JAKARTA - Indonesia has said it will conduct an evaluation regarding visa-free entry next month as the country aims to attract tourists but with sustainability in focus.
The country's tourism minister Sandiaga Uno said Indonesia will consider granting visa-free entry for foreigners based on the three criteria of "reciprocity, usefulness, and security,".
The minister noted after attending a meeting chaired by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) that the government targets foreigners who will stay in Indonesia for more than seven days and spend US$1,000 per person.
The minister said the government is keen to ensure that foreign tourists visiting Indonesia bring an impact on the economy, such as by opening up businesses and employment opportunities.
"We want the economy to grow and also an increase in the number of jobs in the tourism sector and the creative economy," he noted.
Regarding the Golden Visa policy, the minister remarked that currently, the policy is still in the finalization stage, and regulations regarding this visa will be finalized after obtaining approval from the president.
It merits mentioning that the government had temporarily suspended visa-free entry for 159 countries through a Decree of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
The reason for such suspension was that it had impacts on the state including disturbance of public order and the spread of diseases from countries that have not been declared clean or free of certain diseases by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The country has recently stepped-up efforts to promote high-quality tourism and reduce the number of low-spending tourists on Bali Island.
Moreover, a tax worth 150,000 rupiah ($10) will be imposed on tourists visiting Bali from next year in an effort to preserve its culture and raise funds. Bali, known as the 'Island of Gods,' generates revenue from tourism and seeks to capitalize on its attractive hotspots besides safeguarding its tropical allure.
Confirming the tax, Governor I Wayan Koster explained that the fee will be a one-time payment for foreign tourists visiting Bali and must be paid electronically and will be applicable to international tourists arriving in Bali from abroad or other parts of Indonesia. Interestingly, domestic Indonesian tourists will be exempt from this levy.
When asked if the new tax would deter visitors from touring the destination, Koster negated the perception and said authorities did not believe numbers would reduce.
"It's not a problem. We will use it for the environment, culture and we will build better quality infrastructure, so traveling to Bali will be more comfortable and safe," he told reporters.
“This effort requires cooperation, participation, and mutual cooperation between the Government, Regional Governments, tourism actors, and foreign tourists,” Koster added.
Bali is also cracking down on rowdy visitors after a series of incidents that included acts of disrespect to the predominantly Hindu island's culture surfaced.
Besides tax, awareness is also in focus as in March, Bali's tourism board said it would begin an advertising campaign designed to educate visitors on how to behave at culturally sensitive locations.
Bali remains a favorite spot for partygoers and the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) reported tourist arrivals to the island in March 2023 as 370,832 visits which is 14.59% increase compared to February 2023.
Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar in the open market on March 4, 2024 (Monday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.3 for buying and 282.45 for selling.
Euro currently stands at 302.5 for buying and 305.5 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 354 for buying, and 359 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.3 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.5.
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