Government AffairsThe quarantine-free travel arrangement will serve as a prototype in a "limited and controlled" manner for fully-vaccinated Singapore travellers.

Just in: Batam-Bintan-Singapore bubble officially floats up

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The blue lake at Gurun Pasir Busung, Bintan Island.
The blue lake at Gurun Pasir Busung, Bintan Island. Photo Credit: Facebook/Bintan Resorts

President Joko Widodo has approved a plan to launch the Batam-Bintan-Singapore (BB-S) bubble, although no official start date has been announced yet. 

"The President has agreed to start the implementation of the BB-S travel bubble as a prototype to start the economic opening, especially tourism in a limited and controlled scheme," said Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, while leading a virtual coordination meeting on Wednesday, 19 January 2022.

Under the bubble, travellers from Singapore will enter via Nongsapura ferry terminal in Batam, and Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal in Bintan.

Conditions for entry include proof of full vaccination, having stayed in Singapore for at least 14 days prior to arrival in Indonesia, visa for non Singapore citizens, and two PCR tests taken — once within three days from departing Singapore, and again upon arrival in Indonesia.

Travellers must also take up insurance worth S$30,000 (US$22,300), and commit to using the PeduliLindungi and Bluepass apps — the Indonesian equivalents of Singapore's TraceTogether app — for contact tracing purposes.

While in Indonesia, international travellers are also allowed to interact only with tourists or parties within one travel bubble area, and carry out activities in predetermined zones in accordance with set itineraries.

Masking up is not only mandatory, they must also be changed every four hours.

Nonetheless, Pauline Suharno, chair of ASTINDO (Indonesian Travel Agents Association), who is also commissioner and director of Elok Tour, sees the news as a good "chance" for agents, especially since the BB-S requires zero quarantine — whereas fully-vaccinated travellers who fly into Bali still have to do a 7-day quarantine.

Due to strict border controls and the Denpasar airport which remained closed for the first 10 months of the year, Bali received just 45 international visitors in 2021, according to the Central Statistics Bureau of Bali in a CNN report.

Suharno adds "the government just added Juanda Airport Surabaya in Sidoarjo Regency, East Java, early this year as an international gateway to Indonesia. Hopefully it will follow with more flights to Indonesia."

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