JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia opened up two islands close to Singapore to visitors from the city-state on Monday, officials said, as part of calibrated moves to reboot its tourism sector while controlling the spread of COVID-19.
Singaporeans can visit Batam and Bintan islands approximately 15 km (9.32 miles) and 30 km away respectively providing they are vaccinated against COVID-19, they undergo tests and have insurance coverage, authorities said.
The two islands were hugely popular vacation spots among Singaporeans prior to the pandemic.
The move follows Indonesia’s reopening of its holiday island Bali https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/doubts-over-demand-eve-indonesias-bali-reopening-2021-10-13 to foreign tourists in October.
It was not immediately clear how the arrangement will be implemented in both countries.
Singapore has made no announcement of the sea route reopening and its transport authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said the process could take time.
Once Asia’s COVID-19 epicentre, Indonesia has seen a rise in infections lately following months of containment, including from the Omicron variant. It reported its first two Omicron-related deaths on Saturday.
(Reporting by Stanley Widianto in Jakarta; Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Martin Petty)