The pandemic of Covid-19 has indeed decayed tourism sectors’ performance. However, in the new normal era, the government of Indonesia has a strategic plan to restart the tourism sector in 2021. However, which tourism sector is more likely to aid Indonesian economic escalation?
The unprecedented outbreaks of Coronavirus have tremendously disrupted all countries, including Indonesia. The official report of Statistics Indonesia (BPS) recorded that the Indonesian economic growth plunged at -3.49% (q-t-q) perpetuating the negative record in the preceding quarter (Q2) by -5.32%. A couple of negative magnitudes has led Indonesia to fell into recession for the first time since 1998.
The latest report also noted that one of the biggest plunges stems from the tourism sector which suffered for almost 100 trillion rupiahs (9.5 billion USD). It was exacerbated by the number of foreign tourists that enormously slumped by -88.95% as of September 2020. Henceforth, shall we keep mourning this economic slowdown?
The answer may be “not really”. The pandemic situation in which economic growth was slumped should be considered to arrange strategic plans by which various sectors are brought in the post-pandemic periods. As noted earlier, indeed, the tourism sector has been remarkably attacked, but if we may remain optimistic, 2021 tourism sector will be a turned back point from which the pre-pandemic economic growths had achieved.
How can be this optimistic acknowledged? The answer is through the sport tourism sector. The answer may sound relatively subjective but it, somehow, makes sense.
We have realized that Indonesia has a vast potential tourism sector which possesses unique selling points such as affordable, conservative, and historical concern. In hindsight, tourism merely associates with nature and attractive action such as the Pendet dance of Bali or the Saman dance of Aceh, on which local wisdom play a pivotal role. These are indeed a necessary and mainstream contribution, but it is seemingly not a sufficient and exceptional promotor in enhancing the added value of the tourism sector.
The sports tourism may deserve an alternative solution. The sector in which tourism and sport are combined has recently well thriven amongst people. Even in the future, Indonesia should be able to make sport tourism a key driver for the tourism sector. This is because Indonesia is actually considered an icon of world sports tourism combined with its natural and cultural wealth.
Looking at prior international sports events such as Tour de Singkarak, Ironman 70.3 of Bintan, Borobudur Marathon of Magelang, and Tour de Ijen of Banyuwangi, the sport tourism has been an effective channel to broadly attract foreign tourists, even more on the successful 2018 Asian Games that brought more than 1.5 million foreign travellers in Indonesia.
Let us momentarily analyze the opportunities for sports tourism from an economic perspective. We can take an example of the Borobudur Marathon of Magelang which is the only international marathon event that was successfully held amid the Covid-19 pandemic in November 2020. In 2019 there were 10,900 runners in various categories from a total of 16 countries. If a runner brings at least 1 pair, it means there are about 21,800 people who come to the city of Magelang.
The incoming foreigners surely then generate supplies of lodging, travel, restaurants, and other facilities which in turn enhance the share of the economy notably around the sport tourism venue. If a similar event is held monthly or even weekly with different venue and regions, the potential economic benefits will be enormous.
By some means, however, the potential notion must be planned and executed properly to ensure the suitable positive externalities aiming at the right stakeholders. Instances of this prerequisite are through the involvement of the social communities and the small-medium enterprises (SMEs).
As they are involved in such international events, they will absorb essential knowledge of stringent standards in sport tourism events. Ultimately, if stakeholders cooperatively enable sports tourism to be a frontline sector, the tourism sector will confidently be stimulated and well-thriven.
About the Authors
Tegar Rismanuar Nuryitmawan (Director – Research Institute of Socio-Economic Development (RISED), Surabaya). He is currently occupied as a director in Research Institute of Socio-Economic Development (RISED). His research interest is about impact evaluation of policy, poverty, welfare, sharia economics. Find him through email: [email protected]
Mohammad Zeqi Yasin (Head of Research – Research Institute of Socio-Economic Development (RISED), Surabaya). He works at Research Institute of Socio-Economic Development (RISED) as a Head of Research. His research interest is about efficiency and productivity. Find him through email: [email protected]