On Sunday, November 15, 2009, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, and the Minister of Law and Human Right, Patrialis Akbar, conducted a snap inspection of the visa-on-arrival (VOA) procedures at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport.
During the inspections, the two cabinet ministers had a close-up look at the immigration counters used for VOA and the long lines that occur when several flights arrive at the same time.
When the ministers reviewed the 26 immigration desks in operation they found a number with faulty equipment, including 6 counters with broken computers.
The Minister of Law and Human Rights told NusaBali that his department would work to increase VOA services to tourists in order that visitors are not disappointed. He promised to replace broken computers and other non-operating equipment to improve service.
Patrialis Akbar promised to increase services for those obtaining a VOA in order to eliminate the long lines. He told the press that Bali is an important part of Indonesia's tourism reputation in the eyes of the world and he is committed to do what is necessary to avoid disappointing Bali visitors.
"Bali's victories are Indonesia's victories. Because of this, we must give the best service. As the person responsible for immigration I will continue to make improvements with my team," explained Akbar.
Improvements, he said, will not only include repairing broken computers, but will also make sure that immigration has a stock of stand-by computers. He also promised that the new number of immigration counters will not be a mere doubling of the current counters, but a tripling of service counters.
Akbar added, "There may be problems with space (for the new counters), but I will discuss this with the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) to use areas set aside for a VIP terminal."
Jero Wacik used the surprise inspection to interview several arriving tourists who reportedly related that immigration lines are a problem in many destinations, not only Indonesia, and that despite the problems at Bali airports the passengers said they had only been waiting 15 minutes.
Wacik has called for the new immigration counters and computers to be put in operation as soon as possible and that 15 minutes from disembarking an airplane until boarding an airport taxi become the new target.
Separately, the General Manager of PT Angkasa Pura, Heru Legowo, assured the press that once the current renovations are completed, Bali's airport will be able to handle 20 million passengers each year. The current renovations are expected to be completed in 30 months.
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