Quarantine-free travel continued among Singapore and the close by Indonesian islands of Batam and Bintan on Monday, as the nations keep on prising open their borders notwithstanding rising Covid-19 cases. The travel bubble arrangement, which is available to fully-vaccinated and insured visitors, will assist with supporting the travel industry and different parts of the economy, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said in an online briefing. It covers individuals going via sea among Singapore and Nongsapura Ferry Terminal in Batam and Bintan Telani Port, he said.
Now Singapore and Indonesia are both following a strategy of trying to live with the virus, opening their borders more freely to those who are eligible. Singapore eased testing rules for vaccinated travelers last week, while Indonesia lifted a ban on all arrivals from overseas earlier this month, though they are still required to isolate for seven days.
Batam and Bintan were popular weekend getaways for Singapore residents prior to the pandemic. The coronavirus crisis has taken a toll. Overseas visitors to the two islands slumped 86% back in 2020, cutting the income of food and accommodation businesses by 41%, the government said last March. Bintan Lagoon Resorts closed down in 2020 as the flow of visitors dried up.
The new travel arrangement with Batam and Bintan will be reviewed every week, said Luhut Panjaitan, who is in charge of Indonesia’s pandemic response.
Indonesia is also in talks with Japan and India for a similar travel arrangement, according to Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno in a separate briefing.
Japan and India Travel Talks
Flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia will start flying direct to India from Bali, Uno said. Direct flights to the island are expected to pick up in the second and third quarter, he added.
The loosening of curbs comes as Indonesia prepares to host international events this year, including the Group of 20 Summit in Bali as well as the MotoGP championship. A separate travel bubble is being arranged for the crews, the racers, officials and technicians staying in Mandalika, where the event will be held, said Uno.
Indonesia reported 3,205 new coronavirus cases Saturday, a four-month high, with more than half of those registered in the capital Jakarta.
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