More tourists expected, but cruising facilities need upgrading

Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy are laying the foundations for Bintan and Batam, the two main draws of the country’s Riau Islands cluster, to establish a travel bubble with Singapore by April 2021.

Sandiaga Uno, minister of tourism and creative economy, said both resort islands are ready for a limited border reopening and that entry points Nongsa Point Marina and Bintan Lagoi are gearing up as “green zone destinations”.

Indonesia’s Bintan and Batam resort islands are working towards establishing a travel bubble with Singapore

“Both areas have limited access to the general public making it possible to implement a travel bubble,” he explained.

The government has built an app to track the movement of tourists in Nongsa and Bintan Lagoi.

Hotels, restaurants, and attractions in the destinations have been CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environment Sustainability) certified, but Batam is taking its health and safety efforts a step further by inviting Singapore authorities overseeing the SG Clean sanitation and hygiene standards assessment to review the implementation of health protocols in the region.

Edi Sutrisno, executive director of Batam Tourism and Promotion Board, told TTG Asia that securing an SG Clean endorsement was “important to convince Singaporeans to plan a holiday here”.

On Batam, every resort has dedicated quarantine rooms, and guests are given emergency contact numbers that are in operation round the clock, he added.

Indonesia’s declining number of Covid-19 infections alongside a vaccination roll-out for tourism workers has boosted confidence among Indonesian tourism stakeholders in welcoming Singapore travellers soon.

Sulaiman Shehdek, country manager of Visit Indonesia Tourism Office (VITO) Singapore, said: “We really are looking forward for this to happen (and) hope both governments can come to a common agreement for this bubble travel as Singapore residents are looking forward for holidays.”