Pristine beaches, lush forests, historical sites, and diverse cultural experiences. These are just among the attractions Indonesia is highlighting to promote domestic travel while it tightens border controls with the emergence of a new variant of the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Last year, tourism authorities came up with the #DiIndonesiaAja (#JustStayInIndonesia) campaign to promote domestic tourism, targeting families, couples, individual tourists, independent travelers, and the government.
Encouraging domestic travel is as a way to kick-start the sector’s recovery. The United Nations World Tourism Organization has advised countries to highlight domestic tourism as it is seen to recover faster than international travel during the pandemic.
Apart from destinations in Jakarta and Bali, the country’s official tourism site is also promoting attractions in Sulawesi, Kalimantan, and West Papua, which are part of BIMP-EAGA.
For Christmas destinations, the site suggests trip ideas to the picture-perfect white sand beaches of Likupang in North Sulawesi and the “otherworldly” wonders, both in land and sea, of Raja Ampat in West Papua.
The diverse flora and fauna of the Tangkoko National Park tops the site’s trip ideas for Manado, also in North Sulawesi.
In Kalimantan, the site entices travelers to visit the Tanjung Puting rainforest, which it likens to a fictional jungle book as it is home to wild orangutans and other exotic animals.
Recently, the site also promoted culinary tourism in Wakatobi, a group of islands also in Sulawesi. Wakatobi is famous for seafood.
Tourism authorities are also promoting the Kole Sawangan Village in Tana Toraja District, South Sulawesi. Kole Sawangan is part of a program to promote village tourism. A tourist village offers culture, nature, and other experiences, providing alternative holiday destinations to travelers. Of the 75,000 villages in Indonesia, 1,200 are tourist villages.
Toraja, also in South Sulawesi, is also being aggressively promoted. The Toraja region offers not just scenic attractions, like the Gunung Nona Enrekang mountain range, but also cultural treasures like the burial caves in Londa.
Early this year, Indonesia President Joko Widodo inaugurated the Toraja Airport, which is expected to improve connectivity, boost the region’s economy, and create more jobs. With the airport up and running, people from Makassar, Bali, Jakarta, and Bandung can now fly directly to Toraja.
Indonesia has strict protocols in place to keep domestic travelers safe.
In a regulation issued on 2 November, the government said people who travel within the country should observe social distancing, use a three-layer cloth or medical-grade mask, avoid crowds, and frequently wash hands with soap or use hand sanitizer.
The health protocols also bar people from talking on their phones while on public transport.
Eating and drinking while traveling by land, sea, or air, including for flights that take less than 2 hours is not allowed. The rule exempts people with medical condition with prescription for maintenance medicines.
The rules require people traveling to and from Java and Bali to be vaccinated.
People with a full dose of vaccines traveling to and from or within cities in Java and Bali are required to present a negative rapid antigen results 24 hours before departure.
Those with just a first dose should present a negative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test done within 72 hours before departure.
Those traveling within cities outside of Java and Bali islands must have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and be able to present a negative rapid antigen result 24 hours before departure or a negative RT-PCR test result done within 72 hours before departure.
An AirAsia advisory said effective 6 December, fully vaccinated passengers traveling from Jakarta to Pontianak in Kalimantan must show a negative antigen test result 24 hours before departure. But between 24 December and 2 January 2022, only PCR results taken within 72 hours are accepted.
Care to protect app
Travelers are also required to use the Peduli Lindungi app—“care to protect” in English. This is also a requirement for international tourists, who can visit Bali or Riau only.
The app helps government in contact tracing and relies on community participation to track people’s location. Users will be notified if they are in a crowd or in a red zone, which is an area or village with residents infected with the virus.
The app also serves as a vaccination registry so it may be used to present vaccination certificates to authorities.