Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands (ANTARA) - Batam Island will welcome the first tourist ferry from Singapore on February 18 after the Singaporean maritime authority gave the go-ahead to reopen the ferry route to the province, Riau Islands Governor Ansar Ahmad stated.

"Praise be to God, our struggles for a year and a half to develop a travel bubble scheme have reaped rewards. I was informed by the Nongsa Sensation consortium chairperson Andy Fong that the first tourist ferry will arrive on February 18," Ahmad noted in Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands, on Monday.

The governor will personally welcome the tourists on the first arrival batch that would be vacationing in the Nongsa region, Batam Island.

"I will personally welcome the foreign tourists along with colleagues from the tourism association. We are optimistic of everything going smoothly until the arrival," he remarked.

Meanwhile, Riau Islands Tourism Office Head Buralimar affirmed that the Nongsa Sensation consortium had notified the authority that the first tourist ferry will depart from Singapore's Tanah Merah Port at 3 p.m. Singaporean time (UTC +8) and will arrive at Nongsapura Port at 2:40 p.m. local time (UTC +7) in a 40-minute cruise.

After the first arrival, the Batamfast ferry service is expected to operate daily, with departure from Nongsapura to Singapore at 1 p.m. local time and departure from Singapore to Nongsapura at 3 p.m. local time, he noted.

"If adjustments are requested from the travel bubble region, the ferry service will be adjusted accordingly," the tourism office head remarked.

Buralimar stated that the Singaporean Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) had issued several directives to regulate departures from Singapore to Riau Islands.

Tourists departing from Singapore are instructed to stay for 14 days in Singapore prior to departure, with two COVID-19 PCR tests, with negative results each required before and after the departure, he noted.

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Singaporean tourists are also instructed to pay a S$30-thousand (US$22,2 thousand) insurance bundled with the ferry ticket, the office head revealed.

"Upon arrival at Nongsapura Port in Batam, tourists must also register their e-HAC and PeduliLindungi accounts," he stated.

Singaporean tourists are required only to undergo a COVID-19 antigen test before returning home, yet they must undergo self-isolation for seven days after their arrival back to Singapore, Buralimar noted.

The tourism office head also confirmed that he will be present at the Nongsa Sensation locations to monitor preparations for welcoming Singaporean tourists.

Related news: Tourists using travel bubble need health insurance cover: official

Translator: Ogen, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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