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Bali Tourism Association Calls On Government To Expand Visa On Arrival Program To 198 Countries

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The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bali have confirmed that they will be submitting a proposal to the central government of Indonesia requesting that the visa on arrival program is extended to include all 198 of the world’s recognized countries. 

In a bold move, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bali, also commonly referred in English to as the Bali Tourism Association, will be lodging a proposal to expand Indonesia’s newly resumed visa on arrival program. The visa on arrival program was resumed in phases as of February 2022, when borders officially reopened. As of the 28th of April 2022, the government added an additional 17 countries to the list, taking the total number of countries to sixty. This was considered sufficient and saw Indonesia’s visa on arrival program open to as many countries as it was before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The visa on arrival program is currently open to travelers from South Africa, United States of America, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Philippines, Finland, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Cambodia, Canada, South Korea, Croatia, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Myanmar, Norway, France, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, New Zealand, Seychelles, Singapore, Cyrus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste, China, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Vietnam, and Greece. 

The visa on arrival is not free. The charge is 500,000 IDR ($35), is valid for 30-days, and can be extended one time within Bali. There have been rumors that there are plans to triple the visa on arrival fee. In a recent press statement, Bali Governor Wayan Koster denied this.

There would be an immediate backlash at such a staggering increase. It is clear that the Indonesian government is keen to be seen as keeping everyone as happy as they can be it comes to policies around travel and tourism as the world opens back from Covid-19.

The Bali Tourism Office have told local reporters that they believe increasing the visa on arrival to 198 would help speed up the recovery of Bali’s tourism sector and in turn the national economy. They cited that over the Eid Al-Fitr holiday that hotel occupancy across Bali increased to 60% but that there has since been a drop off in visitor numbers.

They said that they hope international tourist numbers will increase as Europe and North America head into the summer and as Australia and New Zealand move closer to the long winter school holidays. 

Such a move would be a world first. At present, there is no country in the world that issues a visa on arrival to every other country in the world. Visa on arrival programs are often bilateral, reciprocal agreements, meaning if one country agrees to offer a visa on arrival for the citizens of another country, that other country will mirror the offering.

Though this is often the case for countries that also have other strong shared political ties, such as trade agreements. For example, a visitor from the USA may visit Indonesia and receive a visa on arrival, but an Indonesian citizen must apply for a visa before visiting the USA. Yet an Indonesian traveler may visit any nation within the ASEAN trade block and received a 30-day visa on arrival.

There are significant political implications involved in opening the visa on arrival program to the world’s 198 recognized countries. Some commentators may call it a short-sighted or even desperate attempt to keep tourism numbers from their natural ebb and flow.

Others may call it a stroke of genius that would position Indonesia as a world leader in an increasingly globalized world. Though the proposal is likely to be declined by the central government the proposal has certainly been food for thought for the hospitality and tourism sector in Bali.

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George

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

You already checked how much the airlines like Qatar, emirates, Turkish airlines charge for flights from Europe to Bali. The rates are double compared with before the pandemie. I was shocked when I checked the rates yesterday.

Randy

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

A bad idea to let the door widely open. Quality precedes quantity.

Setifiver

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

Seria mejor quitar pcr a la llegada para los vacunados con las tres dosis. Como en europa. Saludos

Paul

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

This is just lip service/window dressing and will never be approved. The focus should be on getting VOA fee scraped for everybody (not just ASEAN) as this is a real disincentive for families to Bali and day trippers to Batam/Bintan.

Randy

Thursday 19th of May 2022

@Ben, each country has its own rules like your country has its own rules for incoming foreign travelers. Why would a sovereign country even let everyone walks in anyway...it's a recipe for a PR disaster when people are not properly vetted. A bad idea. Quality precedes quantity.

Ben

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

@Paul, I don't see why it's not possible to at least return to the situation as it was in early 2019, with visa-free entry for many nationalities. What has changed?

Indonesia is just notoriously difficult on this matter, for no apparent reason. If you basically show up in a country like Malaysia, you get 90 days without any cost, no questions asked. It seems to work fine for them!

Brian Ingram

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

It is the PCR test before leaving that is still deterring many Australians. Costs 150 dollars and can stop you from travelling even if asymptomatic, having already paid for flights and often accommodation.

Wayan Bo

Thursday 19th of May 2022

@Wayan Brapa, worlds economic situation is rapidly worsting, inflation is rising.

Wayan Brapa

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

@Brian Ingram, it is not a lot of money to safeguard the citizens of your host country. 150 is a very small fraction of the average Australian weekly wage.

Randy

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

@Brian Ingram, as of this Tuesday May 17th 2022 the Indonesian government reports that the wearing of outdoor mask would be abolished except on public commute and with immunocompromised folks.

Furthermore the PCR and rapid antigen tests would also be scrapped for fully vaccinated domestic and international travelers. Check again but that's the recent news. The new rules will be effective starting Wednesday May 18th, 2022. We shall see...