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VOA Fees to Fund Tourism?

Tourism Minister Calls on Government to Fund Tourism from Visa-on-Arrival Fees.

(4/23/2006) Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, called on the Government to keep its promise and transfer the Rp. 1.1 trillion (approximately US$122.22 million) collected during 2005 in visa-on-arrival (VOA) fees and make those funds available for tourism funding and to improve immigration services at the Nation's airports.

Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Minister Wacik, reminded the Government that "the promise was to return (the VOA funds) the money - 40% for tourism activities, 40% for immigration, and the remainder for the Department of Foreign Affairs."

The Minister added, "if the Department of Culture and Tourism received 40% of the Rp. 1.1 trillion, say, at least Rp. 400 billion (approximately US$44.4 million); similarly, immigration would receive the same amount for purchasing equipment to improve service at international airports."

The Minister in charge of culture and tourism said that should his department receive the promised allocation it would use the funds for overseas promotion in order to restore the image of Indonesian tourism.

Branding Issues

Speaking on the subject of branding Indonesian tourism, the Minister admitted that last year's branding program of "Indonesia: Ultimate in Diversity" failed to gain the popularity of Malaysia's "Malaysia, Truly Asia" promoted widely on international TV.

"Frankly, I had just been appointed Minister when the 'Indonesia: Ultimate in Diversity' program was launched by the consultant who devised the 'Malaysia, Truly Asia' program," said Wacik. The Minister went on to explain that although he had reservations from the beginning about the campaign, the President urged him to continue with the program already in place.

Minister Wacik said that his department is undertaking evaluations of Indonesia's branding programs and will re-launch a new campaign when fund become available to do so.