Indonesia wooing Singaporeans to visit Batam, Bintan

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To encourage more Singaporeans to visit the islands of Batam and Bintan, the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism has worked with Indonesian tour agents to offer tour packages at more affordable prices.

Those travelling from Singapore to Batam, for example, will get discounted Batam Fast ferry tickets at $20 instead of $48 if they sign up for one of 250 tour packages.

These packages, which include hotel promotions as well as spa and golfing promotions, will last till the end of the year.

Indonesia's Tourism Ministry said it was also keen to attract Singaporean tourists to visit the islands on weekdays.

There will be a further discount on tour packages booked during these non-peak periods.

Ms Rizki Handayani, director of promotion for South-east Asia at the Indonesian Tourism Ministry, said the government had been working with ferry operators and tour agencies to create these special packages.

"As added value, tourists can also enjoy coffee and traditional snacks on the ferry," she said.

In August, The Jakarta Post quoted Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya as saying they were targeting an additional 100,000 tourists to Bintan and Batam islands from Singapore and Malaysia with this programme.

Conversely, Singapore has been looking to grow its passenger traffic from Batam. In May, Changi Airport started running shuttle buses to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to woo Indonesian travellers to use the airport as a gateway for international travel. - THE STRAITS TIMES