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On Wednesday, 5 November, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Indroyono Soesilo, held his first coordinating meeting with Tourism Minister, Arief Yahya, at the Sapta Pesona Building, the Office of the Ministry of Tourism in Jakarta to discuss ways and means to accelerate tourist arrivals to Indonesia with the aim to achieve the targeted 20 million tourists by 2020.

In the ensuing press Conference, Minister Indroyonono informed that the meeting agreed for the government  to grant Visa Free facility to nationals of 5 of Indonesia’s most important tourist source markets, which are : the People’s Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and Australia.

“ At this time, nationals of 15 countries are already given visa free facility to Indonesia, and these shall be added with those from  the People’s Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and Australia” stated Coordinating Minister Indroyono Soesilo.

He added that by providing the Short Term Visit Visa Free to the 5 countries, it is expected that within a year the number of international tourist arrivals will increase by approximately 450,000 to 500,000 visitors per year.  Although this policy will reduce present receipts  of US$25 per international tourist, or approximately USid=”mce_marker”1,250 for  450,000 tourists, however, the arrival of 450,000 more international tourists who will spend  USid=”mce_marker”,200 per visit/tourist will  mean an additional revenue of US$540 mllion.

On his part, Tourism  Minister Tourism, Arief Yahya noted that the increase of 500,000 international tourists per year is indeed quite high, since the additional number of tourists to Indonesia per year so far has never reached the 1 million mark.

“The figure of 500,000 is high. But  this can be a smart way to increase the number of international tourists. The main focus we will  try to highlight here is customer service” said Arief Yahya.

Minister Arief Yahya  further explained that service given to  international tourists is most important.  If previously a tourist was burdened with the complex procedure of visa application,but  by providing  visa free entry  we can provide both easier access and increase customer service. “If they are satisfied (with the services), revenue from tourism will automatically increase” added Minister Arief.

The decision to apply visa free policy for the 5 countries is based on the fact that they are the main source  markets for Indonesia’s Tourism. According to the Head of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Ministry of Tourism, Noviendi Makalam, the 5 countries contributed a hefty 54% of the total number of international tourists to Indonesia.

The Short Term Visit Visa Free policy for 5 countries. Is expected to be implemented by next year.

Yacht Permits Simplified

The coordinating meeting also addressed the issue of Permit Simplification for international yachts entering Indonesian Waters.  The Issue is regarded  as one of the vital priority programs in tourism and the Maritime Affairs. By simplifying permits for yachts  which will be implemented through the one stop online Clearance Approval system to Indonesian Territory (CAIT), it is expected that  the number of yachts entering Indonesian waters will increase significantly.

“By providing easier accessibility and improving connectivity, the contribution of marine tourism in attracting international tourists to Indonesia can be expected to  significantly increase in the near future” stated Tourism Minister Arief Yahya. (Indonesia.travel editorial team)