Indonesia Expects To Earn US$1 Billion from Visa-Free Policy

JAKARTA ~

Indonesia has set a target of earning US$1 billion as additional income from the visa-free services it is offering to tourists from 45 countries, a senior minister said.

“By implementing the visa-free policy, we aim to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals by one billion, which will contribute US$1 billion to foreign exchange reserves,” Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Indroyono Soesilo said during a meeting on the vise-free facilities on Wednesday.

To ensure the success of the program, Soesilo urged his rank and file to popularize the policy among people.

The policy will have a positive impact on the people and open up job opportunities in various tourist destinations in Indonesia.

“It is the people who will directly receive the foreign exchange income. So they need to be made aware and prepared to produce souvenirs and establish eateries. They also need to increase their hospitality, hygiene and the sanitation facilities of their surroundings,” he pointed out.

Soesilo further noted that with regard to security, Deputy Chief of the National Police, Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, had decided to enhance and strengthen tourism police forces.

The Indonesian government recently decided to provide free visa facilities to foreigners on short visits from 30 countries, increasing the number of visa-free visit recipients to 45.

“The development of tourism in the country will depend on our efforts to carry out promotional activities. The country needs to actively market it. We plan to provide visa-free visits to tourists from 30 countries. We will continue our efforts to offer opportunities to tourists,” President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo informed the press at the State Palace last week He noted that so far, Indonesia has implemented the visa-free policy for only 15 countries, while there are other countries that provide the service to visitors from 160 countries.

“Our neighboring nation provides visa-free facilities to tourists from 160 countries. So far, we have provided the facilities to tourists from only 15 countries. So we have decided to extend the services to 30 more nations, and will increase the number later,” the president affirmed.

Earlier, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya had proposed a visa-free policy for the four tourism markets of China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia.

Later, the number was increased to 30 countries, bringing the total count to 45 as there were 15 old recipients.

“We will benefit from granting the facility, which is an effort to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals. The easy way to increase tourist arrivals is to provide visa-free visits,” the minister explained.

He remarked that almost all American and European countries are included in the list of 30 countries to be granted the visa-free facility.

The minister noted that besides targeting to increase the foreign tourist arrivals to 10 million in 2015, the policy also aims to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves as part of an endeavor to improve the performance of the country’s service balance.

“This can increase revenue by 15 percent as compared to that of the previous income. With the visa-free visit policy, additional foreign tourist arrivals could reach 750 thousand, which could provide an additional income of some US$1 billion,” Yahya noted.

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