Menparekraf: Wellness Tourism, a Key to the Recovery of National and Global Tourism and Creative Economy Sector

Solo, Central Java, August 5th 2022 – Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy/Head of Tourism and Creative Economy (Menparekraf), Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, mentioned that wellness tourism is the key to the recovery of national and global tourism and creative economy sector.

Opening the “International Wellness Tourism Conference and Festival (IWTCF) 2022” which was marked by the beating of gamelan (Javanese traditional music instruments) at the Alila Solo Hotel, Thursday (5/8/2022), Menparekraf Sandiaga Uno said that in the last two years, the world has faced extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism and creative economy industry have also experienced a slump. However, on the other side, health issues have become a new lifestyle that has an impact on the increase in travel, especially wellness tourism.

“I believe that the industry that is resistant to crisis is the wellness industry, especially after the pandemic, health becomes everybody’s priority. People put priority to health. Being preventive and promote health are now becoming an unstoppable trend. They want to be healthy by preventing and promoting a healthy lifestyle. And wellness tourism is the key to the recovery of global and national tourism recovery,” according to Menparekraf Sandiaga. The phenomenon of the strengthening of concern for health after the pandemic proves that wellness tourism products become one of the resilient, inclusive, and responsive industries towards crisis.

Indonesia itself has a huge market potential for global wellness tourism. Based on the Global Wellness Institute (2017), Indonesia is ranked the 17th as a market for wellness tourism and is the 2nd largest market in Southeast Asia, creating 1.31 million workers.

“Indonesia is ranked 17th as a wellness tourism destination market. We should be in the global top five. This is a very big homework, because it turns out that wellness tourism creates 1.31 million new and quality employment opportunities,” he added.

Thus, the MOTCE presents the IWTCF 2022 event. Apart from being one of the G20 Summit side events, it is also a means of promotion, creative product showcasing, and wellness destinations in Indonesia to be better known in global community, as well as a conference to collect ideas that will be a National Action Plan 2022-2026.

The theme carried was also in accordance with the current global tourism situation, namely “Sustainability Strategy for the Recovery and Growth of World Tourism through Wellness Tourism for All”.

“The point is wellness tourism for recovery, that we will discuss the latest issues, we will promote and showcase creative products. Because wellness tourism is about democratizing health, health can be supported not only by hospitals by also by MSMEs. This is the concept of wellness tourism and we will facilitate networking and business matching,” he continued. “I want the ideas collected in this conference will become a National Action Plan 2022 – 2026 on wellness tourism. We must use this opportunity to bring together the government, the private sector, related associations, media, and academics to promote this wellness tourism,” Sandiaga said.

He expected that IWTCF 2022 will increase awareness about health tourism services that Indonesia has with the spirit of mutual cooperation which is the identity of Indonesia.

“I hope that this event will not only be part of the G20, but can also be held and improved in the upcoming years. Therefore, we can present the target of 1.1 million new quality employment opportunities in 2022 and 4.4 million in 2024, one of which is supported by wellness tourism,” he stated.

Deputy for Tourism Products and Events of the MOTCE, Rizki Handayani, explained that IWTCF 2022 is the first wellness tourism event combining three concepts at once, namely a conference that presents more than 30 top speakers at the international level, a workshop, and an exhibition.

“With this new breakthrough, I hope that later Indonesian wellness tourism can be a top of mind for domestic and foreign tourists,” according to Rizki Handayani.

Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo, represented by the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartanto who attended the event online, responded positively the 2022 International Wellness Conference and Festival, which is a means of dialog for the development of wellness tourism as well as promoting the richness and strengthening Indonesia’s wellness tourism destinations.

It is known that wellness tourism has a great contribution in the global economy, there was an increase from USD4.2 trillion in 2017 to USD4.5 trillion in 2019. Wellness tourism is predicted to increase in 2022 with an average growth of 7.5 percent per year and this is about 18 percent of total global tourism.

“This momentum will continue and the global community will become increasingly aware of the importance their health, and health tourism will vworth USD1 trillion in the near future. Thus, health tourism must continue to be developed with professional management, and it needs to be widely promoted both from domestic and foreign tourists who will certainly have more interest to health tourism in Indonesia,” Airlangga said.

The Mayor of Surakarta, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, expressed his gratitude for Solo to host the IWTCF 2022. This has had a major impact on the economy in Solo, proven by an increase in hotel occupancy rate which has penetrated 100 percent.

“I hope that this event will be a stepping stone for our MSMEs and our welfare products such as jamu (herbal drink) and beksan (Javanese traditional yoga) will gain recognition and interest from the global market,” Girban stated. Attending the IWTCF 2022 offline were the Permanent Secretary of the MOTCE, Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani; Head of Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), Dr. Penny K. Lukito, MCP. Also attending the occasion online were the Acting Ambassador of South Africa to Indonesia, Inayet Hassan; Ambassador of Mexico to Indonesia: Armando G. Alvarez; Attache of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Indonesia, Li Chen; Deputy for Tourism and Creative Economy Coordinator of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Ministry, odo RM Manuhutu; as well as IWTCF 2022 trainers.

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