Sensibility on Arrival
The current visa arrangements are unfair on foreign visitors because they are restrictive. Many foreigners arriving in the country do so on a 30-visa that they get upon arrival at a point of entry; it costs $25. For those wishing to travel around the country’s extraordinary collection of unique islands, in terms of their culture and landscape, 30 days is just not enough.
It is therefore welcome news that the central government is considering a one-year tourist visa that could be used by more elderly visitors to our shores who need more time to get about, and indeed have more of it to spend than their younger counterparts.
It is a start, at any rate. But any proposed change should not just be limited to one demographic; it should be open to all, as there are many foreign tourists who travel from far-flung areas such as western Europe and need ample time to wander about our country.
The Bali authorities and the central government have enjoyed the benefits of the droves of foreigners visiting Indonesia for several decades but in recent years tourism policies have hindered rather than helped those who come here.
And indeed, compared to our neighbours, notably Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, Indonesia’s share of the global tourism market has far from reached its potential. A large part of that is due to a lack of effective marketing, but let us devise schemes and supportive rules that actually boost the fledgling market that is there.
With expected positive gains in Indonesia’s infrastructure in the coming years, a touted development that is desperately required as the country enjoys robust economic times, the central government must make it far easier for tourists to come to Indonesia and to stay here for much longer periods.
That would be doing everyone a favour.Filed under: Editorial