Jakarta (ANTARA) - Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno reiterated Indonesia's readiness to welcome tourists from China, as the country will reopen its borders on January 8.

"(Indonesia's readiness is due to) the COVID-19 pandemic situation that has been under control, and Indonesia's immunity level (against COVID-19) is also above 98 percent. Moreover, President Joko Widodo, on Friday (December 30, 2022), officially revoked the public activities restriction policy," Uno stated during the weekly brief with Uno here, Wednesday.

While COVID-19 Handling Task Force Circular No. 25, dated September 1, 2022, remains the basis to regulate overseas arrivals to Indonesia, relevant ministries and institutions would continue to coordinate to devise better regulations on account of the improving conditions, he remarked.

"(In addition), we will welcome Chinese tourists openly while remaining prudent," Uno affirmed.

The minister then noted that some Chinese airlines serving international flights, such as Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern, have requested the Indonesian authority to be allowed to operate direct flights from China to Jakarta and Bali.

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Meanwhile, national airlines, such as Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and Batik Air, are expected to cater to the increasing demand for flights to Indonesia, he stated.

Direct flights would facilitate Chinese tourists' visits to Indonesia, as they usually should transit through Changi International Airport in Singapore to board connecting flights to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta and I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, he noted.

Moreover, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) recorded that Indonesia welcomed only 94,924 tourists from China and Hong Kong during the January-October 2022 period, a sharp decline from 2.07 million tourists in 2019, he said.

"Hence, we are confident that this year's Chinese tourists' target of 253 thousand would be achieved," Uno remarked.

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Translator: M Baqir Idrus A, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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