Govt to Evaluate Visa-free Entry Facility
The Government gave a signal that visa-free entry facility that has been given to travelers from 169 countries would be evaluated. The evaluation would be conducted for, in particular, the countries that do not give significant impact to tourists visit to Indonesia.However, it is too early to be revealed. Let the Director General of Immigration as well as related parties carry out the evaluation. From tourism side, if the contribution is not significant, it should not be continued since violation is possible to occur, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut B. Pandjaitan said in his statement before the reporters after a Plenary Cabinet Meeting atBogor Presidential Palace, Wednesday (4/1) afternoon. The Minister asserted that the evaluation will be carried out after the program runs for one year.
On that occasion, the Coordinating Minister denied the assumption that foreign tourists from the countries that get visa-free facility have misused their visas to get a job in Indonesia. If there is any, according to Luhut, it is not many. He asked the parties that released this issue to provide the real data.
If there is someone says, there are thousands or hundreds of thousands illegal workers, he/she should come to me, show the data, and we will see the real condition. Dont lie, the Coordinating Minister firmly said.
The Coordinating Minister could not understand why, when other countries as well as international institutions praise the success of Indonesia, there are a number of people in Indonesia that give misleading information.When we speak, we must be supported by a data; dont just use your feeling. Once more, should there is someone has the data about those illegal workers, show it to me. If I make a mistake, I will admit it; but if not, he/she must face the consequence, Luhut further said.
Previously, at the beginning of the press statement, the Coordinating Minister said hat the contribution from tourism sector in 2016 has surpassed the target. The total of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia amounting to 12 million people, while domestic tourists increased from 260 million travels to 263 million travels.
The increase of tourism sectors contribution to foreign exchange as well as GDP, Luhut added, is also very significant. It surpassed the target, from Rp172 trillion to Rp184 trillion, while contribution to direct indirect national GDP also increases from 11 to 11.5 percent.Foreign exchange from foreign tourists also increases. It is our priority as I have just said. However, Indonesia is still behind Thailand. This is what we shoud improve. Thailand is around US$1,500 per one trip, while Indonesia is US$1,000 per one trip, Luhut said.
To support Indonesias tourism sector, the Coordinating Minister said that the Government must carry out some improvements, for example fixing the infrastructures and maintaining the cleanliness so the tourists can enjoy their visit and will stay longer.
The Minister added that investment in Mandalika (Lombok) almost finishes. Land acquisition in Mandalika worth almost US$2.9 billion. There are several hotels that will open their branches this year, such as Novotel, Royal Tulip, Pullman, Club Med, etc, Luhut further stated.
The development of Toba Lake has alsobeen pushed by the President. The results should be able to be seen by the end of the last quarter of 2019. The projects are, among others, acceleration of the development of Sibisa Airport, Silangit Airport, toll road from Siantar to Toba Lake, and repairment of Outer Ring Road.
One serious thing that must be handled now is garbage problem. Luhut explained that our sea is the second dirtiest after China. Therefore, the President asked to handle this issue seriously. All of you should be aware of the danger if plastic garbage eaten by fishes and the fishes eaten by a human. It will affect our genetics, the Coordinating Minister said.