Beach bound: Marine holidays most desired pandemic getaway

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Lombok island, Indonesia

As tourist destinations begin to reopen after COVID-19 closures, an increasing number of Indonesians are seizing the opportunity to venture beyond their neighborhoods. 

A survey conducted by the Kompas research and development team from July to August of this year found that 38.5 percent of respondents wanted to travel during the pandemic, while 42.4 percent did not. 

“This is a considerably large number [of people who would like to travel during the pandemic]. It is no surprise because the pandemic has forced us to work and stay at home, which triggers stress. It’s understandable that people want to travel,” said the team’s representative, Nila Kirana. 

Involving 1,200 respondents between the ages of 17 and 59 from 34 provinces, the survey found that marine attractions were in the highest demand, with 28.4 of respondents saying they would opt for these type of destinations, followed by 19.5 percent who preferred ecotourism, 12.2 percent who would choose shopping or culinary trips and 9.4 preferring to visit historical attractions. 

Underwater scene in Indonesia

The survey found that most Indonesians preferred to visit outdoor places.  

Only 2.4 percent of respondents said they would take a hotel staycation. 

“However, according to BPS, [Indonesia’s] hotel occupancy rate has gradually increased since April,” Nila said, noting that in September, the hotel occupancy rate was between 30 and 40 percent. 

Underwater scene in Indonesia

A second survey by online booking service PegiPegi found that 75 percent of Indonesians had plans to travel during the year-end holiday.

Polling 1,490 people and conducted from Nov. 9 to Nov. 16, the survey found that 45 percent of respondents planned to drive to other cities during the year-end holiday, while 30 percent planned to travel by plane and 11 percent planned to take a staycation in their cities of residence.

Data shared by the West Lombok Tourism Agency this week shows that starred hotels in Senggigi and Sekotong have also been receiving reservations for the upcoming holiday. 

“Sekotong, Lombok Underwater Tourism Destination That Comparable To Raja Ampat”

West Lombok Tourism Agency head Saepul Akhkam said that 35 percent of the 1,400 rooms in starred hotels in Senggigi and Sekotong had been booked.

“We are so ready [to welcome travelers]. Senggigi’s main attraction is the sunset, while Sekotong offers leisure and underwater activities,” Saepul told on Tuesday. 

National COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo has advised the public to stay at home during the year-end holidays, citing the risk of adverse weather over the next two to three weeks.  

“The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency [BMKG] predicts extreme weather during the year-end holidays and advises us to stay at home. I hope we will pay attention to [this warning] and heed the BMKG,” Doni said in a virtual press conference on Monday.

Doni said that in addition to extreme weather, people would face potential COVID-19 transmission if they opted to travel during the year-end holidays. “The holiday might trigger gatherings of crowds in public places. So let’s make the upcoming holiday safe and comfortable by not going outside or travelling,” he said. (jes)

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