Batam is one of the 3, 000 islands, which make up the Riau Archipelago and is closest to Singapore – just 20 km away or fifty minutes by sea. It has a rapid – rising population of around 1,000,000. As the island develops into a significant industrial and vacationer area, it attracts an ever increasing population from different Indonesian islands who see Batam as a haven of opportunity. According to the Wonderful Indonesia’s website –
“The island of Batam today is the third busiest entry port to Indonesia next to Bali and Jakarta. Situated so near to Singapore, it is a favorite resort for residents and international toursts in Singapore who wish to get closer to nature, relax for a short vacation of golf or sailing, enjoy mouth watering fresh seafood, luxuriate in a traditional royal spa, go shopping or just for family fun.”
There has been a number of new luxury resorts such as the Montigo resorts and even Fairmont group of hotels that are building hotels in Batam, Bintan and other Riau islands.
In fact, it was reported in The Jakarta Post’s article on Airports to Boost Tourism in Riau Islands – In September 2015, “Riau Islands had seen 1.5 million foreign tourists, a drop from 1.9 in the same month last year, due to the recent haze crisis. The central government target expects the province to bring a figure of 2.5 million this year and 4 million by 2019, in order to help the country’s overall annual visitor target of 20 million tourists.
Most, or 51.8 percent, of total foreign tourist arrivals to Riau Islands come from Singapore while 13.4 arrive from Malaysia. At present, the main purposes for visiting include shopping, sightseeing, health and beauty, visiting friends and eating.”
In terms of domestic tourism, more Indonesians are taking advantage of Batam’s close proximity to Malaysia and Indonesia as well as the growing facilities and housing to visit or have a second home in Batam.
According to The Jakarta Post in this article here,
“Batam is set to “become ‘tourism portal’ by 2015 Batam in the Riau Islands is set a target to become a “tourism portal” for western Indonesia in 2015, the local administration says. Batam has the potential to become a hub for tourism promotion for western Indonesian regions, Batam Mayor Ahmad Dahlan said Monday in Batam.
As such, more and more businesses are expanding into Batam to reach out to more people. TPM Outdoor has partnered with brands such as Resorts World Sentosa, SingTel and tourism health companies such as the Regency Specialist Hospital in Malaysia to reach Indonesians traveling out to Batam internationally.
From 2016 onward, Batam will develop to more than a gateway between Indonesia and Singapore, but perhaps a destination to rival great tourism islands such as Bali and Kodomo for Western Indonesia in future!