The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Tuesday expressed its full support to the decision of the Government of Indonesia to grant free visa travel to citizens from 169 countries. Seventy-nine countries were added in March to Indonesia’s visa free entry list.
The measure looks for attracting international tourism to the country by simplifying travel procedures and follows research by UNWTO and WTTC that shows that visa facilitation in the ASEAN economies could create between 333,000 to 654,000 new jobs in a period of three years.
The visa-free policy is valid for a maximum stay of 30 days, has no restriction on the number of visits per year, and is non-extendable nor convertible to any other stay permit. Nationals of visa-free countries can enter Indonesia in any of the 124 immigration check points that the country possesses.
“Indonesia is setting an example to the world. UNWTO welcomes the decision of the Government of Indonesia which clearly reflects the commitment of the country with the development of the tourism sector as a driver of economic growth, jobs and well-being for its people” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
UNWTO has been extensively advocating for the benefits of safe, secure and seamless travel as a means to promote tourism development and multiply socio-economic benefits of the sector.
According to the UNWTO/WTTC Report Impact of Visa Facilitation in ASEAN Member States, ASEAN stands to gain 6 to 10 million additional international tourist arrivals from improved visa facilitation. The additional receipts generated by these tourists could reach between US$7 and US$12 billion.
Progress has been made at global level yet many opportunities remain for improvement, namely through maximizing the use of new technologies.
The 2015 UNWTO Visa Openness Report shows that the share of total tourists required to obtain a traditional visa prior to travelling continues to decline and is at its lowest level ever. In 2015, 39% of the world population could travel for tourism without obtaining a traditional visa prior to departure as compared to only 23% in 2008.