The Jakarta Post
Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli said on Tuesday that the government would extend its visa-free policy to another 47 countries by October, increasing the number of countries that enjoy the facility to 92.
Among the 47 countries are Australia and the Vatican.
Rizal said that the decision was aimed at boosting tourist arrivals and increasing the government's foreign currency income. The government has targeted 20 million tourist arrivals in the next five years.
'We hope this [policy] can attract more tourists and create new jobs,' he said, as quoted by tempo.co.
He said the government's previous policy to waive visas for 45 countries had proved positive with tourist arrivals increasing by 15 percent.
'We hope this extension will double the country's foreign exchange income to US$20 million in the next five years,' he added.
Rizal explained that the government had set up criteria for countries that could enjoy visa-free entry into Indonesia.
'Countries that have drugs, economic or radicalization problems, have been scratched from the list,' he said, adding that the previous proposal mentioned 50 countries but the government had decided to exclude three countries for failing to meet its criteria.
Rizal said that his ministry would coordinate with the directorate general of immigration at the Law and Human Rights Ministry to enforce the new policy.
The director general of immigration Ronny F. Sompie said he planned to add more counters at various ports and airports in Indonesia to anticipate the increased tourist arrivals.
'We will also prepare an online system so we can trace the background of people visiting Indonesia in real time to ensure they are not on the entry blacklist,' he said. (edn/ika)
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