Top News Indonesia reopens Riau islands for Singapore travellers By Mimi Hudoyo / Posted on 25 January, 2022 9:50 Indonesia has launched a Safe Travel Bubble Arrangement between Singapore and two Riau islands – Batam and Bintan – on January 24 in a bid to restart the once-thriving tourism industry in the two resort destinations. The two islands have been approved for reopening as they are rated Community Activity Restrictions (PPKM) Level One, which indicates low local infection and hospitalisation incidences. At the same time, hotels and facilities in Bintan’s Lagoi and Batam’s Nongsa areas are certified under the country’s Clean, Health, Safety, and Environment (CHSE) certification programme. Bintan’s Lagoi (pictured) and Batam’s Nongsa qualify for Indonesia’s Safe Travel Bubble programme, and are allowed to welcome fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore Announcing the move on Monday, Sandiaga Uno, minister of tourism and creative economy, said: “The Safe Travel Bubble for Riau Islands has been prepared for more than a year, and we can declare now that Lagoi and Nongsa are more than ready to become the travel bubble zones for travellers from Singapore.” He expressed hopes that the decision to reopen the islands for tourism would stimulate economic recovery, create job opportunities and send “positive signals that we have handled the pandemic well”. Travellers using the Safe Travel Bubble must enter Batam via the Nongsapura ferry terminal and Bintan via the Bentan Telani ferry terminal, stated a circular issued by Indonesia’s Covid-19 Task Force. They must also make an advanced reservation at one of the hotels in Lagoi or Nongsa, and restrict their stay and activities within these areas. To qualify for the Safe Travel Bubble, travellers must have completed two vaccinations, show a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result taken within 72 hours to arrival, hold a travel insurance with S$30,000 (US$21,951) of coverage, as well as download and use the Peduli Lindungi and Blue Pass applications. Sandiaga said ferry services at Bentan Telani will be gradually increased to support the Safe Travel Bubble. For a start, the terminal will offer one trip per day, taking in 50 to 100 passengers. Operations will be intensified to eight trips per day, with up to 500 travellers in total daily capacity. Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, coordinating minister of maritime affairs and investment, said the implementation of the programme would be monitored weekly, and reversed should Covid-19 cases rise.