No cancellation of proposed Riau Islands travel bubble with S'pore, contrary to earlier reports: Indonesia governor

Going ahead as planned.

Faris Alfiq | October 12, 2021, 10:47 AM

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The governor of the Riau Islands province of Indonesia, Ansar Ahmad, clarified on Oct. 10 that there had been no statement on the cancellation of the Singapore-Riau Islands travel bubble, CNN Indonesia reported.

His clarification came after Indonesian news agency Antara's report on Oct. 6, saying that the governor cited Singapore's high cases of Covid-19 infection as a reason to cancel the travel bubble arrangement.

Other regional news outlets also picked up on the news, including Malaysia's New Straits Times and Singapore's CNA and Mothership, all of whom quoted Antara.

Actually, Riau Islands ready to accept tourists

In its Oct. 6 report, Antara quoted the governor as saying, "We support the Lagoi tourism area to attract domestic tourists, as we are awaiting the government's decision on the travel bubble with Singapore for tourism and economic recovery in our region."

However, CNN Indonesia later reported that Ansar said the Riau Islands province is ready to accept foreign tourists.

"There has never been a statement from the Riau Islands province on cancelling the travel bubble. In fact, we encourage the travel bubble to materialise soon," Ansar said as quoted by Sindo News, seemingly refuting the earlier Antara report.

According to Republika, Ansar said he had never stated that there was any delay in the implementation of the travel bubble.

Travel bubble discussed 'for a long time'

Ansar explained that the issue has been discussed for "a long time" between the provincial and central governments.

The governor added that Indonesian President Joko Widodo instructed that Bali and Riau Islands open up for tourism as soon as possible to countries listed by the Indonesian government, according to Republika.

Indonesia's transport minister, Budi Karya Sumadi, also wants Batam and Tanjungpinang airports to be ready to accept international flights.

According to Jakarta Post, earlier in July, Indonesia's Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno announced that the Indonesian government had delayed plans to establish a travel corridor with Singapore as the number of Covid-19 cases was on the rise in both countries.

He said the tourism ministry will be focusing on opening travel corridors to Bali, Batam and Bintan, as these places are among the top travel destinations for Singaporeans.

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