Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik has announced that 13 new countries will soon be added to the current list of 21 counties eligible to purchase a visa-on-arrival (VOA) at one of Indonesia's 13 international gateway cities. The Minister made his announcement on Tuesday, June 14, 2005, following a coordination meeting of the government between the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security; the National Chief of Police; immigration; the Department of Foreign Affairs; the Armed Forces; and Ministry of Culture and Tourism officials.
Although the effective date for the additional countries able to access the VOA facility has not been announced, the 13 new countries to be added to the list are; China, India, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Egypt, Austria, Ireland, Qatar, and Luxembourg.
Editor's Cautionary Note: We have been unable to locate an official statement on which countries are to be added to the VOA list and the effective date when VOA's will be available. Moreover, press reports vary on whether 13 or 11 countries are being added to the list. When in doubt on your Country's eligability, check with your tour agent or nearest Indonesian Embassy.
The citizens of 21 countries and territories already eligible to purchase visas on arrival are: the United States, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Hungary, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Norway, France, Poland, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Taiwan.
When officially implemented, the total number of countries eligible to purchase a visa at an Indonesian gateway will become 34.
Minister Wacik has also told the press that Sweden and the Netherlands are still under active review as possible later additions to the VOA eligability list.
11 countries and territories remain eligible for a "Visa Free" facility, they are: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Chile, Morocco, Peru and Vietnam.
Changes in Length of Stay Validity
Apparently, efforts to extend the 30-day validity of the VOA to 60 days met with resistance from officials who were concerned that a longer visa period would encourage illegal employment in the Country. As partial compensation, however, the US$10 three-day visa will soon be valid for six-days in order to encourage more short-haul holiday traffic to Indonesia.
The US$25 payable for a thirty-day non-extendable visa remains nchanged.
The Road Ahead
Pleased after his long-fought battle for changes in the visa policy and what he sees as at least a partial victor for the tourism sector in the just announced changes, Minister Wacik restated to the press the three main tasks ahead in order to tourism to meet the targeted 6 million foreign visitors for 2005. In addition to easing the visa process, the Ministers sees additional air seat capacity and increased promotional budgets as fundamental to the national tourism industry's success. Accordingly, Minister Wacik is seeking current promotional budgets of US$3 million to be increased to US$18 million.
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