Thu, 09 Nov 2000

S'poreans visit Batam the most

BATAM, Riau: Over 71 percent of the 817,961 tourists who visited Batam Island this year came from neighboring Singapore, Antara reported.

Statistics also showed that between January and September this year, a total of 81,788 Malaysians came to the island, 32,557 from Japan, 48,884 from South Korea, 16,632 from Taiwan, 8,323 from the United Kingdom, 8,018 from the United States, 7,528 from the Philippines, 4,727 from Australia, 3,076 from the Netherlands and 18,647 from other countries.

The head of the local tourism office, Priedhy Soegondo, said apart from its proximity, many Singaporeans came to the island because of the competitively priced holidays offered by the island compared to other popoular destinations such as Taiwan and Hongkong.

Batam is also less than an hour away by speedboat.

Priedhy also expressed hope that the construction of a building for Haj pilgrims, which could accommodate 3,000 to 5,000 people, would turn Batam's image of a sex tourist spot into a resort for religious tourism. (mds)