Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Free Indonesia visas for Aussies on hold

Aussie holidaymakers heading to Bali look set to continue paying for visas on arrival until Indonesia can get fees waived for its citizens visiting Australia.
In November, Indonesia's tourism minister announced the government may scrap the $US35 fee for citizens of Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia from this month.
But so far, the ruling only applies to Japan.
Agus Barnas, spokesman for Indonesia's Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Law and Security, says Indonesia wants to pursue a reciprocal arrangement with Australia.
"For Australia, there's still obstacles on political and security issues," he told AAP.
"Other than that, free visas should be given reciprocally."
Japan has waived visa fees for Indonesians visiting for up to 15 days.
A tourism expert from Bali's Udayana University, Nyoman Sukma Arida, says it's wise to delay the plan.
"We have to research whether visas are a factor that deter more people from coming to Indonesia," he told AAP. "Are there problems with visas and is the fee a determining factor for tourists?"
He says the government is right to pursue reciprocal arrangements.
"We can't treat these free visas like a sale giveaway," he said.
Indonesia already offers free visas to ASEAN member countries and six others. It is aiming to boost foreign tourism by about seven per cent in 2015, to 10 million visitors.(Travelweekly)

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