Indonesians are prepared to talk about the possibility of expanding the bilateral Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) to more destinations, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared during the media doorstop held after the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders' Retreat in Bintan was concluded on Jan. 25.
He shared that even as both countries may not be ready to implement it at the moment, he invited Indonesia to discuss this so that when the conditions are suitable, both countries are able to do so.
Indonesia wants the travel bubble to be a success
PM Lee said that Singapore has opened up to travel from Jakarta through the VTL unilaterally.
As for Indonesia, they have initiated a travel bubble to Batam and Bintan.
He added that Indonesia would like to make the travel bubble a success so more Singaporeans will visit the islands.
"We will discuss with them to see how we can expedite things," he said
Covid-19 situation in Singapore and Indonesia "not completely synchronised"
However, he added that opening up further will depend on the Covid-19 situation in both countries as Indonesia's Covid-19 situation "is not completely synchronised" with Singapore's.
"When our Covid-19 numbers are high, like now, and their Covid-19 numbers are lower than ours, they are naturally concerned about us," PM Lee said.
"Sometimes our Covid-19 numbers are low, and their Covid-19 numbers are higher than ours, which had happened, and then we are concerned about them," he added.
As such, for both countries to open up at the same time, it is not easy.
Nonetheless, Singapore has taken the step to open up with Jakarta, while Indonesia has taken this step with Batam and Bintan, PM Lee said.
Travel bubble announced
On Jan. 24, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economy, Airlangga Hartato, said during a press conference that travellers from Singapore can enter the islands of Batam and Bintan without quarantine.
Visitors, however, can only interact with those in the travel bubble zone and enjoy the activities within the bubble according to their itinerary.
Hartato said that the travel bubble was announced to drive tourism in Batam and Bintan, adding that the Covid-19 situation in both islands has been stable.
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