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Indonesian Govt to include 84 more countries in free-entry policy

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Foreign visitors wait at a visa-on-arrival payment counter at an airport. Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli announced on Monday that the government would waive visa requirements for another 84 more countries starting this week. (Antara/Nyoman Budhiana)

The government is set to waive visa requirements for another 84 countries starting this week in an effort to boost arrivals of foreign tourists to the country.

“We decided to apply the visa-free policy to 84 more countries starting this week,” Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli said after a meeting at the ministry’s office in Jakarta on Monday, as quoted by news agency Antara.

Australia, Brazil, Ukraine, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Palestine, Honduras, Pakistan, Mongolia, Sierra Leone, Uruguay, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Israel, Albania, Mozambique, Macedonia, El Salvador, Zambia, Moldova, Madagascar, Georgia, Namibia, Kiribati, Armenia, Bolivia, Bhutan, Guatemala, Mauritius and Paraguay are among the countries mentioned by Rizal, whose nationals would no longer need a visa to enter Indonesia.

“The total number of countries so far [that fall under the visa-free entry policy] since October is 174,” added Rizal.

Hopefully, said Rizal, the extension of the free-entry policy would be able to boost foreign tourist arrivals to the archipelago, which was targeted to reach 20 million by 2019.

The number of foreign tourists reportedly increased by 19 percent year-on-year following the application of the policy to 47 countries in October.

“The [19 percent] figure is much higher than the normal growth [rate], which is usually only 6 to 8 percent,” said Rizal.

According to the National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) for 2015-2019, the government also aims to earn of US$20 million in foreign exchange and have 7 million direct workers employed in the tourism sector (up from 3 million at present) in 2019.

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