Bintan, Batam awaiting green light to reopen

Bintan and Batam, the two main draws of the Riau Islands in Indonesia, are ready to restart, with safety and cleanliness protocols firmly in place, and are awaiting state authorities to lift the international travel ban.

Speaking at the Riau Island – Keeping Up and Ready for New Normal webinar, organised by Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Bintan Resort Cakrawala group general manager Abdul Wahab shared that there is a dedicated Covid-19 task force in Riau Islands province to ensure good hygiene and safety practices.

Bintan resorts scrub up in preparation for the return of tourists; Cempedak Private Island pictured

Each resort on the island has dedicated quarantine rooms, and guests will be given emergency contact numbers that will be operational 24/7, he said.

He also shared that the sea transfers to Bintan and Batam as well as all public transportations are limited to 50 per cent capacity, for social distancing purposes.

Other safety precautions include physical distancing markings at all public areas, mandatory wearing of face masks, and temperature checks at all public areas.

Andika Lim, chairman of the Association of the Indonesian Tours & Travel Agencies (ASITA) Riau Islands chapter, added: “ASITA had also organised several inspections to resorts, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and tourist destinations to make sure all the properties had implemented cleanliness, health and safety protocols.”

When leading tours, its members have also agreed to do temperature checks, wear face coverings and use hand sanitisers, with guests expected to do the same.

Last year, the top four tourism source markets for Riau Islands were Singapore, Malaysia, China and South Korea. He expected these four markets to continue being major contributors to the province’s tourism post-Covid.

Similarly, when Bintan Resorts reopens to international holidaymakers, Abdul expected the main markets will continue to be neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia FIT tourists including families, couples and honeymooners.

According to Riau Islands’ Covid-19 report, from March to June, Bintan and Batam recorded eight and 219 Covid-19 cases, respectively.

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