupiah (US$140 million) from 4.9 trillion rupiah, as the government redirects funding to fight Covid-19.

The budget cut will affect some international marketing programmes, as well as the income of Visit Indonesia Tourism Officers (VITOs), the country’s overseas tourism marketing representatives.

Indonesia’s tourism ministry sustains 41.3 per cent budget cut due to Covid-19 impact; heritage area in Yogyakarta, Indonesia pictured 

Speaking at the parliamentary hearing on Tuesday (August 24), Sandiaga Uno, minister of tourism and creative economy, said the budget cut had resulted in the postponement of a number of promotional activities.

Sandiaga said: “(This) includes in-person meetings and road shows as well as domestic and international business trips.”

Nia Niscaya, deputy minister for marketing, said that while MoTEC would continue to attend virtual events such as ITB Asia, it would put on hold joint promotions with overseas business partners and familiarisation trips.

The government also announced on July 20 that the service fees for 19 VITOs in 14 countries will be terminated at the end of September. In response, 19 VITOs worldwide wrote a collective Letter of Support to the tourism minister, saying that they would continue their services free of charge until the end of the year.

A copy of the letter seen by TTG Asia stated: “VITOs have been the Ministry’s extended marketing arm and advocates in foreign land… (since 2005). Ending the programme now will not only mean losing the competitive edge against your competing destinations, (but) it is also akin to losing sight of your competitors’ movements and intelligence…, market trends (and) the pulse within the industry…”

Calling it “a shame” to end the VITO programme during this “crucial moment”, the VITOs volunteered to continue working without remuneration for the period of October till December and proposed that their service fees be reinstated in January 2022 with new budget allocation.

In the meantime, MoTCE will continue promoting its Cleanliness, Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability certification programme, marketing tourism villages and the tourism stimulus programme for vaccinated travellers, as well as training talents in the tourism and creative economy sector.

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