This means that a total of 170 countries will enjoy the visa-free visit facility (making it easier and cheaper for foreigners to access Indonesia) soon. Although the government will earn less revenue through the selling of short visit visas (currently it charges USD $35 for a visa-on-arrival), the visa-free facility is expected to boost the number of foreign tourist arrivals. And as each foreign tourist is estimated to spend up to USD $1,200 per visit, it will thus result in significantly more foreign exchange earnings.

It is remarkable that Australia has been named as one of the countries that will receive the visa-free facility as diplomatic relations between both countries have experienced some downs in recent years. Moreover, initially Indonesia requested a visa-free facility for its own citizens when traveling to Australia (reciprocity), a request ignored by Australia. Diplomatic relations between both nations have been tested by Indonesia's decision to execute two Australian citizens in early 2015 (despite Australia requesting for clemency) and the 'spying scandal' that occurred in 2013 when allegations were made that the Australia Signals Directorate attempted to monitor activity on the mobile phones of then-Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and several senior government officials.

Read Analysis: Overview of Indonesia's Tourism Industry

The island of Bali - known as the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia - attracted a total of 3.6 million foreign tourists in the January-November 2015 period. Most of these tourists (876,748) originated from Australia.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Indonesia, 2013-2015:

Month  Tourist Arrivals
 Tourist Arrivals
 Tourist Arrivals
January        614,328        753,079        723,039
February        678,415        702,666        786,653
March        725,316        765,607        789,596
April        646,117        726,332        749,882
May        700,708        752,363        793,499
June        789,594        851,475        815,148
July        717,784        777,210        814,233
August        771,009        826,821        850,542
September        770,878        791,296        869,179
October        719,900        808,767        825,818
November        807,422        764,461        777,480
December        766,966        915,334
Total       8,802,129       9,435,411       8,795,069

Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Indonesia, 2007-2015:

    2007   2008   2009   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014  2015
Foreign Tourists
(in millions)
  5.51   6.23   6.32   7.00   7.65   8.04   8.80   9.44  10.0¹

¹ indicates government target
Source: Statistics Indonesia (BPS)


Lars Christiansen |

Maybe some day, same regulations will be applied to business visitors, who currently need to apply from overseas....