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Singapore-Batam-Bintan 'travel corridor' meant for Singapore tourists only: Indonesian minister

Channel News Asia - March 22, 2021

Kiki Siregar, Jakarta – Indonesia's tourism minister Sandiaga Uno said on Monday (Mar 22) that the proposed "safe travel corridor" between Singapore, Batam and Bintan is meant to attract those from the city state to holiday in Indonesia and not vice versa.

In a press conference, he said: "We are not including Indonesian citizens going to Singapore (via the safe travel corridor) because we want people from Singapore to come to Indonesia."

"That is what the tourism and creative economy ministry is focused on, how tourists can come here, not for (Indonesian) tourists to go abroad," he added.

This came after he said over the weekend that preparations can begin for a "safe travel corridor" between Singapore, Batam Nongsa and Bintan Lagoi.

The Nongsa area in Batam and Lagoi area in Bintan are popular resort destinations for Singaporeans. He also suggested that the travel corridor can begin on Apr 21.

Commenting on the proposed implementation details of the travel corridor, he said on Monday that three spots in Batam and two in Bintan can be visited by tourists safely amid the pandemic.

Mr Uno said that the areas will be sealed, but domestic tourists who have been vaccinated and show a negative COVID-19 test result may enter the premises.

"As long as they are in the bubble... Indonesian citizens who are there must have been vaccinated, and go through routine testing both at admission (to the premises) and also periodically."

Among the five proposed places to be sealed includes a golf course in Batam, he said.

The minister said that talks have been ongoing with Singapore. "The discussion with Singapore continues, led by minister of foreign affairs of course. And I previously had several discussions."

"My hope is that with the visit of the Singaporean foreign minister to Jakarta this week, we can push this discussion further. Hopefully, this can be finalised," said Mr Uno.

Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan is scheduled to make an official visit to Indonesia later this week. (CNA/ks)

Source: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/singapore-batam-bintan-safe-travel-corridor-sandiaga-uno-1446396