Riau Islands Need Tourism Recovery

Tourism was hit hard during COVID-19, and in places whose economies rely heavily on both foreign and domestic visitors, recovering from lockdowns and travel restrictions is vitally important.

Antara News are reporting on how Indonesia’s Riau Islands is striving to recover its tourism and creative economy sector, which is one of the region’s income mainstays. Several recovery efforts have been made by digging into every local tourism development to accelerate the sector’s growth and recovery, Riau Islands Governor Ansar Ahmad said at a virtual forum here on Tuesday.

“The 2.5-years of the COVID-19 pandemic hit us hard. In 2021, we were very impacted because foreign tourist visits only reached 1,333-people during the pandemic,” he explained.

He said the province only began to open doors to foreign tourists, especially from Singapore and Malaysia, in April 2022, via a travel bubble scheme agreed upon by the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry.

According to him, foreign tourist visits to Riau Islands exceeded 2.9-million in 2019, placing the province second after Bali among Indonesian provinces with the most foreign tourist visits, say Antara News.

He said he expected the forum for discussing tourism recovery strategies to increase the number of tourism programs.

Meanwhile, director of Al-Ahmadi Entrepreneurship Centre (AEC), Lisya Anggraini, said that her side is encouraging the business development of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which are a part of the tourism sector, report Antara News.

“When the pandemic hit, tourism, our alumni, and our MSME mentees experienced agonizing tests. In 2021, we had this discussion forum, but at that time we only invited tourism associations and government representatives from Riau Islands and Thailand,” Anggraini added.

She said the discussion forum on tourism recovery strategies was also held to share experiences in facing tourism developments post the pandemic.

She said that the AEC will keep holding the discussion forum every month by presenting representatives from different associations, including from outside the province, such as North Sumatra, Jambi, Bali, and East Java.

Source: Antara News

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