DestinationsLimitless potential if Indonesia can extend short-term visas for travellers with passports not eligible for visa on arrival.

Travel players urge Indonesia to grant travellers short-term visas

|
To drive tourism, Indonesia has reactivated visa on arrival for 86 countries, but it can still tap on permanent residents staying in these countries.
To drive tourism, Indonesia has reactivated visa on arrival for 86 countries, but it can still tap on permanent residents staying in these countries. Photo Credit: Adobe/tawatchai1990

Indonesia is doubling down on its efforts to retain and grow Singapore as a visitor source market, starting with a trade conference in the Lion City to re-engage the travel industry.

Singapore has been a priority market and will remain a key focus for Indonesia's tourism recovery efforts, revealed Indonesian minister for tourism and creative economy Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno during the trade conference on 30 September.

Between January to July 2022, Indonesia’s top three markets hailed from Australia (153,000), Singapore (153,000) and Malaysia (107,500).

But more could be done to unlock Indonesia's potential as a tourism destination since its reopening in April, and the country's officials intend to tap into the Singapore market for that.

“Yes, there're still limited flights and visa issues," said Sandiaga, "but we are realising that post-pandemic tourism trends point to travel which is more personalised, localised, customised and smaller in size.”

From left: Sulaiman Shehdek, country manager, Wonderful Indonesia Tourism Office; and Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, minister of tourism and creative economy
From left: Sulaiman Shehdek, country manager, Wonderful Indonesia Tourism Office; and Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, minister of tourism and creative economy

While Indonesia is a popular holiday and weekend destination, access to the country is not equally felt across travellers from Singapore.

Many permanent residents, foreign workers and expatriates who call the Lion City home also want to travel to nearby countries without the hassle of applying for a visa. Many of Singapore’s permanent residents, for instance, visit Bintan or Batam at least once a month, with some even planning a day trip just to play golf.

“I used to live here [in Singapore], and I understand that many people who live here may not hold Singapore passports,” said Sandiaga.

Therefore, despite the Indonesian government reintroducing its visa on arrival scheme for foreign nationals with passports from 86 countries and regions, the Singapore and Indonesia tourism stakeholders present at the conference requested for special dispensation to be given to Singapore residents whose passports are not eligible for Indonesia’s visa on arrival (VOA) scheme.

If Indonesia implements a short-term visa on arrival spanning five to seven days, the move may exponentially increase the appeal for this untapped Singapore market.

Among industry players advocating for this concept was Michael Goh, president and head of international sales of Resorts World Cruises (RWC). “The majority of Resorts World Cruises’ passengers are foreigners who do not hold Singapore passports," he said, "and with RWC’s upcoming sailing to Bali and Surabaya on 18 December with 4,000 passengers onboard, 60% of which are foreigners, the visa is quite pressing for them to conveniently disembark at these ports of call, spurring more tourism spend at these locales."

Welcome to PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, Singapore

Eco-friendly practices and innovations, thoughtfully integrated at PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, Singapore, provide sustainable travel experiences for everyone.

Read Now

Up, Up and Sail Away Into Opportunities
July - September 2022 eBook

As ports of calls resume in Southeast Asia, it’s time for travel agents to take advantage of the sea of opportunities in cruising and grow their business.

Read Now



JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI