Batam city's tourism industry remains vibrant amid fear of coronavirus

Batam city's tourism industry remains vibrant amid fear of coronavirus

Head of the Batam City Administration's Cultural and Tourism Office Ardiwinata (ANTARA/Naim)

The Batam City Administration has worked with related stakeholders of tourism industry to prepare a strategy for attracting more local tourists to substitute the Chinese tourists
Batam, Riau (ANTARA) - The tourism industry in Batam city, Riau Islands Province, remains vibrant amid global fear of China's novel coronavirus outbreak that has reportedly killed at least 362 people, a local government official revealed.

"Batam city's tourism industry still runs normally," Head of the Batam City Administration's Cultural and Tourism Office Ardiwinata said here on Monday.

Ardiwinata said he did not receive any information on foreign travelers wanting to postpone their visits to Batam following the new coronavirus outbreak that firstly struck the Chinese city of Wuhan several a few weeks ago.

The Chinese tourists' planned visits to Batam, Indonesia's waterfront city which shares a sea border with Singapore, had been cancelled following the Indonesian Government's temporary ban on those from mainland China for halting the spread of the deadly virus.

The number of Chinese tourists coming to Batam was not significant compared to those of Singapore and Malaysia. Therefore, this situation would not significantly affect the total number of foreign tourist arrivals in the city, he said.

The Batam City Administration has worked with related stakeholders of tourism industry to prepare a strategy for attracting more local tourists to substitute the Chinese tourists whose planned travels had been cancelled, he added.

On Sunday, President Joko Widodo held a limited meeting at the Halim Perdana Kusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta with several cabinet members as well as national police and military chiefs following the evacuation of 238 Indonesians and five members of an advance team from China's Hubei Province.

Speaking to journalists following the meeting, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the Indonesian Government would have placed a temporary ban on flights to and from mainland China since 00:00 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

All visitors, coming in from mainland China and been there for 14 days, were also temporarily banned from entering or making a transit in Indonesia, she noted.

In the interim, the government has also put a stop to the visa-free policy and issuance of visa on arrival for Chinese nationals residing in Mainland China. Indonesian nationals are advised to not travel to mainland China.

Garuda Indonesia has suspended its flights to and from China since Wednesday at 00:00 a.m. local time to support the Indonesian government's endeavors to halt the spread of coronavirus outbreak.

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