Jakarta (ANTARA) - The current onslaught of the coronavirus may inflict a potential loss of US$2.8 billion on Indonesian tourism, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio has predicted. "Since it (the coronavirus outbreak) is still going on, we will see the extent of losses only once the onslaught has stopped. If the average number of Chinese tourists (visiting Indonesia) is two million per year, the potential loss will be US$2.8 billion," he said after a coordination meeting with the transportation minister and airline operators at the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry in Jakarta Wednesday.
"The calculation is not as simple as what we will do after everything is over. But as we all know, the number of Chinese tourists (visiting Indonesia) reaches two million, or equivalent to US$2.8 billion in foreign exchange earnings. So the loss will depend on how long the virus outbreak will last," he said.
Normally, tourists book flights and hotel rooms from February to March for a summer vacation. "February to March is a booking period. Tourists are booking transportation and hotel rooms for the summer vacation. This will also have an impact on the summer vacation if, for instance, the coronavirus outbreak stops in April," he said.
However, the exact losses can be calculated if the impact of coronavirus is over although it will have a side effect, he added.
China tops the list of sources of tourist arrivals in Indonesia, with an estimated two million tourists and total spending of US$14 thousand per tourist, according to the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry.
The Indonesian government has set a target of foreign exchange earnings from the tourism sector for 2020 at US$21 billion, or US$1 billion higher than the 2019 realization of US$20 billion.
Source: Antara News