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Minister Wacik Urged to Lobby for End to Visa-on-Arrival

Local Tourism Figures Urge Now is the Time to Repair the Visa-on-Arrival System and Grant More Autonomy to Bali's Tourism Industry.

(5/12/2007) Now breathing easier and safe from the most recent Cabinet Reshuffle, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, is being urged by tourism leaders in Bali to lobby the Minister of Justice and Human Rights to eliminate the unpopular visa-on-arrival (VOA) policy. Minister Wacik is also being urged to seek a Presidential decree providing special status to Bali's tourism industry, allowing the Island more autonomy in developing its tourism industry.

The Vice-Chairman of Bali's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), Ida Bagus Surakusuma, told the Indonesian language NusaBali that the elimination of the VOA is the "best solution" to help restore Bali's tourism. Surakusuma, the Head of Pacific World Travel and more popularly known as "Lolec," said that now that the Culture and Tourism Minister has ben spared in the Cabinet Reshuffle "Jero Wacik must wisely use this opportunity."

Lolec told Nusa Bali that Wacik should ask the Minister of Justice and Human Rights to reintroduce the system of free visa entry (BVKS) to replace the VOA.

Lolec posed the question, "if other countries can extend a BVKS, why can't Indonesia.?" Lolec is confident that the removal of the VOA and replacement with a BVKS will bolster arrival numbers.

Special Presidential Decree Needed

In a separate statement, a member of the Advisory Board of KADIN, Gede Jaya Susila, said a Presidential decree granting special status to Bali's tourism industry and more autonomy in its management is needed.

Insisting that the people of Bali were best equipped to address the many problems of the Island's tourism, the proposed Presidential Decree would focus power in developing tourism with the local community where it belongs.

Susila sees the Presidential Decree as preparing the way for a consistent means of financing Bali's tourism industry, preparing the way for the utilization of the taxes paid by the Hotel and Restaurant sector and obtaining a share of visa fees collected from Bali's tourist visitors.