Govt mulls incentives as tourism faces potential $2.8b loss from outbreak

first_imgThe government is mulling over incentives for the tourism and airline industries to mitigate potential losses of US$2.8 billion from the coronavirus disease outbreak, which has already led to a decline in tourist arrivals.The tourism, transportation and finance ministries were finalizing the proposed incentives on Wednesday after meeting with industry stakeholders. The ministers expected to submit the proposal to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo sometime next week. The incentives under consideration included reduced tax, lower airport fees and eased slot permits for airlines, as well as travel discounts for issuing in partnership with all travel agents in the country, the ministries announced. “This is our effort to face the impacts from the coronavirus. It’s not easy, but we should do the best we can together,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama said in Jakarta on Wednesday, after a meeting with tourism and airline companies.Wishnutama said that Indonesia’s foreign exchange (forex) income could incur losses of up to $2.8 billion from potential Chinese tourists, assuming a per year average of 2 million tourist arrivals from China as in normal conditions.Indonesia saw 16.1 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019, with Chinese arrivals contributing 12 percent of all foreign arrivals.Statistics Indonesia (BPS) chairman Suhariyanto said that the outbreak would “no doubt reduce foreign arrivals from China to Indonesia this year”, with the agency already recording a 2 percent contraction in foreign arrivals in December 2019. The Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) reported 40,000 room cancellations and 20,000 visitor cancellations in Bali since the rise in infections in early January.Airlines have temporarily halted dozens of flights per week to and from mainland China in adhering to the government’s travel ban on all visitors from China, including all travelers who had been there within 14 days prior to arriving in Indonesia.“We have listened to the inputs from the airline industry and we have spoken to the hotel and restaurant association, as well as other players in the tourism sector,” said Wishnutama. “The incentives that we are preparing must be comprehensive so we can survive this battle, not only the airline and hotel industries but also other related sectors as a whole.”Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said that lower taxes and airport fees, as well as easier permit processing for airport slots and other operating permits were among the possible incentives that the ministry was proposing. During its meeting with airline companies, the ministry had urged them to either reroute their China flights to new potential markets or add flights to their busiest routes.“For example […], many airlines from Eastern Europe want to fly to Bali, but the problem so far has been the unavailability of slots. So we see opportunities there,” said Budi. Other potential markets were Australia and countries in the Middle East and South Asia like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, he said.Wishnutama added that the government was also looking to boost domestic travel to the top three destinations among Chinese tourists, namely Bali, North Sulawesi and the Riau Islands. Discounts could be offered in partnership with online and conventional travel agents, he said.Garuda Indonesia president director Irfan Setiaputra welcomed the government’s initiative, while urging that incentives be given to new inbound flights.”We are now trying to mitigate the impact of the [outbreak] by adding [flight] schedules on our existing routes,” said Irfan, adding that opening new routes was also a possibility. “This [outbreak] is absolutely affecting us, because the travel ban to and from China has caused us to lose revenue.”Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has halted 40 weekly flights to mainland China, while Lion Air Group, the largest private Indonesian airline company, has halted 30 weekly flights to China.Topics :last_img read more

Fred Pappoe withdraws from GFA Elections after polling 6 votes in first round

first_imgFormer Ghana Football Association Vice President, Fred Pappoe has withdrawn from the Presidential race after polling only 6 votes.The elections, which are heading for a second-round, after none of the six candidates were able to poll over half of the votes cast, also saw Amanda Clinton and George Ankomah drop out of the race after not securing a single vote.The two frontrunners are Dreams FC CEO Kurt Okraku who polled 44 votes and  George Afriyie who tallied 40.The final candidate in the second round, Nana Yaw Amponsah, finished with 27 votes.The delegates are currently voting again to determine a clear winner.However, in the event that none of the three candidates polls over half of the votes, a third and final round will be held.If results remain inconclusive, the position will remain vacant until the next Elective Congress.The GFA’s Congress has a total of 120 delegates with the Division One League clubs accounting for the largest group; with 48 delegates.However, only 117 votes were counted with one rejected ballot and two absentees.Pappoe was hoping to replace his former boss Kwesi Nyantakyi who resigned from the post following damning revelations in an exposé by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.The elections were allowed to proceed after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected an injunction appeal by a disqualified Presidential aspirant, Wilfred Osei earlier on Friday.last_img read more