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Indonesia toughens entry visa rule for 37 nations JAKARTA - The government has drastically reduced the number of countries whose nationals must have visas to enter Indonesia for short visits, officials said yesterday. A presidential decree which came into force on March 31 reduces the number from 48 to 11, said a spokesman for the Tourism Ministry. The decree comes at a time when Indonesia is struggling to rebuild its tourism industry after the Bali terror bombings of last October.
It also wants to boost flagging foreign investment in the country. Tourism Minister I Gede Ardika, quoted by the Bisnis Indonesia daily, said the authorities were still working on which nationals would be able to obtain a visa upon arrival. He said the decree was based on the principle of reciprocity. The visa-free facility now extends to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, Hongkong, Macau, Turkey, Peru, Chile and Morocco.
These countries let Indonesians enter without visas for short-term visits of between one month and three months. The United States and member states of the European Union were among countries whose nationals could previously enter the country for brief visits without a visa. The effect of the new decree would depend on whether the government would give visa-on-arrival facilities to foreign tourists, said a tourism official.
'The short-visit, visa-free facility is not a main factor behind tourism arrivals in Bali,' said I Made Mastra, vice-chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association. 'The war in Iraq, Sars and the security worries following the Bali bombings are the main factors behind the drop in tourism,' he said. 'For the short term, I do not think that the policy will affect Indonesian tourism much.
'Perhaps in the long term it would, when competition to draw tourists to the region will return among our neighbouring countries.' In 2002, tourist arrivals fell to 4.8 million from 5.1 million in 2001 as the Bali bombings deterred visitors.



Posted in Tourism @ 09 April 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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