Souvenir sales have experienced a sharp fall in Padang following recently implemented baggage fees by budget airlines, according to a survey conducted by the Padang Tourism Agency in West Sumatra.
“Tourists have to pay more, therefore they have to be more selective in reducing the gifts they buy,” Padang Tourism Agency head Medi Iswandi said in Padang on Thursday as quoted by tempo.
He said compared to the same period in 2018, there had been a 10 to 30 percent decline in sales of souvenirs in Padang.
The baggage fee policy is also seen to have had an impact on the occupancy rates of hotels in Padang.
“The average hotel occupancy rate also dropped by 30 percent from the same period last year,” Medi said.
He further added that the situation had caused four-star and three-star hotels to lower their rates to that equivalent to two-star hotels, resulting in the star-rated hotels losing guests.
Medi said shipping services had also felt the impact, as airlines also raised air cargo rates.
Meanwhile, one of the gift centers in Padang, Lubuk Buaya, is quieter than usual.
According to Vera, a cashier, there had been a decrease in turnover of up to 30 percent per day. “If in a day we usually sell up to Rp 10 million [US$ 716], now it’s only around Rp 7 million since the paid baggage policy was applied,” she said.
Abdul, a Padang resident who regularly flies to Jakarta, said he had become more selective in carrying goods due to the newly-introduced baggage fee policy.
“Usually, besides carrying a suitcase, I also carry a cardboard box of souvenirs. I won’t buy souvenirs for now since the [baggage fees] are higher than the purchase price,” he said.