Indonesia decided to expand its visa-free policy to 84 more countries starting this week to boost tourism in the country. In June, Indonesian President Joko Widodo signed the visa-free travel regulation, which initially included 45 countries as part of the country’s effort to attract more tourists and improve relations with those nations.
On Monday, Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli confirmed the expansion of the visa-free policy to additional 84 countries effective this week. According to him, the total number of countries under the policy is 174.
According to Rizal, some of the countries added to Indonesia’s visa-free policy include: Australia, Albania, Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina ,Cameroon, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Georgia, Macedonia, Mauritius, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Paraguay, among others.
The Cabinet Secretariat of the Indonesia recently emphasized that a free Visa is given to foreign national of certain countries and governments of the special administrative regions based on the “principle of reciprocity and the principle of benefit.”
Under the free-visa policy, foreign nationals of certain countries are exempted from the requirement to obtain a visit visa to enter Indonesia. They can enter the country through immigration checkpoints and obtain a residence permit visit for 30 days. The period of validity cannot be extended or converted into any other residence permit.
Indonesia targets 20 million foreign visitors by 2019
Since the implementation of the visa-free policy, the number of tourists entering the country increased 19% year-over-year. Minister Rizal said the latest increase in tourism was significantly higher than the 6% to 8% annual growth rate.
The Minister is hoping that the expansion of the visa-free policy would increase the arrivals of foreign visitors to the country. Indonesia aims to increase the number of foreign visitors to as much as 20 million by 2019.
Indonesia also aims to earn $20 million in foreign exchange and to increase the number of workers directly employed in the tourism sectors to seven million from three million by 2019.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung stated that the country’s 8th Economic Package is composed of three aspects: the one map policy with the scale of 1:50,000, acceleration of development and construction of oil refineries, and incentives for plane maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) companies.
According to Paramono, the economic policy package aims to promote Indonesia’s competitiveness in the global market. He said, “Inevitably, we have to be ready to usher in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the government is making preparations in many aspects. This is the time to gear up for AEC, to improve ourselves.”