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Travel & Leisure

Pandemic keeps Jakarta walking tour operators on their toes

Overseas tourist base dries up, but curious young locals extend welcome lifeline

Walking tour operators in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta have found ways to keep them going during the pandemic. (Source photos courtesy of Wisata Kreatif Jakarta and Jakarta Good Guide)

JAKARTA -- Before COVID, up to 95% of freelance Jakarta tour guide Cindy Tan's clients were foreigners, mainly from Europe. But since then, fewer than 10 expatriates have used her services as Indonesia welcomed a far lower number of overseas visitors due to pandemic restrictions.

Tan, who has conducted tours around the country's capital since 2017, would take 20 to 30 such customers on each one before the onset of the global health crisis. Now, middle-class Indonesians account for almost all of them on her four weekend tours -- two each on Saturday and Sunday -- spanning two hours each.

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