Batam Ready To Welcome Essential Travellers Once Reciprocal Green Lane With Singapore Opens
Just a short 45 minutes ferry ride away, Batam is a familiar getaway destination for Singaporeans.
Harbourfront Ferry Terminal
Though popular with casual visitors and tourists, the island will only be welcoming essential travellers after applications begin next Monday (26 Oct).
With Batam as one of the entry points for Indonesia and Singapore’s reciprocal green lane, the holiday destination is getting ready to receive visitors for the first time in months.
Batam gets ready to welcome essential travellers
The Covid-19 pandemic has put a halt to travels between Singapore and Indonesia since March this year.
Now, as Singapore business travellers plan their upcoming visits to Batam, the island is also preparing to welcome them.
At Batam Centre Ferry Terminal, the installation of Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test equipment is underway, reported The Straits Times (ST).
Batam Centre Ferry Terminal
Officials have also conducted dry runs of arrival procedures, to ensure that every point of administration including the following run smoothly:
- disembarking the vessel
- taking the Covid-19 swab test
- moving to the respective hotels
Further precautions like sanitisation of public areas and repainting of handrails will also be in place.
Travels between Singapore & Indonesia to begin soon
The agreement between Singapore and Indonesia on a travel green lane came on 12 Oct, ahead of applications which start on 26 Oct.
According to ST, applicants must be Indonesian citizens, Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents (PRs) to qualify.
They will also need a sponsorship from an Indonesian government or business, and a valid visa.
Similarly, travellers from Indonesia must receive sponsorship from a government agency or business here.
In all cases, they must have proof of negative Covid-19 tests from a recognised health institution before departing and after arriving.
Chance at revival for tourism-dependant Batam
The resumption of essential travels with Singapore is a bright spot for Indonesia as their struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic rages on.
Border closures had hit tourism-dependant Batam hard, leaving empty malls and eateries closing for good, reports ST.
Pre-pandemic, the Batam International Port welcomed about 5,000 travellers from Singapore and Malaysia everyday. At its peak, these numbers reached about 15,000.
Batam Centre Ferry Terminal
While the green lane is expected to beckon the arrival of only 300 travellers in the first month, the number is still a relief after 7 months’ worth of losses.
Travellers will be able to book rooms at roughly 10 hotels, which are getting ready to host them soon.
A crucial first step to economic recovery
All around the world, economies are taking a big hit from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Opening Singapore up to essential business travels is a crucial first step towards our recovery. As of now, Singapore has already set up green lanes with countries such as Malaysia and China. We are also gradually loosening travel restrictions with other countries.
As things begin to look up, we can only hope that with everyone observing safety protocols, one day, leisure travels will be on the horizon too.
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