TEMPO.CO, Batam – Indonesia’s travel bubble program for Batam and Bintan with Singapore will kick-start on Friday, Feb.18, as the Singaporean authority finally allowed its citizens to spend a vacation in Batam City.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore closed its borders to travelers of the two countries.
Riau Islands Governor Ansar Ahmad said the first ship of tourists will dock at the Batam port on Friday. “Our efforts for more than 1,5 years for the travel bubble have finally paid off,” he said on Sunday, Feb. 13.
“I received news from Andy Fong, the chair of Nongsa Sensation (resorts association), that the first ship of tourists will arrive on Friday, Feb. 18,” Ansar announced, hoping that everything will run smoothly.
Riau Islands Tourism Agency head Buralimar also confirmed that the first ferry carrying Singaporean tourists will depart from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Port at 3 p.m. local time or 2 p.m. Western Indonesian Time (WIB). “The ship will dock at Nongsa Pura Harbor at 2:40 p.m.,” he explained.
Additionally, the Batam fast ferry will operate daily from Nongsa Pura to Singapore at 1 p.m. WIB and vice versa at 3 p.m. Singaporean time. However, Buralimar said the schedule is subject to changes depending on conditions in the travel bubble area.
The trial of the Batam and Bintan-Singapore travel bubble scheme had started on January 24, 2022. However, not a single Singaporean tourist has come to the Riau Islands until date because they waited for local authorities to issue permits for inter-state border traffic.
YOGI EKA SAHPUTRA