by Benedictus Robert Yota
JAKARTA, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- A number of tourist destinations in Indonesia on Friday reopened their doors in regions that have relaxed their COVID-19 public activity restrictions, locally known as PPKM, earlier this week.
Among the reopened tourist sites is the Mount Ijen National Park in East Java province's district of Banyuwangi, which has resumed operation since Thursday, after being closed for two months during the early stages of the pandemic restrictions.
According to Purwantono, the Banyuwangi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA)'s section head, the national park was visited by around 600 visitors daily on average during pre-pandemic times.
Following Banyuwangi's pandemic restrictions being lowered to level 2 this week, the national park will limit daily visits to approximately 150 people, in accordance with the 25-percent capacity limit for national parks during the PPKM Level 2 implementation.
Mount Ijen's latest opening hours are from 3:00 a.m. local time to 12 p.m. local time for all days. Hikers are required to be vaccinated at least with the first doses and bring vaccination certificates as proof.
Similarly, the Dieng Volcanic Complex, also called the Dieng Plateau, located both in Wonosobo and Banjarnegara districts in Central Java province has also reopened since Friday, following the two districts' restrictions being lowered to level 2 this week.
The complex is also implementing a 25-percent capacity limit in compliance with level 2 restrictions.
"We're ready to open. We've already done health protocol simulations," the Banjarnegara Cultural and Tourism Agency's Head Agung Yusianto said on Thursday.
Just like Mount Ijen, the Dieng recreational area requires visitors to be vaccinated with the first shots at minimum.
Furthermore, state-owned Ancol Dreamland Park in North Jakarta has also reopened two of its attractions, Ancol Beach and Allianz Ecopark, for visitors who want to do outdoor vacations starting on Friday.
Meanwhile, other attraction sites inside the park such as the famous Fantasy Land (Dufan) amusement park, Sea World, Ocean Dream Samudra, Atlantis Water Adventures and the Art Market had remained closed as of Saturday.
However, PT Taman Wisata Candi, the operator of Borobudur Temple in Magelang district in Central Java province, Prambanan and Ratu Boko Temples in Yogyakarta, and Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) cultural park in Jakarta, confirmed that it has received the green light to reopen and operate whilst implementing screening using contact tracing mobile application.
The Taman Wisata Candi's Corporate Secretary Emilia Eny Utari has said that the decision on the operating permit was made for the tourist sites by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs on Sept. 7.
The reopening of the four destinations was because they have all obtained the Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environment Sustainability (CHSE) certificates from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, Utari said, adding that another reason is that they are located outdoor.
"We still haven't decided when the trial reopening will start, because we are still preparing the implementation process of the PeduliLindungi app. Right now, we're still awaiting the QR codes for the destinations. Once the codes are ready, trial reopening will be held," Utari said.
As of this week, Yogyakarta's (Prambanan temple) pandemic restrictions stay at level 3, the same with Magelang district (Borobudur and Ratu Boko temples), and Jakarta (Taman Mini Indonesia Indah).
In addition, popular tourist destinations Kawah Putih (White Crater) and Glamping Rancabali camping site in Bandung district in West Java province were also expected to reopen immediately, according to Bandung district head Dadang Supriatna.
"We still don't have the detail, but we will announce it soon," Supriatna said on Thursday in Bandung which has been implementing level 3 restrictions since the start of this week.
On Sept. 6, the Indonesian government decided to extend its public activity restrictions on the country's most populated island of Java and famous tourist destination of Bali for another week, and as for some regions outside the two islands, the restrictions are extended until Sept. 20.
The PPKM policy has been imposed by the government in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases from late June to July, driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
On Saturday, Indonesia reported 5,001 newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases with 270 more deaths, according to the Health Ministry. In total, there have been 4.16 million COVID-19 cases reported and 138,701 deaths in the country since March last year. Enditem