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SINGAPORE – With Indonesia recently expressing its desire to refresh its tourism sector, Singapore could stand to gain as the two countries explore a potential partnership to boost overall tourism num

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SINGAPORE – With Indonesia recently expressing its desire to refresh its tourism sector, Singapore could stand to gain as the two countries explore a potential partnership to boost overall tourism numbers, as expressed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently.

Travel agencies in Singapore said they are keen on the initiative, but they added that more infrastructure investment is needed if Indonesia is to open up more destinations.

Singapore’s tourism is experiencing a small slump, but it sees more visitor arrivals than Indonesia. An analyst said packaging both destinations could lead to even more arrivals for Singapore through spillover.

“It may seem that if we were to work together, Singapore may lose some of these visitors and they go to Indonesia,” said Mr Francis Tan, an economist at UOB. “While in fact research shows that if an additional 10 visitors from Europe go to the ASEAN3 Region, which consists of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, we will see an additional seven visitors into Singapore. So to me, this is a win-win partnership between Singapore and Indonesia.”

Meanwhile a Singapore-based travel agency said the signal of intent by Mr Widodo is a good sign and could allow it to reach out to more travellers. However, it also added that it hopes to see more investment being made into tourism infrastructure.

“There is always more that can be done when it comes to tourism infrastructure. There is also more that can be done in terms of software, meaning training staff, training people to handle tourists that come into the country,” said Ms Jane Chang, head of marketing communications at Chan Brothers Travel.

“We will definitely continue to do what we have been doing so far in terms of promoting the Singapore and Indonesia route. Of course we do await what plans they have in place and what kind of resources they are planning to invest in promoting Indonesia jointly with Singapore,” she added.

Last year, visitor arrivals to Singapore came in at 15.1 million and recorded S$23.6 billion in tourism receipts.

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