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Indonesia's Tourism Sector Immune from Mass Layoffs?

Minister Wacik: Election Year Tourism and Strong Arrivals Will Shield National Tourism from Unemployment.

(3/3/2009) Bisnis.com reports that workers in Indonesia's tourism sector are widely assumed to be immune from layoffs in connection with the ongoing global financial crisis. Demand for tourism products remains relatively strong in the current year, buoyed, in part, by election campaigning taking place across the nation.

Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, told the press that not only was the hotel sector relatively safe from mass lay-offs, but the transportation and restaurant sectors should be able to sustain themselves until an expected upswing in the economy in the latter half of 2009.

The Minister sees the possibility of mass dismissals in tourism as minimal in light of the increase in tourism revenues achieved in 2008. In 2008 the national tourism income achieved revenues in the vicinity of Rp. 80 trillion (US$7.1 billion), an increase of 16% when compared to 2007. The government is projecting a modest expansion of the Indonesian tourism economy in 2009, growing only by between 1-2%.

The Minister remains convinced that "election year" tourism would positively impact his sector, stating: "the need for hotels and accommodation during the campaign period remains relatively high. This is the case not only in the cities, but also in remote village; bearing in mind that legislative candidates do not only visit cities, but also campaign in remote village areas."

In addition to business stimulated by campaign activities, the government is still banking on more than 5 million foreign visitors to come to Bali in 2009.