17 February 2020 (closed)
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Indonesia's Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the government plans to offer the visa-free entry facility to 84 additional countries in 2016. This facility means that foreigners from designated countries do not need to obtain a visit visa before entering Indonesian territory (for visits under 30 days). This visa-free entry facility makes it easier for foreign tourists to enter Indonesia, and therefore it should boost tourist figures and foreign exchange earnings from the tourism industry.
Previously, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli had already stated that the countries that are to receive the visa-free entry facility include Palestina, Pakistan, Honduras, Mongolia, Costa Rica, Israel, Mozambique, Macedonia, Madagascar, Guatemala, Armenia, Jamaica and Paraguay. However, as there were some protests against the visa-free visit facility for Israel, the Indonesian government will not offer this facility to Israel on grounds that both countries do not have diplomatic relations with each other.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya is content to see Indonesia rising in the ranks of the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2015. In the latest edition Indonesia was ranked 50, up 20 places from the preceding ranking. This jump is caused by the heavily depreciated rupiah exchange rate (making it cheaper for foreigners to make a holiday in Indonesia) as well as political stability and the government's commitment to enhance infrastructure development (including soft infrastructure such as Internet infrastructure).
Indonesia still lags far behind its regional peers in terms of foreign visitor numbers. Whereas Thailand and Malaysia managed to attract 24.8 million and 27.4 million foreign tourists, respectively, in full-year 2014, Indonesia only welcomed 9.4 million foreign tourists in the same year. However, Minister Yahya said these countries had already made the tourism industry a leading industry years ago, while the Indonesian government has only recently started to realize the potential of the tourism industry.
In the January-November 2015 period, a total of 8.8 million foreign tourists entered Indonesia, up 3.23 percent from the same period in the preceding year. Although Minister Yahya remains optimistic that the government target of welcoming 10 million foreign tourists can be achieved this year, we doubt that Indonesia will see the arrival of more than one million tourists in the last month of 2015 (this would be a new record figure).
Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Indonesia, 2013-2015:
|Month|| Tourist Arrivals
| Tourist Arrivals
| Tourist Arrivals
Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Indonesia, 2007-2015:
¹ indicates government target
Source: Statistics Indonesia (BPS)
If by April 2016 the visa-free visit facility will be granted to an additional 84 countries, then a total of 174 countries will no longer need a tourist visa before entering Indonesia. In September 2015 the government had already provided this facility to an additional 75 countries (from 15 countries previously). Through this facility, the government targets to attract 12 million foreign visitors in 2016.
The Indonesian government also has the ambitious target of welcoming 20 million foreign tourists by 2019, collecting USD $20 billion in foreign exchange.
Terrorist attacks in Jakarta to Impact on Tourist Numbers?
The recent terrorist attacks in Jakarta could mean a dip in foreign tourist arrivals at the start of 2016. From recent history we know that a portion of tourists tends to avoid Indonesia after a terrorist attack. After the 2002/2005 bombings in Bali and the 2009 Ritz-Carlton/Marriott bombings in Jakarta foreign visitor arrivals fell or stagnated in the following months. The terrorist attacks in Jakarta on 14 January 2016, however, only led to one foreign casualty (a Canadian) and one Indonesian victim and therefore foreigners may feel less threatened compared to the aforementioned terrorist attacks which took more lives.