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Tourists from Singapore and Malaysia have not stopped flocking to Batam despite the unhealthy air quality the Island experienced since the beginning of the week.
The Jakarta Post on Thursday said there were no signs of a decrease in the number of passengers travelling on ferries from Singapore and Malaysia despite the unhealthy air quality.
Riau tourism is still thriving unlike other regions of Indonesia where tourists who booked travel packages to the country reportedly cancelled their plans because of forest fires in Kalimantan and Riau.
A Tourist Crisis Center told tempo.co that foreign tourists from Malaysia and Singapore had scrapped their plans to visit the archipelago because of the raging forest fires.
But in Batam, the authorities are doing what it feels is necessary to cater to the flocking tourists.
They set a room aside at the International Ferry 5 Port to accommodate travellers who are experiencing health problems.
Since Tuesday, the Batam air pollution standard index [ISPU] has reached above 100, which is an unhealthy level. It is dangerous for children to play outdoors. At the time of reporting, the air quality is still at an unhealthy level of 154.
Based on data from the five international ferry ports in Batam, the total number of foreign tourists per month was 150,000, with the majority from Singapore and Malaysia.
The forest fires might also lead the regional administration in affected areas in Indonesia to close tourist attractions.
The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism is calculating the losses faced by tourism players across the six provinces affected by smog from the forest fires.
Tourists who happen to be in the region to monitor official updates related to the forest fires and travellers who had already made plans to visit Riau are advised to choose other Indonesian destinations instead. -/TISG