Batam (ANTARA) - Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, has said that the Nongsa Area in Batam city is ready to implement a travel bubble policy with Singapore.

"Nongsa is ready. Batam is ready for the travel bubble," the minister said after visiting the Nongsa tourist area in Batam city, Riau Islands, on Friday.

He said he has reported Nongsa's readiness to the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs.

"It has been decided; the Coordinating Minister will announce it on 24 (January 2022)," the minister informed.

Currently, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy is finalizing the travel bubble policy regulation, he said. An official announcement will be made next week, before the implementation of the Indonesia-Singapore Leaders Retreat, he added.

The application of the travel bubble policy would bring travel rules into one package, Uno said.

And for the time being, the application of Singapore's travel bubble with Nongsa and Lagoi will be limited to arrivals by sea, not air, he informed.

"At the coordination meeting last week, the Governor had brought up the airport issue, but at this time, we will enforce the travel bubble at the port,” the minister said.

Related news: Govt plans first 'travel bubble' with Singapore on Bintan Island

The travel bubble policy will be implemented in Lagoi area in Bintan district and Nongsa district in Batam city, he added. The implementation of the travel bubble will continue to be evaluated, he said.

As the pandemic is still under control, it is expected that other regions can implement the travel bubble, Uno added.

Currently, Batam has quarantine facilities with 2,712 beds, but it requires 2,750 additional beds, he noted.

"The fact is that there are more PMI (migrant workers) arrivals than non-PMI, and hotels are less used (as quarantine sites) than state-owned facilities," deputy for emergency management at the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Maj. Gen. Fajar Setyawan, said earlier.

According to the task force, the bed occupancy at quarantine facilities among migrant workers, students, and civil servants in Batam has reached 95 percent, while the rate in hotels is just 32 percent, he noted.

Until now, the task force has not detected Omicron infections among international travelers arriving in the city, Setyawan said.

Related news: Riau Islands-Singapore "travel bubble" scheme cancelled: governor

Translator: Yuniati J, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Suharto
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