PHRI assured Omicron variant will not hinder tourism recovery

We are optimistic that tourism recovery will begin in this year’s second quarter
Jakarta (ANTARA) – An official of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) has expressed confidence that the recovery of the tourism industry will be reached in the second quarter of the year, despite the surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.
“Despite the current COVID-19 Omicron cases surge, regulations imposed this year are different from last year’s regulation,” PHRI chairperson Hariyadi Sukamdani said during a webinar on Wednesday.
Sukamdani pointed out that the government’s relaxation of strict restrictions enforced last year has allowed most business establishments to reopen, despite capacity restriction and enforcing health protocols.
The government could also learn from other countries that successfully continue their economic and tourism recovery, amidst the emergence of the Omicron variant, he added.
“We can see that some countries, such as the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Turkey, as well as South Africa, have fared better in facing surges of the Omicron variant,” he said.
Sukamdani expressed his confidence that Indonesia’s tourism industry will recover in the second quarter of 2022 if the government adopts pandemic handling measures from those countries.
“We are optimistic that tourism recovery will begin in this year’s second quarter,” he noted.
He also said that the surge in Omicron cases would fall in March and April, as the infection wave is expected to peak by the end of February.
The forecasted 25 to 30 percent hotel occupancy rate in the first quarter of the year is projected to increase to 40-45 percent by the second quarter, as the infection wave peak passes, he noted.
“We expect that the activities restriction enforcement (PPKM) status in April will return to level 1,” Sukamdani said.
The recent decision to enforce level 3 PPKM in some regions to tackle the COVID-19 Omicron variant has also affected the occupancy rate at hotels, he said.
Earlier, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that the COVID-19 Omicron variant has a higher infection rate, compared with the Delta variant, as Omicron positive cases in Jakarta and Bali have surpassed the Delta variant cases recorded last July.
However, despite the higher infection rate, the Omicron variant is considered less lethal, as the variant caused fewer cases that require hospitalizations and fewer deaths, compared with the Delta variant, the minister added.