Riau Islands Hopes for Sea Routes to Open as Singapore-Indonesia VTL
Bintan, Batamnews - Singapore and Indonesia have agreed to open each other's entrances for tourists with the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) system.
The policy is effective from November 29, 2021, but only through air transportation, namely Singapore Changi Airport - Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta Airport.
The Head of the Riau Islands Tourism Office (Dispar), Buralimar, said he was very pleased with the opening of the entrance between the two countries. However, it is through Jakarta, while so far foreign tourists who come to Riau Islands use sea transportation.
"So far, foreign tourists who enter Riau Islands. Both Batam and Bintan by sea instead of air. So to Jakarta, it is very far, so we propose that the door can be opened via sea transportation, namely to the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal (BBT) Lagoi," said Buralimar in Lagoi, Sunday (11/21/2021).
If the entrance to Bintan Resort Lagoi is opened as wide as possible, thousands of foreign tourists will certainly come because they have long been confined in their own country due to COVID-19. Of course, stay on the VTL line and then also according to the health protocol (prokes).
Bintan Resort has also provided 6,000 blue passes for foreign tourists visiting here. Then all other facilities such as PCR equipment, isolation rooms and have also collaborated with the Covid-19 Task Force.
"At least travel agents from Singapore who come here first. They will see firsthand what Bintan Resort has prepared and then they will also explain to Singapore. So that tourists can get complete information regarding the readiness of Bintan Resort," he explained.
Group General Manager (GGM) of PT BRC, Abdul Wahab, said that Singapore and Indonesia have opened their doors of course through VTL. However, foreign tourists from neighboring countries can go to Indonesia via Jakarta.
"We hope it can be implemented soon. If possible they (tourists) enter via sea transportation from Singapore's Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Lagoi BBT Ferry Terminal," he said.
VTL applied in Singapore is mandatory for vaccines and PCR but without quarantine. So foreign tourists visiting Singapore must first do PCR in their country. Upon arrival in Singapore, they did PCR again, but the foreign tourists did not need to undergo quarantine.
Indonesia, especially Bintan Resort, proposed to get reciprocal. Because Bintan Resort has prepared everything. Both health protocols (prokes) and others so that guests from Singapore can come here via VTL.
"We together with the Governor of Riau Islands, Ansar Ahmad and the Regent of Bintan, Roby Kurniawan, have held meetings to propose the reciprocal," he explained.
If all the proposals are granted and the entrance to the Bintan Resort is opened. So 15 days before the scheduled reception, his party will bring in travel agents from Singapore and Indonesia, business actors, and journalists.
Through that moment, his party will convey and prove all preparations for VTL. Including health facilities and protocols (prokes) as well as actions to be taken if cases are found to be experienced by foreign tourists.
"They will see and witness firsthand how we prepare everything. Procedures for action and serving foreign tourists during this pandemic," he said.