Webinar on Surviving and Planning for Recovery in Indonesian Tourism Post COVID-19

It is undeniable the impacts brought by COVID-19 global pandemic to the world’s business sectors, including the ones in Indonesia. Most notably is Indonesian tourism, which has long become one of the biggest commodities in Indonesia. With the risk of coronavirus transmission and the social distancing happening all over the world, Indonesia’s top destinations and tourism activities can be seen as empty.

More questions arise regarding the stability of the tourism industry in Indonesia after COVID-19. BINUS Business School held an online seminar titled “Survival and Planning for Recovery in Indonesian Tourism Post COVID-19” on Thursday (16/4) via Zoom video conference. This free public lecture invited Panca Rudolf Sarungu, founder & CEO of Prista Group, who has over 25 years of experience in hospitality and tourism.

As the President of BINUS Business School Alumni Association and Vice Chairman of Indonesia Tourism Industry Board (GIPI), Mr. Panca shared his insights on survival and planning for recovery in Indonesia tourism post COVID-19. He opened by sharing a short animated video titled “The Mysteries of Beautiful Indonesia,” a video about Indonesia’s top destinations, culture, and culinary expertise.

Mr. Panca stated that the COVID-19 is 10 times worse than any crisis before, equaling it as a combination of the Bali bomb, SARS, and 1998 crisis together. He shared that COVID-19 is the perfect time for companies in the tourism industries to do four tasks. First, to re-define the sales strategy by not giving massive discounts that can affect the company’s brand and saving any marketing budget for new initiatives.

Second, to re-focus on existing customers by maintaining relationships, showing empathy, and discussing the company’s plan for post pandemic. Third, to re-invent the business operation model by reviewing the company’s portfolio and services, as well as aligning customer’s behaviors. Fourth, and most importantly, to find new business opportunities by shifting to online services and optimizing the company’s online platforms.

Several companies, such as Singapore Airlines, Accor Thailand, and Airbnb, have used COVID-19 as a motivation to do these four key activities. By reinventing their business, these companies are still able to reach their clients in different ways.

“This pandemic is a new discovery for tourism, as we are the most affected but will have the fastest recovery. The post pandemic will create a market boom for tourism,” explained Mr. Panca. He presented three immediate solutions for companies in the tourism industry, from now to the next 3 months.

Temporarily switch the business services, be it related or slightly unrelated to the core business of your company. Prepare your company to engage new customer perspectives to withstand the pandemic. Optimize the team and personal training, adding new skills and competencies that can be useful in the long run.

Lastly, Mr. Panca shared possible immediate opportunities during post COVID-19 for Indonesian tourism. “There will be a rise in domestic and regional tourism, people will have more interest in visiting exotic Indonesian destinations rather than going abroad,” stated Mr. Panca. This will boost many small to medium tourism enterprises. There is a huge possibility to find new talent in human resources for tourism, a key ingredient to boost the hospitality and tourism business sectors.

After the presentation from Mr. Panca, a Q&A session was held and moderated by Dewi Tamara (Deputy Head of Program of MM Executive). Closing the online seminar, a quick quiz was held. Participants answered questions about the presentation and BINUS Business School. The winner received a prize from Mr. Panca.

From this online seminar, several ideas and solutions regarding business actions for Indonesian tourism could be gathered. Both during and post COVID-19, these materials can be applied to many companies that revolve around Indonesian tourism.