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Indonesia welcomes 6.9 million foreign tourists in wake of free-visa policy

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, July 18, 2016  /  04:29 pm
Indonesia welcomes 6.9 million foreign tourists in wake of free-visa policy

The picturesque Lake Toba, as seen from Samosir Island in North Sumatra. (Shutterstock/-)

Indonesia has recorded over 6.9 million foreign-tourist arrivals following the implementation of a free-visa policy for citizens of 169 countries. 

Immigration Directorate General spokesman Heru Santoso said 4,095,264 of the foreigners were from 15 countries that have reciprocal agreements with Indonesia, while 2,881,945 arrived from 144 countries that have no such pact.

"The figure is still far from our target of 20 million [foreign] tourists per year, but I believe the number will increase in the future," he said as quoted by tempo.co.

Heru said there were 10 countries no citizens of which had visited Indonesia despite the implementation of a free-visa policy, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Burundi, the Czech Republic, Gabon, Haiti, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Lesotho, Puerto Rico and Saint Lucia.

"I think the promotion campaign still needs to be intensified," he said.

(Read also: Govt to focus on 10 tourist destinations outside Bali)

First introduced in June last year, the policy initially allows visitors from 45 countries to stay within the country for 30 days for tourism purposes using a free tourist visa. This permit can only be obtained from nine entry points consisting of international airports and seaports across the country. In March, 84 more countries were added to the list, bringing up to 174 the total number of countries included within the policy.

According to data from the Tourism Ministry, the number of tourist arrivals at 19 entry points in Indonesia reached 10,406,759 last year, an increase of 10.29 percent from 2014.

To further boost the numbers, the government recently introduced 10 new destinations dubbed "the new Balis" and accelerated development in major tourist areas. (tan/kes)

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