Indonesia is doubling down on its efforts to retain and grow
Singapore as a visitor source market, starting with a trade conference
in the Lion City to re-engage the travel industry.
Singapore has been a priority market and will remain a key focus for
Indonesia's tourism recovery efforts, revealed Indonesian minister for
tourism and creative economy Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno during the trade
conference on 30 September.
Between January to July 2022, Indonesia’s top three markets hailed
from Australia (153,000), Singapore (153,000) and Malaysia (107,500).
But more could be done to unlock Indonesia's potential as a tourism
destination since its reopening in April, and the country's officials
intend to tap into the Singapore market for that.
“Yes, there're still limited flights and visa issues," said Sandiaga,
"but we are realising that post-pandemic tourism trends point to travel
which is more personalised, localised, customised and smaller in size.”
From left: Sulaiman Shehdek, country manager, Wonderful Indonesia Tourism Office; and Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, minister of tourism and creative economy
While Indonesia is a popular holiday and weekend destination, access
to the country is not equally felt across travellers from Singapore.
Many permanent residents, foreign workers and expatriates who call
the Lion City home also want to travel to nearby countries without the
hassle of applying for a visa. Many of Singapore’s permanent residents,
for instance, visit Bintan or Batam at least once a month, with some
even planning a day trip just to play golf.
“I used to live here [in Singapore], and I understand that many
people who live here may not hold Singapore passports,” said Sandiaga.
Therefore, despite the Indonesian government reintroducing its visa
on arrival scheme for foreign nationals with passports from 86 countries
and regions, the Singapore and Indonesia tourism stakeholders present
at the conference requested for special dispensation to be given to
Singapore residents whose passports are not eligible for Indonesia’s
visa on arrival (VOA) scheme.
If Indonesia implements a short-term visa on arrival spanning five to
seven days, the move may exponentially increase the appeal for this
untapped Singapore market.
Among industry players advocating for this concept was Michael Goh,
president and head of international sales of Resorts World Cruises
(RWC). “The majority of Resorts World Cruises’ passengers are foreigners
who do not hold Singapore passports," he said, "and with RWC’s upcoming
sailing to Bali and Surabaya on 18 December with 4,000 passengers
onboard, 60% of which are foreigners, the visa is quite pressing for
them to conveniently disembark at these ports of call, spurring more
tourism spend at these locales."