The article below was published on 5 November 2014 and is now outdated. Continue to read these three follow-up articles;
To promote the growth of tourist arrivals, Indonesia plans to waive visa requirements for tourists from Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia (the five main markets for Indonesian Tourism), as well as introduce third-country visas next year.
This was announced on 5 November 2014, at a meeting in Jakarta.
Indonesia’s coordinating minister of maritime affairs, Indroyono Susilo, said: “A task force has been set up to make the (government regulation) amendments, with a target to implement this in 2015.”
“It has been agreed we will add five visa free countries to target the Indonesian tourism market. At this moment, there are already 15 visa-free countries. The additional five countries will be China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and Australia,” said Indroyono.
Currently, these five countries must obtain a visa on arrival to enter Indonesia. The selection of these new five visa free countries is based on the fact that these countries are the main market for Indonesian tourism.
According to the Head of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Ministry of Tourism Noviendi Makalam, these five countries account for 54 percent of the total number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia.
Part of the Ministry of Tourism’s quick-win program is to boost arrivals to Indonesia and achieve 20 million arrivals by 2019. Tourism minister Arief Yahya expects 450,000 to 500,000 additional arrivals from the five target markets per year alone as a result of this visa-free facility.
He said that with the introduction of visa-free short visit for these five countries, it is expected that within a year, this will add to the presence of 450,000 – 500,000 foreign tourists.
“Indeed, we will lose 25 dollars (sic) per foreign tourist visas,” he said. So if multiplied by 450,000 tourists, the potential loss will be 11,250,000 US Dollars.
But, he added, with the additional estimated 450,000 foreign tourists, and an expected expenditure of 1,200 US Dollars per foreign tourist, the state could earn about 540 million US Dollars.
Former foreign minister Marty Natalegawa previously said the visa waiver would likely take effect around January 2015 and that Indonesia was also working on a policy to waive visa requirements for Japanese citizens visiting Indonesia.
Arief explained: “We still need to discuss details with the related government departments, but the idea is that other country’s customers can also be ours. Long-haul travelers, for example, have come a long way to Singapore or Malaysia, and they also want to visit us while they are in the neighborhood.
“But we have made this difficult with our visa requirements. Why don’t we let these countries check them and we just welcome them?”
Within South-east Asia alone, Arief sees market potential in Singapore’s 15 million arrivals, Malaysia’s 25 million and Thailand’s 26 million.
However, he also said that in the future; third-country visas could also apply for areas like the US, EU and Australia, which are known for their stringent visa application requirements.