Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - The Zika outbreak in Singapore has affected the tourism industry in Batam City, Riau Island Province, which shares border with Singapore.

"Singapore is an important country for Batam. If the current trend continues, foreign tourist arrivals will drop further," Head of the Batam City tourism and culture office, Yusfa Hendri, said here on Monday.

Travel advisories issued by several countries, such as Malaysia, Korea and Australia, over the Zika outbreak in Singapore, have an impact on Batam because most of the foreign tourists visiting Batam had entered from Singapore, he explained.

Since the tourists avoided going to Singapore, they ended up skipping Batam also, he added.

According to information from the Batam immigration office, the number of foreign tourists coming from or going to Singapore has dropped lately, though he did not have the exact figure.

Hendri hoped that the government of Singapore would be able to deal with the Zika virus problem soon.

The Batam authorities have taken several measures to prevent the Zika virus from spreading to the city.

The local health office distributes health alert cards to passengers crossing by ferries from Singapore and wishing to enter Batam.

Upon arrival at the Batam seaport, they have to go through thermal scanners so that their body temperature can be checked.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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