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Getting a Visa to Stand in Line

Long Visa Lines at Bali's Airport Prompt Calls for Urgent Change from Law Makers and Tourism Leaders.

(2/20/2010) Bisnis Bali reports that despite a total of 26 visa on arrival counters at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport, long delays of as much as two hours are being encountered by those landing during peak traffic hours.

Between the hours of 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm when as many as 1,200 passengers land appears to be the time slot worst affected. Assuming an average of 2.5 minutes to process each visa on arrival and the full operation of 26 visa counters, this translates into lines that can take almost two hours to clear just to complete the visa purchase process.

This calculation of possible delays was put forth by a member of Commission B of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung), Wayan Puspanegara, who said: "With this condition, the tourists will certainly be bored. This is like a bad dream, not in keeping with the happiness the tourists seek."

The legislator from the Golkar party also pointed to the small area allocated to issuing visa-on-arrival and the impossibility of adding any more service counters. This may require the widening of visa-on-board to more flights, beyond the current limitation of incoming flights by Garuda from Japan.

Puspanegara also said that other services at Bali's airport were below standard, pointing to the lack of even handedness by Customs officials in dealing with imported goods carried by tourists. He said that the process of passing through customs need not be prolonged for tourist visitors not bringing contraband items into the country.

The over abundance of money changers and the proliferation of travel brochures are also areas of concern.

Visa On Line

Concerned that the long lines at Bali's airport may deter visitors from coming to Bali, the Chairman of the Association of Indonesia Travel Agents (ASITA) for Bali, Al Purwa, called on the government to allow tourists to purchase their visa on line. Pointing to other destinations which have extended such a service to visitors, such as Cambodia, Purwa has written to Bali's governor, the chief of Bali Tourism Service and the General Manager of Bali's Airport Authority requesting that his visa-oin-line proposal receive serious consideration.