Indonesia plans to waive visa requirements for 17 European, 7 Asia Pacific and 6 Middle Eastern and African countries to support the weak rupiah.
The Indonesian government will waive visa requirements for 30 countries as early as next month (April 2015) to boost it’s foreign exchange revenue from the tourist industry, as President Joko Widodo broadens the size of his economic package to support the weak rupiah.
After a meeting at the Presidential Palace Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said on Monday “This free-visa policy is our effort to boost the number of foreign tourists,” and “We hope to improve our services to foreign tourists, who will soon not have to worry about visa requirements anymore,”. Arif claims that the revision of the visa-free list could attract at least 1.000.000 new foreign tourists to Indonesia and create an extra foreign exchange income of $US 1.2 billion assuming that each tourist spends $US 1200 during their trip.
Initially the visa-free policy was set only for Russia, China, South Korea and Japan, but got extended now to 30 countries:
- Asia Pacific: China, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, US
- Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland , UK.
- Middle East and Africa: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Africa
Australia, whose relationship with Indonesia has recently deteriorated amid the imminent execution of two Australian drug convicts, is not on the list. Arief stated, “It’s not that we do not want to include Australia,” but “Australia applies a universal visa policy, which requires all people coming to Australia to possess a visa, including Indonesians. Therefore, a reciprocity principle applies here in Indonesia.”
Currently only the following countries are exempted: Brunai, Chile, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Monacco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar. All other tourists are still required to pay $35 for visa-on-arrival fees for a 30-day stay in Indonesia.
The recently elected Jokowi administration has introduced a visa-waiver package and a series of fiscal policies in an effort to aid the under-pressure rupiah, which has become one of Asia’s worst-performing currencies this year, over fears of a further decline in the current-account deficit.
Despite the planned economic reforms, however, the rupiah has so far continued its slide, weakening by 1.3 percent since the policy package was first introduced on March 10, with the currency trading at 13,237 per dollar on Monday, according to the Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate (JISDOR).
Source: The Jakarta Post 17.03.2015