As reported on balidiscovery.com, [ Changes in Visa Policy on August 1, 2005] the government will add 14 more countries on August 1, 2005, to the list of those eligible to purchase a visa on arrival (VOA) at an Indonesian gateway.
Where's Sweden and Holland?
Two noticeable exceptions to the list of a total of 35 countries able to arrange a visa-on-arrival are Sweden and the Netherlands. Although reportedly lobbied to be included on the list by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Government apparently decided leave these two important source countries for Indonesian tourists off the list.
Not pleased with the political cold shoulder being given to Sweden and Holland, Satriyanto Tirtawisata, President Director of the major Indonesian tour operator Panorama Tours expressed his disappointment, saying: "In fact, there's a potential for Dutch arrivals to Indonesia to increase every year. I am surprised why the government has crossed these two countries (Holland and Sweden) off the list for VOA. Is it possible that merely for political considerations a decisions been made to make business and tourism suffer?"
Speaking to the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Satriyanto explained that the Dutch are a long-standing traditional market for Indonesian tourism who stay in country for extended periods with relatively high levels of per diem spending. He lamented that the Government has seen fit to isolate itself from this market.
Meanwhile, Thamrin B. Bachri, the Deputy Minister for Capacity Building and International Cooperation from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism did not want to comments on why Sweden and Holland were eliminated from the VOA list, suggesting that question be directed to the Government.
Local tourism circles and the press have hinted that Holland is being barred for historical reasons and ill-will felt by certain individuals in the inner circle of Cabinet Ministers and Presidential Advisors towards the Dutch. Meanwhile, Sweden has reportedly been eliminated from the list as a result of the political sanctuary that country offers to leaders of the Aceh Independence Movement (GAM).
Dutch and Swedish tourists wishing to visit Indonesia must apply for the necessary visa in their home countries before commencing their journey.
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