Indonesia makes it easier to visit
Posted on June 23, 2015
Indonesian has approved the addition of 30 more countries to its visa-free list effective 12 June.
There were already 15 countries on the list before the government announced, last April, that it was in the process of adding another 30. The official statement extending the scope of visa-free entry to a total of 45 nationalities was issued last Tuesday.
In its latest travel update to travel clients, released Monday, EXO Travel welcomed the move to extend the list of countries eligible for a 30-day visa-free stay, saying it would be a positive driver for tourism.
In the Asia-Pacific region the latest additions include citizens of New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and China, but not Australia.
They join a list of 15 other countries, including nine members of the Association of Southeast Asian nations, that enjoy a 15-day stay in the country without the need for a visa.
Indonesia believes it can attract 11 million visits this year through the visa-free policy up from 9.44 million last year.
The country despite its size and diversity of tourist destinations lags far behind Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Officials say it will take five years for Indonesia to catch up with rivals Thailand and Malaysia.
EXO Travel has a strong market base in Europe serving leading tour operators, and visa-free travel for more European nations should improve travel bookings over the summer months.
“This is a very good news, but as too often there was no previous communication, or announcement, from the Indonesian authorities so this came as a surprise,” said EXO Indonesia general manager, Erik Meriot.
He confirmed that visa-free travel was already in place and working at Bali’s Denpasar airport.
Currently visa-free travel is applicable for travellers arriving at five airports (Jakarta, Denpasar-Bali, Medan, Surabaya and Batam).
“We are checking if this visa-free policy for the 30 additional nationalities will apply to arrival points everywhere in the country, or whether as mentioned in the document from the immigration office here in Bali it is limited to arrival through the five airports only.”
Some of the 30 nationalities added to visa-free list were previously eligible for a visa-on-arrival at a cost of USD35 a visit. Moving to the visa-free list will make it more convenient and also reduce the queues at visa-on-arrival counters at airports.
Countries eligible for visa-free stays:
Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Chile, Morocco, Peru, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Macau, China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and South Africa.
Australians, the third-largest group of foreign visitors, after Singaporeans and Malaysians, based on the latest Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data, will still need a visa to enter the country, although tourists can apply for a visa-on-arrival.
There are five international airports where citizens of the 45 countries and territories can enter Indonesia visa-free. They are: Soekarno-Hatta in Jakarta; Ngurah Rai in Bali; Kuala Namu in Medan; Juanda in Surabaya; and Hang Nadim in Batam.
Sri Bintan and Tanjung Uban seaports in Bintan Island and Sekupang and Batam Centre ports in Batam will also provide the facility.
For all other points of entry the USD35 VOA will still apply until further notice.