(Image source: Unsplash)
Hi, I’m Resti from POINTS JAPAN, an Indonesian working and living in Japan.
It goes without saying that COVID-19 has upended our society, our daily lives and habits. The impact and response to the pandemic differs from country to country, and Indonesia is no exception to this major shakeup! In this post, I’ll share some of the significant impacts and societal shifts that have occurred in Indonesia over the past two years.
HOW COVID-19 IMPACTED INDONESIA
Similar to other nations, COVID-19 has drawn out more empathy among individuals as well as collective humanitarian efforts in our community. With more than 4.2 million confirmed cases and 140,000 deaths till date (WHO, Nov 2021), the pandemic has exacerbated poverty and inequality across the archipelago. An UNICEF report states that 80 million children and adolescents across Indonesia are facing disruption towards their education and denied access to critical health, nutrition and protection services.
To support the community and prevent the spread of the outbreak, more Indonesians, especially the young, are taking steps to increase awareness through various platforms. Fadllil Kaafi (27) the youngest of the Indonesian Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Council (DK3N) has been hosting a weekly online talkshow educating the youth on issues related to COVID-19.
Moreover, we see that the younger generations are taking part in collaborative philanthropic actions through digital donations or small charity campaigns on social media to help the less-advantaged Indonesians cope with economic-losses. A research by Kopernik and GoPay showed that overall donations increased by 20% during the pandemic, while average value per digital donation increased by 72% during the same period.
Work-From-Home and the use of ICT
Many non-essential businesses were also forced to implement 100% work-for-home policies due to lockdowns and strict restrictions imposed by the government. While companies and employees had to make significant technical adjustments during the initial stages, the implementation of remote work has accelerated internal digital transformation. PT Unilever Indonesia has been investing more in their internal technology to help employees work more efficiently and effectively from home.
Video conferencing tools like Google Meets and Zoom are also now widely used by companies and schools to facilitate online discussions. As the return of offline events are still up in the air, event organizers in Indonesia are turning to Instagram live to host online seminars and events.
New Business Guidelines
In a bid to stem the spread of the virus, the Indonesian government has also rolled out new guidelines for businesses and industries. These four guidelines are as follows:
- Low Touch
- Less Crowd
- Low Mobility.
Companies that ride out of this pandemic era are those that can successfully adapt to the aforementioned four guidelines.
Travel Trends in Indonesia
Next, let’s take a look at some of the shifts in travel trends in Indonesia.
To respond to public anxiety about the safety of a destination, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry introduced the CHSE protocol, which stands for Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environmental Sustainability, in 2020. The CHSE protocols seeks to standardize and enforce COVID-19-related best practices in the restaurant, hospitality and tourism sector. Businesses are required to implement these protocols and receive an official certification before reopening.
While CHSE is meant to allow the citizens to travel with confidence and slow the spread of COVID-19, a number of hotels and restaurants have expressed their concerns as the certification process would pose a financial burden to those businesses who are already struggling financially because of the pandemic.
(Image source: Traveloka)
The lack of overseas travel has led to a staycation boom in Indonesia as well. In a bid to stay afloat, hotels around the world have pivoted to attract more local guests. In Indonesia, hotels have launched various marketing campaigns targeting locals, and launched food delivery services. In late 2020, Bali’s tourism agency offered free tours and staycations to 4,440 residents living in Bali as a tourism “dry-run” to reinvigorate the holiday hotspot and also test its COVID-19 health protocols.
A recent research by Wego, shows that as much as 40 percent of Indonesians plan to travel abroad after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. While 39.5% answered “Maybe” and 20.5% answered “No” as they do not feel safe traveling internationally despite getting vaccinated. Interestingly, in the survey, 75% of those in their mid-50s to 60s said that they want to travel abroad when possible, whereas the younger generation seems to be more uncertain.
Some of the main reasons why they would not travel abroad despite being vaccinated include: concerns of being infected with COVID-19 (47%), not knowing the entry requirements of the destination country/current international travel ban (14%), and other health issues other than COVID-19 (13%).
For those who are looking to travel, 30% are interested in visiting East Asia ((Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China), followed by Southeast Asia (24%) and Europe (15%)
(Image Source: Wego.com)
The Indonesian government has also recently announced that they will be pumping in RP 3.4 billion to the tourism industry to support not businesses in the tourism sector. While the future is uncertain, the gradual decrease of COVID-19 cases, vaccination programs and implementation of safety guidelines is a sign that Indonesia, like the rest of the world, is ready to move into the post-covid era.
WHO (2021). Indonesia Covid Situation. https://covid19.who.int/region/searo/country/id
International Labor Organization (2020, May 20). Online youth engagement to prevent the spread of COVID-19. https://www.ilo.org/jakarta/info/public/fs/WCMS_743699/lang–en/index.htm
UNICEF ( 2021, August 21). 80 million children in Indonesia face widespread impact from COVID-19 pandemic https://www.unicef.org/indonesia/press-releases/80-million-children-indonesia-face-widespread-impact-covid-19-pandemic
Casalderrey, O, Prathama. K, (2021, March 6) Digital donations – new potential to accelerate philanthropy. The Jakarta Post. https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2021/03/05/digital-donations—new-potential-to-accelerate-philanthropy-.html.
Prasidya, Y. 2020, June 17. Working from home could become the new normal post pandemic. The Jakarta Post. https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/06/17/working-from-home-could-become-new-normal-post-pandemic.html
Eloksari, E. 2021, September 29. Tourism players oppose mandatory CHSE certification
The Jakarta Post. 2020, March 30. Indonesian hotels offer food delivery service amid COVID-19 spread https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2020/03/31/indonesian-hotels-offer-food-delivery-service-amid-covid-19-spread.html
Reuters. 2020, September 24. Indonesia gives free Bali staycations to test tourism readiness
Wego.com. 2021, March 15. Wego Survey: 40% of Indonesian Travelers Plan to Travel Abroad After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine. https://blog.wego.com/wego-survey-40-of-indonesian-travelers-plan-to-travel-abroad-after-receiving-covid-19-vaccine/
Faqir, A. 2021, September 21. Dana Hibah Pariwisata Naik Menjadi Rp3,7 Triliun Tahun Ini. Merdeka.com. https://www.merdeka.com/uang/dana-hibah-pariwisata-naik-menjadi-rp-37-triliun-tahun-ini.html