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Removing the Toll Booth at Indonesian Gateways

Indonesian Tourism Minister Urges Abolishment of US$25 Visa-on-Arrival Fee

(9/28/2012) Bisnis.com reports that Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, has expressed her concern that the permanent imposition of the US$25 visa-on-arrival fee threatens the future development of tourism to Indonesia.

Pangestu said the government has received many complaints from Japanese travel operator who are members of the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) regarding the US$25 charged to arriving tourists in exchange for a 30-day visa.

She said that Japanese travel professionals in urging Indonesia to end its vis fee point to other destinations, such as Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines who do not charge a visa fee and make obtaining a visa hassle free.

“I will recommend to the Minister of Finance that the imposition of the visa fee become an agenda item in future discussions. Hopefully, we can find the best solution,” said Pangestu while attending the Indonesian stand at the JATA Tourism Forum and Travel Showcase in Japan, September 20-23, 2012.

The Japan travel fair was attended by nationals from 156 countries. Also attending the were 20 Bali tourism professionals who were members of Rasa Sayang – a consortium of travel agents focused on the Japanese market.

Nia Niscaya, the director of marketing for overseas markets from the Ministry said the cost of obtaining the visa applies to most foreign tourist coming to Indonesia. She insisted abolishing the visa fee would be a relatively easy matter for the related ministries accomplish.

“If the fee is abolished it would have a positive effect on increasing tourist visitors that in turn would increase revenues in all supporting sectors, such as hotels, resorts and shopping for handicrafts,” Nia explained.

Minister Pangestu also shared that the chairperson of JATA, Jungko Kikuma many had also expressed concerns over safety and security in Indonesia, citing several incidents that have affected public order and security.

The Indonesian Tourism Minister also reports that JATA members had urged her to lobby Japan Airlines to reopen flights between Tokyo and Denpasar.