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Minister Insists Visa On Arrival Not a Problem

Minister Ardika Insists Visa Fee Not Affecting Tourism Flows.

(3/8/2004) Indonesia's Minister of Tourism and Culture, I Gede Ardika, is quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia as saying that to date the visa-on-arrival policy is not adversely affecting the total tourism visits to Indonesia while making a significant contribution to the Country's tax coffers.

Minister Ardika told a meeting of Commission VI of the National Parliament that "the direct contribution to State revenues from the visa-on-arrival is very significant." The Minister went on to say that he hoped the money obtained could be used to improve immigration facilities and improve security, and to increase the number of international sea and air gateways particularly in areas with a strong potential for tourism. He also suggested that a potion of the funds collected should be set aside for the promotion of Indonesia's image abroad.

In the first 23 days of the new policy introduced on February 1, 2004, Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport was the largest visa fund generator bringing in over Rp. 10 billion (approximately US$ 1.18 million). Bali's position as the main revenue generator was followed by Jakarta, Tanjung Uban (Bintan), Batam, and Surabaya.

No Negative Impact on Arrival Totals

Minister Ardika pointed to February arrival totals that were well ahead of the same period in 2003 as proof that the new visa policy was not adversely affecting arrival totals.

The main complaint, according to the Minister, concerns problems surrounding the speed with which tourists are being processed at the Nation's tourism gateways.

 

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