Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has said the outbreak of a novel coronavirus around the globe has affected Indonesian tourism, with estimated losses of around US$500 million. “[According to] data from Bank Indonesia, [our] tourism has lost US$500 million in a month,” he told the press on Tuesday as quoted by antaranews.com. Luhut went on to say the government had created tourism packages in an effort to cut the losses.
Some 173 million Chinese tourists travel around the world annually, generating a global income that is worth a total of $270 billion, said the minister. Of these, Indonesia only welcomes 2 million Chinese tourists. Meanwhile, Singapore and Japan welcome about 6 million Chinese tourists, respectively. Luhut said Indonesia was on a campaign to boost Chinese tourist numbers to up to 10 million people in the future.
“Chinese tourists spend more money per person now than American tourists,” he said. The coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, has spread to nearly 30 countries since it first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December. As of Monday, more than 2,500 deaths from the virus had been confirmed in mainland China, while nearly 30 people outside mainland China have died after contracting the virus.
More than 77,000 infections have been recorded worldwide, AFP reports. Indonesia imposed a travel ban to and from mainland China on Feb. 5, however, many Chinese nationals have extended their stays in Indonesia, securing emergency stay permits that enable them to remain in the country for another 30 days after their visas expire.