Indonesia may soon join the list of countries allowing visa-free entry to tourists. The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism has proposed issuing free entry visas to travellers from 20 countries, including India.
The move is being seen as a bid to promote tourism and boost the economy as tourism is one of the major industries of the island country.
“The ministry proposed 20 countries with the highest (number of) foreign tourists, except for those with existing visa exemptions,” Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno said in Jakarta.
He said the provision of free entry visas to the 20 countries is expected to increase foreign tourist visits, which will generate a multiplier effect, boosting domestic consumption, attracting investment, and supporting the development of the digital economy.
“We are targeting quality tourists, especially those with longer stays and higher spending in the local economy,” he pointed out.
The 20 countries include Australia, China, India, South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, among others.
Earlier in the month, citizens of China and India were granted visa-free entry to Malaysia for a duration of up to 30 days from December 1.
China and India represent Malaysia’s fourth and fifth-largest tourist markets. Government data indicates that between January and June of this year, Malaysia welcomed a total of 9.16 million tourists. Of these, 498,540 were from China, and 283,885 were from India.
In 2019, before the onset of the pandemic, Malaysia received 1.5 million tourists from China and 354,486 from India.
Similarly, Thailand, a neighbouring country heavily dependent on the tourism sector, has also adopted measures such as exempting Chinese and Indian nationals, among others, from visa requirements.
Thailand has announced the temporary removal of visa requirements for travellers from India and Taiwan until May 2024. Thailand welcomed 22 million visitors between January and October 29, resulting in a revenue of 927.5 billion baht (equivalent to $25.67 billion).
This decision follows a previous move in September to eliminate visa requirements for Chinese tourists, who were a significant source of visitors before the pandemic, accounting for 11 million out of the record 39 million arrivals in 2019.