After several weeks of high expectations and much speculation, the Indonesian Government has decided not to go ahead with offering visa free entry to Australian nationals.

Visa free entry for Japanese nationals appears to be coming very soon with South-Korea and Russia not that far behind. China might follow as well in possibly three months time.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya explains that “Indonesia offers visa-free travel to countries that can offer us the same things”. As Australia charges all nationalities for the tourist visa, including Indonesia (despite Indonesia offering free entry), it has been decided that Australians will need to continue pay the USD 35 Visa On Arrival.

An unnamed high-ranking ministry official explained that Bali would remain a popular holiday destination to Australians and he didn’t believe that the USD 35 visa on arrival fee is a deal breaker for Australian visitors.

The recent diplomatic frictions between Australia and Indonesia on topics such as refugees, phone tapping and friction because of two Australians on death row might also have been factors into why Indonesia didn’t go ahead with the visa free entry.

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