Diane Murphy wrote to share memories and comments about her recent holiday in Bali:
"I just returned from Bali. Stayed at the Bali Spirit in Ubud. It was amazing, as were the people. Although I lived for many years in Asia, it was my first visit to Bali. Our driver was a Brahmin, & now that I understand the people & their religion, spiritualism & strong beliefs, it seems even more inconceivable that their Country would be terrorized. It's so sad to see such a beautiful people suffering so financially, Although tourism seems to be picking up a bit."
"I will definitely return."
Changing the Visa Policy
Other readers wrote in to express their feelings about the change in the visa policy, expected to be introduced in September or October.
Cheryl Pepper from Eltham, Australia wrote:
"I have just today made a booking to come to Bali for my annual visit of 5 weeks, commencing 7th October. With the threat of this Visa being introduced, I will most likely cancel and go to Thailand instead. I cannot believe the logic of these decision makers to further destroy the industry that is so far down already ... and will now have less of a chance of regaining any momentum should this Visa be implemented. What on earth could they be thinking? ... maybe that their pockets will be lined a little more!!! ... because the poor suffering people of Bali will definitely not see any of the money that's for sure. I urge everyone to boycott this outrageous decision."
Meanwhile, Bevan Long of Australia wrote with this to say on the demonstration against the visa policy staged by the ASPB:
"I wish to congratulate Made Suryawan and his fellow lobbyists for making the stand for reason in this visa debate that will if enacted further damage Indonesia (and of course Bali) as a holiday destination of choice."
"Please pass my best wishes to him in his quest to stop what will be seen as an anti-western policy."
A reader in Hawaii, Deborah Matsuoka, wrote to defend the interest of Indonesia and those who visit for extended periods:
"I have been coming to Bali for 9 years, the last 5 years, I have been coming two times a year and staying 60 days every visit. I personally find this visa requirement a huge imposition to me and many visitors to Indonesia. It is apparent to me that the majority of visitors to Indonesia stay for a longer duration than most other holiday destinations, as the most expensive part of the holiday, is the transportation getting there."
"I truly don't feel that the cost of a visa is not the biggest concern for most; it is the imposition, and lack of thought from their government. They need to open their eyes, perhaps take a look at the duration of stays for visitors to Indonesia; they have all the passport information on computer. If the Indonesian Government is implementing this for revenge, (tit for tat) I wish that they would realize that the visitors to Indonesia have absolutely nothing to do with the laws that are in our countries, so why retaliate against the visitor, we bring revenue, boosting their economy, give their citizens an opportunity for continued employment, and boost the morale of the people, giving them hope that their country is recovering. If the visa requirement is for money, well ... they already charge us for leaving the country, have them charge us again if we are planning to stay more than the 30 days. That way the people staying for a longer term would hopefully be happy, because they could stay 60, 90, 120, perhaps up to a year, why not, it isn't like the person staying for a longer holiday is taking a job from a local citizen, but most likely spending money for fun, eating, accommodations, and hopefully sharing with the people, most people I see, are very generous."
"Now long stay visitors are finding some way to extend, whether it is to pay for the service in Indonesia, doing an Island hop, both of these options are expensive, and who knows where the money really goes. The cost of a visa would most likely be much more of a problem for short stay holiday, especially those with families coming from Australia, New Zealand, places that are near, for obvious reasons. Many of these vacationers would go elsewhere, Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Vietnam, on and on, where it isn't such a hassle or an expense. Does Indonesia really want to lose those visitors??? I think not!"
"So hopefully before Indonesian Government makes a final ruling on this, they take a look at the alternatives, as well as wish of what seems to be the majority of the Indonesian People. Try to see the affects of their actions, and perhaps, find a better solution to their financial problem. If it is tit for tat they should get over it!!! The rest of the world is trying to overlook the things that are happening or have happened in Indonesia, the horrible tragedy in October, the ousting of the president, the war in Aceh, Timor, Church bombings, protests, on and on, ignore the warnings of our Governments not to travel to Indonesia, because we love it and the people so why try to push us away. I am afraid that is exactly what will happen with many visitors."
Simon from Australia thinks the visa fee will be too expensive for families:
"I have just read the possible introduction of a $35.00 USD visa fee. I can understand why visa fees are charged, but for a family such as mine - 2 adults 3 children - it makes it very expensive. We have booked and paid to come to Bali in September this year and the thought of having to hand over more money $175.00 USD ($260.00 AUD) is a bit frustrating. Maybe they can scale the charges for adults and children to make it easier on a family?"
And finally, Emmeline Rixon from Australia had this to say:
"Having made many visits to Bali over the past 10 years, Bali being my favorite holiday destination - I find the US$ 35 visa fee beyond comprehension."
"I had planned a family holiday for early December for 2 adults and 2 children, for which I have already made a booking, but I will definitely be looking at an alternate destination if this visa fee is introduced."
"I have spoken to several of my friends and other people in my office who are also frequent visitors to Bali and they tell me they are of the same opinion. They too would have second thoughts on choosing Bali with a tax such as this. Hopefully this outrageously priced visa will be scrapped or if it must be introduced ... introduced at a more reasonable rate!"
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