Indonesia reconsiders visa-free policy

Indonesia is considering reversing the visa-free policy for 48 countries
Indonesia is considering reversing the visa-free policy for 49 countries

The Indonesian government is considering reversing its visa-free policy for some countries.

The widespread visa waiver policy was introduced to boost tourism arrivals, but the government is concerned that some of the 169 countries offered visa-free entry are not contributing enough tourists to make it worthwhile.

The Jakarta Post reports that Indonesia’s Tourism Ministry has identified 49 countries that should be excluded from the free-visa list, as they contributed fewer than 100 tourists in first six months since the policy was introduced. These include Algeria, Cuba, Kiribati, Jamaica, Namibia and Vanuatu.

“According to our evaluation, we should shortlist which countries deserve the free visa and the ones to be given visas-on-arrival instead,” the Tourism Ministry’s Deputy Minister for International Marketing, I Gde Pitana, was quoted saying by the newspaper.

The Indonesian government introduced the free-visa policy in 2015 as part of its efforts to more than double its international visitor arrivals to 20 million by 2019.

But while the scheme was hailed by bodies including the UNWTO, it resulted in the country losing approximately IDR1.2 trillion (approx. US$90 million) in visa revenues last year.

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