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20% Unemployment Ahead for Indonesia's Tourism Sector

Despite Minister Wacik's Assurances that All is Well, Culture & Tourism Official Predicts 20% Unemployment in Indonesia's Tourism Industry.

(4/4/2009) BeritaBali.com reports that 20% of Indonesia's tourism sector workers may face unemployment in the course of the current economic crisis. Based on data from the Department of Culture and Tourism there are around 4.14 million Indonesians employed in tourism-related jobs.

The dire projections of wide-scale lay-offs was delivered by the Director of Data and Networking at the Department of Culture and Tourism, Harry Waluyo, after opening the 5th Conference of the United Nation's World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Nusa Dua, Bali on April 30, 2009.

Waluyo said that tourism workers employed in hotels, restaurants and travel agencies were most at threat of losing their jobs in the current downturn in world travel.

Waluyo said: "The connection is that visitors my decline if the American economy does not recover and long-haul tourists will decrease their amount of travel and pick tourism destination that are closer."

Waluyo's predictions are at odds with statement by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, who has said he is optimistic that there will be no jobs lost in Indonesia's tourism sector over the coming year. According to Wacik, any downturn in foreign tourist will be covered by increases in domestic tourists.