Indonesia, Singapore delve into possibility of opening tourism access

Indonesia, Singapore delve into possibility of opening tourism access

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi (right) and Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) while issuing a joint press statement in Jakarta, Thursday (25/3/2021). (HO-Kemlu RI)

Once again, the health and security of visitors and the public are of the utmost importance.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia and Singapore are exploring the possibility of reopening the border between both nations to drive tourist arrivals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have discussed prudential preparations for the revival of the travel and tourism sector," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stated while divulging details of the outcome of a meeting with her Singaporean counterpart, Vivian Balakrishnan, here on Thursday.

The cooperation being explored by the two countries during the meeting comprise a pilot project for reopening their border in a secure, gradual, and prudential manner.

"Once again, the health and security of visitors and the public are of the utmost importance," Marsudi emphasized.

The minister explained that both countries began contemplating on reviving tourism activities on account of a decline in the COVID-19 caseload and progress in the implementation of the vaccination program in the two countries.

The Indonesian government has, so far, administered the COVID-19 vaccine to some nine million people, with an average of 500 thousand people vaccinated on a daily basis, Marsudi stated.

However, the minister cautioned that the two countries should not become inattentive on account of the positive trend, but on the contrary, they should work harder to unitedly recover from the pandemic.

Balakrishnan warmly welcomed the possibility of the two nations reviving the tourism sector that had borne the brunt of the pandemic.

As Indonesia's close neighbor, Singapore is sentient of the importance of fostering cooperation between the two nations in various sectors to usher in economic recovery.

"The past one year has been a very challenging period for Singapore and Indonesia due to COVID-19. However, I believe that we have been successful in our collaboration to tide through the common crisis, to save lives, and work hard to curtail the economic impact on the people (of the two countries)," Balakrishnan affirmed.

While reiterating Singapore's commitment to maintaining sound ties with Indonesia, Balakrishnan highlighted the plan of both nations’ leaders to meet directly to deliberate on ways to intensify multisectoral cooperation.

"The meeting of the (two) leaders will be continued this year. They will meet directly and have a complete agenda to discuss," he remarked while falling short of revealing the exact date of the retreat.

Since October 2020, Indonesia and Singapore have applied the travel corridor arrangement (TCA) to facilitate official and essential business travels. The move is part of the efforts of both nations to revive the economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.