In anticipation of heavy visitors number to Bali over the Christmas-New Year period, the government will provide visa-on-board service through the issuance of visas to passengers inbound to Bali on Garuda flights from Tokyo, Japan.
An innovative approach to reducing lines at Bali's immigration counters in Bali, the new policy is the result of agreement among four separate ministerial departments undertaken at the urging of the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik.
Trial operations of the new visa facility will take place on the December 25, 2009, flight from Tokyo to Denpasar, Bali.
Minister Wacik told bisnis.com that his office had completed coordination meetings with the Minister of Justice and Human Rights Patialis Akbar, the National Minister for State-Owned Enterprises Mustofa Abu Bakar, the Ministry of Transportation and the Head of the Airport operating authority Angkasa Pura.
Explained Wacik: "During the trial period of service for Visa-on-Board, immigration officers from the Department of Justice and Human Rights will be stationed on board in-bound flights from Tokyo to Bali. The entire administrative process of visa issuance will be done during the flight permitting the foreign tourists to speed through the airport and enjoy Bali."
In the same inter-ministerial meeting all participants agreed to remove all the present impediments to fast immigration service as both Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport and Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Chief among the factors slowing immigration service and agreed to be remedied is the lack of immigration staffing which is still insufficient to handle peak hour loads of international visitors.
"At Ngurah Rai there are 36 counters, but only 10 are staffed by immigration officers. Now the 26 counters will be all staffed by immigration officers, especially during peak hours," said Wacik.
Meanwhile, at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta there are 6 visa-on-arrival counters, a number that will now be increased to 12.
In the middle of last year, the Ambassador of Japan to Indonesia, Kojiro Shiojiri, had publicly express his concerns regarding visa-on-arrival service at Bali's airport. Man elderly Japanese tourists had complained that the visa-on-arrival issuance process in Bali was taking two hours or more to complete.
Minister Wacik told the press that in addition to introducing the visa-on-board program, he hoped that members of the national tourism industry would use the coming holiday period to increased their service to the traveling public and not use the rush period as an excuse for arbitrarily increasing their price structures.
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