Currently, Indonesia already exempts 15 countries from visa requirements for short visits. These are Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Chile, Hong Kong, Macau, Morocco, Peru and Ecuador.

The 30 additional countries that will not need to obtain a visa for short visits (starting from April) are China, Japan, South Korea, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Russia, England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UEA), Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and South Africa.

One notable exception is Australia. Although about 12 percent of total foreign tourists in Indonesia came from Australia (year 2014) - hence being the largest group of tourists in Indonesia after Singaporeans and Malaysians - Australians were not included in the list, most likely due to the current weak relations between Indonesia and Australia amid the imminent execution of two Australian drug traffickers. Australian authorities have objected fiercely to the looming executions and threatened to boycott Indonesia, for example by discouraging Australians to visit Bali, Indonesia’s most famous island and which attracts many tourist from Australia. Indonesian authorities, however, denied that the current tense diplomatic relations are the reason behind the decision to exclude Australians from obtaining visa-free holidays to Indonesia, instead referring to the importance of reciprocity (Australia has not waived visa requirements for Indonesian citizens).

Indonesian Minister for Tourism Arief Yahya said that this policy change is expected to increase revenue in the tourism sector as it will attract more foreign tourists to Indonesia, the largest archipelago in the world. Yahya estimates that visa-free travel for 45 countries will lead to an additional 1 million foreign visitor arrivals. As each foreign visitor spends an average USD $1,200 per visit to Indonesia, it will add USD $1.2 billion in foreign exchange earnings for Southeast Asia’s largest economy. In 2014, a total of 9.4 million foreigner visitor arrivals were recorded, up 7.19 percent from 8.8 million tourists in the preceding year. Growth of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia has accelerated since 2009 - the year when the last major radical Islam attack was committed (suicide bomb attacks on the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels). However, compared to regional peers Singapore and Malaysia, Indonesia still lags behind - by a distance - in terms of attracting foreign visitor arrivals. Previously, the Indonesian government said it targets to welcome 10 million foreign tourists in Indonesia in 2015. However, after allowing more countries to enter Indonesia without visa requirements for short visits, this target may be revised upwards.

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
March        725,316        765,607
April        646,117        726,332
May        700,708        752,363
June        789,594        851,475
July        717,784        777,210
August        771,009        826,821
September        770,878        791,296
October        719,900        808,767
November        807,422        764,461
December        766,966        915,334
Total       8,802,129       9,435,411        723,039

Source: Statistics Indonesia (BPS)

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)