With the latest grant of complimentary visa on arrival to 75 countries, Indonesia is fast-tracking its tourist arrivals to meet its target of 20 million tourists by 2019. This takes the number of countries with free visa facility to citizens of 90 countries, the blanket permit of which is expected to double Indonesia’s arrivals from the current 12 million. India is one of the 75 countries whose citizens are granted free visa since 1 November.
Toufik Nurhidayat, Deputy Director, Asia Pacific Promotion at Indonesia Tourism said: “India and Indonesia have strong relationship since centuries. History books state that Indonesia was already ruled by Hindu kingdoms in 8th century. We have temples of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma at the largest Hindu temple complex of Prambanan in Yogyakarta. Even (epic) Ramayana, Mahabharata and (characters) Rama, Sita and Hanuman are easily seen in Indonesia.” Many Gujarati traders have been living and trading in Indonesia since many centuries. Many Sanskrit words are part of Indonesian vocabulary.
Saut Siringoringo, Consul General, Consulate General of The Republic of Indonesia, Mumbai, India, said: “Visa fee waiver of $ 35 though seems small, makes a difference when a family of three or four is travelling to Indonesia.”
Visitors can spend the saved visa money on shopping, which is more attractive because of stronger Indian Rupee against Indonesian Rupiah (1 INR=204 Rupiah). 177 malls in Jakarta offer tourists plenty of shopping options with batik clothes, casual and skilled artifacts and furniture being a big draw.
Mr Siringoringo said: “We want to increase people to people contact between the two countries and are presenting on Indonesia at different universities in India. I spoke to the President of Garuda Indonesia airlines during my recent trip to Jakarta and he has said that they are working out on a plan to bring direct flight connections between Bali-Jakarta-Mumbai and Jakarta-New Delhi.” A double digit increase is expected in India arrivals to Indonesia next year.
Prambanan Temple at Jogyakarta
Indonesia tourism authority organised two sales missions in India along with the visit of a ministry level delegation at PATA Travel Mart in Bengaluru this year. The country is hosting next year’s PATA Travel Mart in Capital Jakarta. Vibrant and busiest city on Indonesia’s largest island of Java is a gateway to nature-rich country of more than 13,000 islands. Visitors can get a peek into variety culture at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah or ‘Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park’ at the culture-based recreational park spread on 250 acres in city’s eastern outskirts.
Written By Anand & Madhura Katti