fbpx
Nongsa Beach in Batam, located in the northeast of the island / photo: indonesia-tourism.com

Batam worried that tourism may be negatively impacted by warning of Zika virus in Singapore

BATAM: Officials in Batam said on Wednesday (31 August) that local tourism might be negatively impacted by the travel advisories issued by some countries for visiting Singapore.

The Jakarta Post reported, the head of Batam Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies, Andika, said most tourists visit Riau Island's destinations of Batam, Bintan, and Karimun through Singapore. The warnings may impact the amount of tourist coming to Batam.

He said, “The impact of the travel warnings would be seen in the next 15 days,”

"We hope Singapore can soon handle Zika virus issues. The longer the problem, it will put us in a more difficult situation," Andika added.

Batam Pos, the local media, reported on Wednesday that caused by the discovery of Zika infections in Singapore, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan has issued travel warnings for citizens visiting Singapore.

On Tuesday this week, the United States joined in to give the same warning.

Riau Islands Tourism Agency head Guntur Sakti said tourists from South Korea and Taiwan are among the top foreign visitors to the province after those from Singapore, Malaysia, and India. Around 99 percent of Riau Islands’ annual two million foreign visitors entered via Singapore.

Guntur feared the province's target of 2.6 million foreign tourists this year might not be reached.

Besides the virus, the incident of the terrorist in Batam last month could also cause the reduction of visitors numbers, Guntur added.

Batam Pos also reported Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, said Indonesia should be aware of the spread of the Zika virus that is happening in Singapore.

"Our Embassy in Singapore is working to get information about the Indonesian citizens who are also infected Zika," said the Foreign Minister in the parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Wednesday.

Riau Islands Provincial Health Office is also providing information to the public on the transmission of the Zika virus.

The Provincial Health Director, Tjetjep Yudiana, said the Health Office are taking precautions in preventing the entry of this Zika virus.

"We put up a thermos scan at each port, and if there are passengers with symptoms of Zika, we will take their blood for examination, and they will be treated while waiting for laboratory results," he explained.