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VOA to Generate US$33.9 Million in 2004

Cash Strapped Government Intends to Retain the Visa on Arrival, But Promises to Review Changes in Current Policy.

(12/18/2004) The Indonesian language Bisnis Indonesia reports that the visa-on-arrival program has yielded US$32.47 million nation-wide through December 10, 2004, since its introduction on February 1, 2004.

According to a spokesperson for the Directorate General of Immigration, Soepriatna Anwar, a projected US$33.87 million will accrue to government coffers in 2004 as the result of the $US25 thirty-day visa and US$10 three-day visa.

The spokesperson also pointed to record tourist arrivals in discounting earlier predictions that the visa fee would deter tourism and said the government would retain the unpopular fee and hold steady to the course of providing free visas to countries that extend the same courtesy to Indonesian travelers.

He confirmed that the Government is, however, reviewing a number of proposed changes in the current visa-on-arrival policy that, if introduced, would expand the number of countries eligible to purchase visas on arrival in Indonesia and extend the maximum permitted length of stay beyond the current 30 days.