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What Drives Plans to Curtail Visa Free Policy?

Government Curtailing Visa-Free Facility for Tourists Visiting Indonesia

(4/14/2017) The Jakarta Post reports that the government is actively considering curtailing the list of 169 nations eligible for free-visa-on-arrival when visiting Indonesia.

Driving the desire is the possibly convoluted view that the government may be losing US$75.4 million in $35 visa fees from the 2.1 million tourists from countries formally obliged to purchase a visa at the airport.

Convoluted? Assuming, based on the data available, that the average tourism visitor to Indonesia spends US$1,140 - then the revival of a visa free for 2.1 million tourist that might be compelled to pay (based on the old system), only needs to deter tourist arrivals by 3% to result in a zero-sum-game.

In other words, a mere 3% decline in tourist arrivals caused by a re-introduction of visa fees (in this case, only 63,000 tourist) would more than nullify in terms of lost foreign exchange any revenues earned from visa fee.

Leading the draconian assault is Laws and Human Rights Minister Yasona Laoly who recently told the national legislature: “There are some countries that have not contributed significantly to Indonesia's income. We granted them the free-visa policy but their citizens almost never vacation here.”

It remains unclear what countries may be removed from the visa-free policy.

The controversial policy has developed into a polemic between elements in the tourism industry who support a liberalized visa regime with members of the political establishment are blaming surging tourism numbers on crime and increases in the number of illegal workers.

List of Visa-Free Countries