The Jakarta Post
A view of Nyang-yang Island in Southwest Siberut, Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra. (Antara/Iggoy el Fitra)
The West Sumatra Surf Charter Boats Association (AKSSB) has invited foreign tourists to surf on Mentawai Island in a bid to kick-start the province’s virus-stricken tourism industry following the end of large-scale social restrictions.
In a press release received by The Jakarta Post on Saturday, the association said it had taken foreign surfers to Mentawai aboard the surf charter Switchfoot on June 24.
On board, a medical team collected swab samples for COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests from the passengers and crew. The vessel was not allowed to depart until the results were received. The tests were conducted at the Andalas University Faculty of Medicine.
“The foreign tourists are prohibited from interacting with locals once the boat has arrived in Mentawai,” AKSSB chairman Zein said on Saturday.
He said that the charter boat had been examined and cleaned by a team from the West Sumatra chapter of the Indonesian Red Cross and was sprayed with disinfectant before departure and arrival.
Previously, West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno said that the tourism sector was key to reinvigorating the province’s economy, which has been badly hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We hope that tourism can continue to develop and that everyone can visit tourist sites while implementing health protocols,” Irwan said during a recent visit to tourist sites in Tanah Datar regency, as quoted by the regency’s website. “The economy can restart by opening all tourism sites to become productive again and inviting the public to visit West Sumatra.”
The administration imposed province-wide large scale-social restrictions (PSBB) on April 22 and lifted them on June 7.
According to the government count, West Sumatra had confirmed 762 COVID-19 cases as of Saturday with 31 deaths. (dpk)