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Leaving Indonesia Now Cheaper than Exploring It

High Cost of Domestic Travel Has Become a Crushing Blow to the National Tourism Industry

Kompas.com reports that the controversial increases in domestic air fares in Indonesia that has taken place starting from the fourth-quarter of 2018 continues to plague both the national aviation and the tourism sector.

Kompas recently compared the cost of a Jakarta-Medan domestic flight with an international flight between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) offered by an online travel agent (OTA) to discover the international flight of a roughly equidistance was, in fact, 40 percent less expensive than the domestic segment on a specific date.

The price of a Lion Air ticket from Jakarta to Medan was priced at Rp. 1,547,300 while the Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur flight cost only Rp. 745,000.

Separately, the Indonesian Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya, claims the number of domestic tourists has decreased by 30% nation-wide since the airlines began increasing their prices.  This is supported by reports from hoteliers nationwide who claim business is down by an average 30%.

Market observers say that the increased domestic ticket prices has also been applied during a period in which domestic airlines have reduced or removed free luggage allowance for passengers have in combination taken the gloss off domestic travel in a nation where many passengers carry substantial quantities of gifts whenever they fly.

Kompas quoted Fitri (22) a passenger who formerly travelled twice each month. Her most favored destination was Bali, visiting the Island on five separate occasions in 2018. An employee of a private company in Jakarta, she frequently traveled domestically; able to purchase a round-trip ticket to Bali on a low-cost carrier for Rp. 1 million. The cost of the same trip is now Rp. 2.5 million on Lion Air and Rp. 3 million on the Citilink.

Fitri complained that it was now less expensive to fly to destinations overseas than places within Indonesia. She recently cancelled a trip to Gorontalo in North Sulawesi, opting instead to fly to Japan.

Asoka (31) told a similar story. He works as a professional blogger and is also objecting to the high price of domestic air travel. He told of how a round-trip to Pontianak that once cost him Rp. 1.2 million now cost him Rp. 1 million for one-way or Rp. 2 million round-trip. Continuing, Asoka said: “It’s very sad. To Kei (in the Malaccan Islands) one-way is Rp. 4 million and round trip is Rp. 8 million. If you want to explore Indonesia it has become quite financially burdensome.” The blogger says he is now considering traveling overseas instead of exploring his homeland, Instead of traveling to the Kei Island he has decided to visit Japan instead

A media worker, Asti (27), also pointed to the cost of domestic travel as being more expensive that flying abroad. “To Morotai a round trip costs Rp. 5 million, but if I travel to Asia or Australia the maximum prices is Rp. 7 million-Rp. 8 million,” said Asti. For domestic travel, Asti now carefully examines the cost of alternate transportation, such a train services, or use a car and inter-island ferry connections.

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