This year, Indonesian Minister for Transportation Freddy Numberi expects the number of people making the yearly trek to their respective hometowns over the Eid holidays to reach 15.4 million people, up 14.14% compared to last year’s 14.8 million, reported Antara News.
The big exodus is expected to take place during two weeks – that is the 7 days prior to the end of the fasting month and lasting until 7 days after – from August 23 to September 7, 2011. The first 10 days comprise the outbound surge, while the last 4 days will see the crowds rushing back to work in the big cities.
Outbound and inbound ticket sales on preferred trains have long been sold out. Airlines, including Garuda Indonesia, Batavia Air, and Indonesia AirAsia are adding extra flights on domestic and international routes, mostly between Jakarta-Bali and Jakarta-Surabaya, while international airlines including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, adn China Airlines are adding flights to Singapore, Taiwan, Hongkong and China. Altogether, there will be a total of 176 extra flights with a capacity of 62,106 seats on domestic routes and 187 on international routes seating 65,078 during this period.
The Transportation Ministry estimates total air passengers alone during the 2-week Lebaran holidays to reach 2.4 million, rising 15% compared to last year’s 2.1 million passengers. Traffic will concentrate around 24 airports expected to be busiest during this period.
The Ministry has warned airlines not to exceed normal maximum fares during this peak period.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that an expected 5 million people will be traveling out of the capital city, Jakarta. Most will travel overland within Java, while 15% to 18% are expected to travel to Bali, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, and other islands. For this purpose, the Ministry will distribute road maps that include tour packages especially for islands beyond Java.
Celebrating the end of the Ramadhan fasting month – known as Lebaran – it is a “must” in Indonesian tradition to spend Eid together with kith and kin in one’s hometown or village. For this purpose, the millions working in cities will make the obligatory trek home, disregarding hardships in traveling.
To prepare for this spike in the number of traveling public, the government has in the past month paved main roads, prepared extra trains and coaches, while airlines have asked for extra flights on domestic and international routes. Meanwhile, Pertamina ensures that fuel pumps along the routes are filled to the brim to serve the thousands of cars on the road. During this period, hotels in the more rural areas will be packed, while hotels in cities will be filled with families, especially those with small kids, who find themselves suddenly without their usual home help.
This is also the time when resorts in Bali, Yogya, beaches, and mountains all over Indonesia will be packed and fully booked. Meanwhile, those not traveling, will spend the holidays in recreation parks, zoos, and malls, which will be similarly packed.
Considering that so many will be on the road during this two-week period, visitors to Indonesia are advised to make sure that hotel and flight reservations are confirmed.