SEMARANG, Indonesia: Singapore and Indonesia will expand cooperation in various sectors such as tourism, hospitality and infrastructure after four memorandums of understanding (MOUs) were signed on Monday (Nov 14) on the sidelines of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s leaders’ retreat with President Joko Widodo.
The deal on tourism aims to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries. Areas of collaboration include developing the cruise sector, tourism marketing and MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions).
According to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), activities may include destination and port development, human resource development, tourism investments and private sector cooperation.
The agreement was signed by Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran and Minister of Tourism for the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism Dr Arief Yahya. Mr Lee and Mr Widodo witnessed the signing which was held at Wisma Perdamaian, the Central Java governor's function hall and complex.
The collaboration is expected to last for five years but it may be extended if there is a mutual agreement between both countries.
The new agreement is different from the existing bilateral MOU on tourism, which was signed in 1994 to promote and develop mutual cooperation between the two countries in the particular sector.
Indonesia was Singapore’s top source of visitor arrivals last year with an estimated 2.7 million Indonesian visitors and tourism receipts of S$614 million. Likewise, Singapore was also one of the top sources of visitors to Indonesia last year, with 1.57 million arrivals.
An agreement to enhance the capabilities of the tourism and hospitality sector was also signed on Monday. The deal signed by Republic Polytechnic and Indonesia's Tourism Ministry involves developing a two-year programme to train about 150 Indonesians from the four National Tourism Institutions.
The participants will also be taught social media and branding, quality and productivity management specific to the industry. Temasek Foundation has committed a grant of S$494,500 towards the programme.
COMPLEMENTING INDONESIA’S EFFORTS TO DEVELOP DIGITAL ECONOMY
Other MOUs that were signed on the sidelines of the retreat include developing smart city solutions for Makassar City in Indonesia. The partnership between International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Makassar City Government will see the city-state complementing the Indonesian government’s efforts in driving a digital economy.
Areas of collaboration may include developing e-government platform and smart cards, while other examples consist of pre-emptive flood detection systems and smart street lighting.
Through the partnership, IE Singapore hopes to demonstrate Singapore’s capacity to contribute to Indonesia’s economic and social development beyond Java and the Riau Islands, which are the traditional regions for Singapore investments.
Under the MOU between Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and Politeknik Negeri Batam (PNB), the two institutions will develop a programme to train the staff from PNB in software engineering, software development and other relevant IT areas.
The two-year agreement aligns with Indonesia’s vision of driving the digital economy sector as an engine of growth. The programme will be conducted at PNB and TP.
These agreements are expected to boost the economic relations between Singapore and Indonesia, which recorded a bilateral trade of S$58.7 billion in 2015. Singapore was also Indonesia’s top investor last year after Singapore invested a total of US$5.9 billion (S$8.3 billion) in Indonesia.