Riau Islands Governor Ansar Ahmad expressed his optimism that the target is achievable because, in 2022, Riau Islands’ international tourist arrivals reached 700 thousand, a drastic increase from the figure in 2021, which stood at 3,103.
“Before the pandemic, Riau Islands’ (yearly) international tourist arrivals stood at around 2.5 million. However, we need to be realistic now, considering that tourism has just started to revive,” he said here, Sunday.
He noted that in the 2020-2021 period, the province’s tourism was down due to the pandemic impact. However, in mid-2022, it started to revive after the central government reopened the country’s borders to international tourists.
Ahmad also noted that the revocation of the public activity restrictions (PPKM) in late 2022 has contributed to the revival of Riau Islands’ tourism.
“The main entry gates to Riau Islands for international tourists are ready to welcome them, such as Tanjungpinang, Batam, Bintan, and Karimun,” he said.
The governor said that the government would seek solutions to handle problems that can hinder the arrival of international tourists to Riau Islands.
One of the efforts that the government will make is proposing an increase in the status of Tanjungpinang Raja Haji Fisabilillah (RHF) Airport to an international-scale airport.
That way, cross-country flight access can be realized considering that this year, 400 thousand international tourists from China are targeted to visit Lagoi, Bintan District.
Head of Development and Marketing of Riau Islands Tourism Office Afitri Susanti said that her office has prepared a tourism calendar to boost the number of international tourist arrivals in 2023.
She revealed that this year’s tourism calendar still relies on local wisdom, such as nature, culture, sports, and maritime tourism.
In addition, international-scale events will also be held in the province, one of which is the cycling competition Tour de Bintan, which earlier in 2022 was partaken by hundreds of athletes from 33 countries.
Susanti said that her office is intensively collaborating with associations and local and international tourists to promote Riau Islands’ tourism.
“We are optimistic Riau Islands’ tourism will revive this year,” she said.
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