Bintan Resorts and Sriwijaya Air have signed an MoU to jointly promote the destination, and are looking into developing a multi-destination concept connecting the resorts with Jogjakarta, Bali and Manado.
In the long run, Frans Gunara, vice president director of Bintan Resorts Cakrawala, expects between six and eight million arrivals per year into Bintan.
To achieve the goals, Bintan Resorts, supported by its holding company Gallant Venture Group, will develop infrastructure as well as accessibility to and from Bintan as gateway and destination.
Frans added that the resort company is hoping to grow its inventory from 1,700 rooms to 7,000 by 2020 and to 20,000 in the longer run.
As well, Bintan Aviation Investment is developing airport facilities in Bintan expected to finalise in 2018, while Sriwijaya Air is planning to make the airport one of its hubs, deploying some seven aircraft there. The airline is also planning to develop a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility there.
While Bintan is already a “shadow destination” for Singapore, Toto Nursatyo, commercial director of Sriwijaya Air, wants the destination to be known both for leisure and business events.
In fact, Bintan has become a destination for sporting events such as the Bintan Triathlon and the Annual BIE Games. This year, the island will host Ironman 70.3 World Championship Qualifying Race. This not only shows that the island has facilities to support various events, but also that companies can incorporate sporting events into their business event programmes.
Frans added: “We are looking to continue twinning with Singapore but in a different way. Now, travellers need to enter Singapore, go to Bintan and out from Singapore again. Those needing visas to the country, like the Chinese, they need multiple visas if they want to go to Bintan via Singapore.
“With improved access, they can enter Bintan visa free and out from Singapore with a single visa, by ferry – we are building a ferry terminal close to the airport.”
Commenting on the plan, Vincnt Jemadu, director of marketing development of Asia Pacific of the Ministry of Tourism, said: “China is a major market for Sriwijaya Air’s international services. We have suggested that the airline is taps the business event market from China as the market has been growing in the last few years.”
He added that the ministry was ready to support with a joint marketing funding should the airline open new routes between Bintan and China.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism targets for Batam and Bintan to contribute 24 per cent of the total arrivals to Indonesia in 2019, or 4.8 million visitors. Bintan alone last year received nearly 700,000 arrivals, and is targeting up to two million arrivals by 2019.