Indonesia Says No to Visa Free Travel for Australians, but Yes to 30 Other Countries

Indonesia says no to visa free travel for Australians, but yes to 30 other countries

One of the top visitors to Indonesia are Australians. As a special thank you for the business, Indonesia said now no to visa free travel for tourists and business from Australia traveling to neighboring Indonesia.

Indonesia however will allow tourists from an additional 30 countries to visit without a visa.

The move comes as Jakarta seeks to boost a faltering economy, which is growing at five-year lows, and to attract more foreign income as the rupiah rapidly weakens.

The country currently only allows tourists from 15 countries, mostly in Southeast Asia, to visit without a visa. People from a number of other countries can buy a tourist visa on arrival.

“We hope that we can attract an additional one million foreign tourists,” an Indonesia tourism spokesperson said. He also thinks it will bring $1 billion a year in additional revenue. Did he make the calculation without the Australians?

Indonesia has long lagged behind its neighbours in attracting foreign visitors. In 2013, 8.8 million foreign visitors came to Indonesia, according to official figures, compared with 25.72 million in Malaysia and 26.55 million in Thailand.

Australia, which accounted for more than 10 per cent of Indonesia’s foreign visitors in 2013, was not included in the list of countries whose citizens will no longer require a visa.

Ties between Indonesia and Australia have deteriorated in recent months as Jakarta prepares to execute two Australian drug traffickers on death row who were convicted of trying to smuggle heroin out of Bali.

However, most of the 30 countries added to the list require Indonesians to obtain a visa before visiting.

Australian nationals can nevertheless purchase a tourist visa on arrival.

Indonesia’s economy has been hard hit as investors withdraw funds and redirect them back towards more developed markets, which have recently been showing signs of renewed strength.

The economic woes have seen the rupiah sink to a 17-year low against the dollar in recent days.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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