Success of Indonesia tourist visa-free policy highlights Australia row

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Indonesia visa on arrival_Arno Maierbrugger
Indonesia: No more visa or visa on arrival necessary for 45 countries © Arno Maierbrugger

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s tourist visa exemption policy, now eligible for citizens of 45 countries, has positively impacted arrival numbers in Bali.

By Christin Huang

However, Australians, amongst the most frequent visitors to Bali, still require a visa.

The relationship between Indonesia and Australia has deteriorated greatly since Indonesia earlier this year executed Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, two Australians convicted of drug trafficking under Indonesia’s strict anti-drug laws.

Yet, Indonesian officials have told local media that rapprochement is not impossible.

“I can guarantee that if the Australian government wants [to agree to visa-free travel], the foreign minister and president will almost definitely want it, too,” Arief Yahya, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism, said.

There is a catch, however. This visa exemption will require eligible countries to provide reciprocity, implementing a visa-free policy for Indonesians to enter their country, as well.

Some countries, such as France, commented that they welcomed the visa-free policy to enter Indonesia, but are unable to provide the same policy for Indonesians. France is a part of Schengen Area, which allows for travel to 22 of 28 EU countries and to 4 non-EU countries, and cannot establish such policies without consulting other partner countries.

By extending this visa exemption to 45 countries, the minister of tourism added, the government can expect revenue of $11 billion from 10 million foreign visitors this year.

The number of tourists arriving in Bali from the East Asia region – namely China, Japan and South Korea – has shown a 19% increase in numbers, said Dewa Nyoman Putra, a Bali-based tourism analyst, in Denpasar on Monday, August 17, according to Indonesian daily Bisnis.

For instance, the number of Chinese tourists increased 28,.64 per cent to 340,711 in the first 6 months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. Similarly, the number of Japanese tourists increased 11.86 per cent to 104,127. Arrival numbers from South Korea were up 10.65 per cent to 75,433.

Intriguingly, Dewa also stated that the government has added Russia to the visa exemption list. However, arrival numbers from Russia remained low due to challenging economic conditions at home, down 35 per cent to 25,574 year-on-year.

Widodo’s visa-free policy is available for tourists who are planning to stay in Indonesia up to 30 days. The five international airports that citizens from the 45 countries covered by the policy can enter Indonesia visa-free are Soekarno-Hatta in Jakarta, Ngurah Rai in Bali, Kuala Namu in Medan, Juanda in Surabaya and Hang Nadim in Batam, as well as at four seaports in Balam and Bintan for travelers arriving by ferry from Singapore.

Nationals of these countries can now enter Indonesia without a visa for max. 30 days:

Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Indonesia: No more visa or visa on arrival necessary for 45 countries © Arno Maierbrugger

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s tourist visa exemption policy, now eligible for citizens of 45 countries, has positively impacted arrival numbers in Bali.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Indonesia visa on arrival_Arno Maierbrugger
Indonesia: No more visa or visa on arrival necessary for 45 countries © Arno Maierbrugger

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s tourist visa exemption policy, now eligible for citizens of 45 countries, has positively impacted arrival numbers in Bali.

By Christin Huang

However, Australians, amongst the most frequent visitors to Bali, still require a visa.

The relationship between Indonesia and Australia has deteriorated greatly since Indonesia earlier this year executed Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, two Australians convicted of drug trafficking under Indonesia’s strict anti-drug laws.

Yet, Indonesian officials have told local media that rapprochement is not impossible.

“I can guarantee that if the Australian government wants [to agree to visa-free travel], the foreign minister and president will almost definitely want it, too,” Arief Yahya, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism, said.

There is a catch, however. This visa exemption will require eligible countries to provide reciprocity, implementing a visa-free policy for Indonesians to enter their country, as well.

Some countries, such as France, commented that they welcomed the visa-free policy to enter Indonesia, but are unable to provide the same policy for Indonesians. France is a part of Schengen Area, which allows for travel to 22 of 28 EU countries and to 4 non-EU countries, and cannot establish such policies without consulting other partner countries.

By extending this visa exemption to 45 countries, the minister of tourism added, the government can expect revenue of $11 billion from 10 million foreign visitors this year.

The number of tourists arriving in Bali from the East Asia region – namely China, Japan and South Korea – has shown a 19% increase in numbers, said Dewa Nyoman Putra, a Bali-based tourism analyst, in Denpasar on Monday, August 17, according to Indonesian daily Bisnis.

For instance, the number of Chinese tourists increased 28,.64 per cent to 340,711 in the first 6 months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. Similarly, the number of Japanese tourists increased 11.86 per cent to 104,127. Arrival numbers from South Korea were up 10.65 per cent to 75,433.

Intriguingly, Dewa also stated that the government has added Russia to the visa exemption list. However, arrival numbers from Russia remained low due to challenging economic conditions at home, down 35 per cent to 25,574 year-on-year.

Widodo’s visa-free policy is available for tourists who are planning to stay in Indonesia up to 30 days. The five international airports that citizens from the 45 countries covered by the policy can enter Indonesia visa-free are Soekarno-Hatta in Jakarta, Ngurah Rai in Bali, Kuala Namu in Medan, Juanda in Surabaya and Hang Nadim in Batam, as well as at four seaports in Balam and Bintan for travelers arriving by ferry from Singapore.

Nationals of these countries can now enter Indonesia without a visa for max. 30 days:

Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

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