Jakarta’s post-election riots hit events at Ring One hotels

Protestors outside the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) office in Jakarta on May 22

The post-election riots that took place in Central Jakarta last week has brought about business events cancellations in some Ring One hotels, but business seems usual in other parts of the Indonesian capital.

The protests broke out in Jalan Thamrin, near the office of the Election Supervisory Body, before spreading to the neighbouring Tanah Abang, Petamburan, Wahid Hasyim and Sabang.

Protestors outside the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) office in Jakarta on May 22

Elsa Amalo, marketing communication manager for Millennium Hotel Sirih Jakarta – located in the Tanah Abang area – revealed that there were three event cancellations on May 22.

“It was mostly because guests were not sure which routes were open and if it was safe to get to the hotel,” she said.

Likewise, Pirantie Basa, director of sales Harris Vertu Yello Harmoni – which is located nearby the Presidential Palace and a few blocks away from the riot’s ground zero – said that her clients started calling for cancellations on May 22, a day after the first riots erupted.

“On May 21, all meeting and business events were as per normal. Cancellations started happening on May 22, with a total of seven cancelled. There was only one that ran,” Pirantie shared.

Pirantie added that some events have been tentatively postponed to June, but final decisions would only be made after the situation is back to normal.

In the meantime, hotels away from the riot locations, such as the Senayan area, have indicated that there was little impact.

Felicia Setiawan, director of marketing communications of Fairmont Jakarta, reported that most events were still on schedule, and participants kept coming, even though numbers were less than expected.

She shared that one small event organised by an international company with 30 participants was however, placed on hold.

“The event was cancelled due to heightened travel advisory by several countries, such as the UK, US, Canada, Singapore, and Malaysia,” she elaborated.

Indira Puliraja marketing communications manager of The Sultan Hotel & Residence claimed that the impact on their business was low as the riot erupted took place during the Ramadan, a traditionally low season for the hotel.

Although the riots are contained in an area in Central Jakarta, Krishnadi, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Jakarta Chapter acknowledged that the disruption could impact occupancy of hotels in the city, as well as tourism.

He said: “It depends on how long the protests continue for, how the government reacts, the efforts of the security forces in securing Jakarta, and the apprehension of the riot masterminds.”

But Krishnadi is confident that Jakarta will recover quickly given that the city has experienced worse previously.

“I think nowadays people realise (riots) can happen anywhere. People do not want to be intimidated, and most visitors to Jakarta are business travellers. So they will need to travel back to the city as soon as the situation is back to normal,” he concluded.

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