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Indonesia to scrap tourist visa fees in 2015?


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Reports are circulating that Indonesia might be scrapping tourist visa fees in 2015. The countries being proposed to get free visas include Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

Indonesia’s tourism minister Arief Yahya told reporters: “These five countries are Indonesia’s major markets, with big potential to grow.”

The tourist visa fee (VOA) is currently US$35 and the number of visitors to Indonesia is approaching nearly 9 million people, so it would be quite a loss of income for the country.

Regular visitors to Indonesia will of course be happy with the change, but it is difficult to say if it will directly lead to an increase in tourists. Some countries in South East Asia have a visa on arrival fee, such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Singapore and Malaysia are free to enter.

Some people may argue that tourists will spend more once they arrive in the country if they don’t have to pay a fee, but of course there is no way to know that this will be the case. I think one of the main advantages for tourists is that it would make entry a little smoother.
I have read through some of people’s opinions on Facebook and quite a few people have said that they would prefer to pay the fee and see that the money is spent on infrastructure and social welfare programs.

What do you think? Do you think scrapping the visa on arrival will boost tourism?



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12 Responses to Indonesia to scrap tourist visa fees in 2015?

  1. Susan November 5, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    I don’t think a lot of the visa on arrival goes towards infrastructure or social welfare situations. I think a lot of this money goes into government private pockets.
    I travel to Indonesia a couple of times each year and for around 40 years, and would like to see the visa on arrival be stopped.
    I DO think this would get more tourists to visit!

  2. Violet Browne November 5, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Hi Mike,
    firstly thank you for all your helpful tips. I read them avidly.
    Having just returned with my son from a wonderful holiday, I feel AU$88 for 2 is quite a big chunk and even more so for a bigger family. I agree $20 or $25 is more acceptable and the process is soooo agoinising – both going in and out and turns a 5.5 hour flight into a 10.5 hour ordeal with traffic etc. Loved the calm of Candi Dasa – the east coast should be promoted a lot more. It’s stunning and easy to get to anywhere including 1 hour to UBUD.

  3. David November 6, 2014 at 1:53 am #

    I know many families who choose places like Thailand over Indonesia due to the visa cost. Yes families will spend money like water while on holiday (max that VISA card) but the holiday budget is worked-out before the trip and +$100 difference will always make Thailand look cheaper.

    Visa money going toward infrastructure sounds great but we all know that would never happen.

  4. tamara November 6, 2014 at 3:23 am #

    if we are going for a ninety day stay and my husband will need to do mutlitple trips back to adelaide, which visa would you recommend??

  5. Paul K November 8, 2014 at 1:46 am #

    The very word “Infrastructure” is full fraud. Therefore any Government that is likely using Infrastructure is already committed to fraud at tax payers expense. Wake up people. Deals are done behind closed doors regardless of your well meant support for any polly.

  6. Kaiza Solza November 8, 2014 at 4:04 am #

    Scrapping visa and red tape (For yachts ) would massively increase visitors to Indonesia. My wife and I are permanently “live a boards” and we would come in a flash if red tape and time restrictions was scrapped

  7. Johnny Cool November 9, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    @ Arno MW NL
    “Almost no waiting time anymore at DPS since the new airport. It’s cut back from sometimes hours to only minutes.”

    REALLY? That’s not been my experience at the “new airport”. (Last time, 5 weeks ago – before that, middle of last year.) It’s as dreadful as ever, possibly even worse than before. However, on many Garuda flights these days, it’s possible to complete the immigration requirements on-board. You get a plastic token at the end and once the flight has landed, simply walk through and wait for your luggage to appear. Unfortunately, unless you snag a good deal on a Garuda ticket, they tend to charge much more than competing airlines.

    “Rubber time” is not a valid excuse for plain incompetence and indifference, especially in an “international” airport. Why are there so many counters without any staff “working”? Ever been to, say, Singapore? Get off your flight, and get through immigration in maybe 15 minutes, or less. No touts to be seen – no shonky “VIP Fast visa service” crap.

    Charging US$35 for a VOA is a ridiculous rip-off. It doesn’t help “improve” any of the infrastructure in Bali. Want to extend your VOA for the one allowable extra month (= 30 days)? What a circus! The new Immigration office near the airport is like a hell on earth. I had a reputable contact there. All I needed to do was get my photo and fingerprints taken. That took me the best part of nearly three hours in total.

    So – apart from the high VOA fee, there’s also the “departure tax” (another $20). If the Indonesian officials really wanted to “stream-line” anything, why not get rid of it, or include it up-front in the VOA fee? Charge $55 straight out, so people leaving don’t have to line up yet again.

  8. Steve December 7, 2014 at 4:03 am #

    What I think would be a good idea is for tourists to nominate their stay length and pay a fee of perhaps USD$1 per day. Offices to make extensions could be located in various strategic locations in tourist areas if tourists decide to make such an extension during their stay, with a nominal processing fee and new passport stamp etc.
    Then people (families especially) coming in on a short stay would be more likely to come, or those in country for 6-8 weeks of surfing could do it without major hassles.

    I used to love the old USD$10 VOA for short stays. It was a bad decision to remove it, especially for those expats in Singapore who are frequent travellers to Batam for weekends.

  9. Sindy January 1, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    No, Bali is not scrapping the visa on arrival fee. Our family of 5 arrived on the 1st January 2015 in the evening & we were told not only did we still have to pay au$48 per person but they were not scrapping the fee at all. We were shocked as we’ve read on all websites & been told it was scrapped as of today. Goes to show that you can’t believe anything.

    • Michael Henry January 4, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

      I have read that it is supposed to end on January 15, but of course who knows if this is true or not.

  10. Kev January 2, 2015 at 1:55 am #

    The voa should be scrapped for us English travellers too. Also the airport tax that we pay included in our ticket price should cover indonesia. It covers anywhere else in the world so why not there??? Also I find the daily overstay charge is way too much, 300,000rp a day when it only about 430,000 for 30 day voa.

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