Sounds too good to be true?
Currently citizens from most countries receive a Visa for a maximum stay of 30 days, when you arrive at any airport or port. Of course you have to pay USD 25 for it. When your 30 days are over, you have to leave the country and come back in to get a new Visa, which can be quite stressy in a country consisting of more than 17.000 islands covering an area bigger than Europe and Australia.
Basically you can only leave it with a flight to the surrounding countries or long-haul ferry trips, if you don’t stay in the Riau Region (close to Singapore) or the eastern part close to Timur or the Philippines. In countries like Thailand you have it easier to travel to neighbouring countries for Visa Runs.
Of course you can apply for a Social Budaya Visa for Indonesia (which allows a stay of 2 months with 4 extensions to a maximum of 6 months), but this requires a local sponsor.
In 2006 the battered tourism industry in Indonesia saw a further decline to less than 4 Million Visitors. And that for a country of 220 Million people on 17.000 islands which has so much to offer!
Compare that with tiny (4 million people) Singapore’s 9.7 Million Tourists and you know what I mean.
Of course there have been the 2 Bali bombings, several bombs in Jakarta, civil unrest in Sulawesi and Solo, as well as mudslides, the Tsunami and the drug-related headlines of the Bali 9, Schapelle Corby and model Michelle Leslie.
Of course you don’t strop travelling to New York, London, Madrid or other places effected by terrorism; but all in all it came quite bad for Indonesia the last couple of years. Basically starting with the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 90’s. The above mentioned tightening of the visa regulations in 2004 didn’t help either.
So is there finally hope?
There is! Indonesia is still a beautiful country and with a low price tag for it’s visitors and long-term tourists. Things can still improve of course. The Visa regulations are just one example. Let’s see how long it will take to implement the new rules, if at all.
Here the link back to ANTARA News with the full story about the possible changes.
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