Indonesia to Reopen More Locations to Singapore Travelers

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Indonesia has added Batam and Bintan to a travel corridor arrangement with Singapore that would allow foreign visitors back in the resort islands for the first time during the pandemic, according to Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno.

Tourism sites in Nongsa in Batam and Lagoi in Bintan will be reopened on April 21, under very strict health protocols, Uno said in a March 20 statement on the ministry’s website. Travelers will have to produce a negative PCR test prior to departure to prove that they are free of Covid-19 infection and undergo another test upon arrival to confirm the result. Eligible overseas visitors may be issued a special travel visa to join the program, Uno said.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy has started to ease restrictions to spur the economy after gross domestic product shrank last year for the first time in two decades due to the coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak has infected nearly 1.5 million Indonesians and killed around 40,000 in the country, the worst in Southeast Asia. The corridor arrangement is the second after Bali, which the minister said could be reopened as soon as June.

GDP may fall between 0.1% to 1% in the first quarter as prolonged restrictions hurt spending, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said in a briefing Tuesday.

Overseas visitors to Batam and Bintan fell 86% last year, which cut income for the food and accommodation businesses in the area by 41%, Uno said, adding that a sufficient number of industry workers will have to be vaccinated when they reopen the areas.

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