Indonesian players put pressure on government to axe PCR tests

Indonesian tour operators are demanding the removal of pre-departure PCR test requirements to facilitate arrivals recovery and improve the country’s competitiveness against her neighbours.

Jongki Adiyasa, executive director of Ina Leisure Tour and Travel, questioned the government’s requirement for the test when countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia have scrapped it. Most people in Java and Bali have also been fully vaccinated.

Wahjono: the removal of the PCR test could help fully-vaccinated travellers access Indonesia at reduced cost

Adiyasa said clients have complained that PCR tests in other countries were costly and hard to secure as they were no longer mandatory.

Adjie Wahjono, operations manager of Aneka Kartika Tours, urged his government to follow the footsteps of other countries in removing pre-departure PCR test requirements to prevent escalated cost of travel to Indonesia.

He explained: “Filipino travellers, for example, need to spend US$50 for a PCR test to fly to Bali or elsewhere in Indonesia. That money could have been better spent on one- or two-night stays in budget hotels.”

Test prices differ across countries, rising as high as US$72 in Singapore and US$120 in the UK.

Ricky Setiawanto, director of business development of Panorama Destination, is worried that the PCR test barrier will dampen longhaul summer peak travel performance. The pandemic has severely impacted the spending power of the longhaul market, specifically Europe, while airfares have risen significantly. While a flight from Paris to Bali used to cost US$1,000 or less, now it is US$1,500 to US$1,800.

The added cost of a compulsory pre-departure PCR test will cause Indonesia to lose the market to other destinations that have “scrapped all pandemic restrictions”.

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