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Visa on Arrival a Success?

Minister of Justice and Human Rights Insists Visa Fee Has No Negative Impact on Arrivals.

(8/23/2004) Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, was recently quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia as proclaiming the visa-on-arrival (VOA) facility a success based on the substantial revenues the policy has produced for national coffers and the continuing increase in tourism numbers.

According to the Minister, "there's no longer any pro and contra regarding the implementation of the VOA. The VOA will continue; I gave it a six month test period after which I would cancel the policy if it failed. The reality is that tourism arrivals have increased sharply. In six months the revenues created have been very large. All this was outside the predictions of many people."

The Minister went on to explain that through the end of July Rp. 156.32 billion (approximately US$ 17.4 million) had been collected from some 830,593 foreign visitors nation-wide.

A Contrasting View

While overall tourism arrivals continuing to soar to record levels, the statistics on current arrivals do not fully support the Minister's arguments in support of the VOA policy.

Arrivals are extremely strong from ASEAN countries, which are exempt from the visa on arrival fee. However, with the notable exception of Australia which is setting new records for visitors to Bali, arrivals from those countries compelled to pay the visa fee still lag significantly behind totals achieved in Bali arrivals as far back as 2001.

These figures suggest that it is too premature to conclude that the VOA fee is having no impact on tourism arrivals.

 

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