Fri, 05 Dec 2003

On visa-free entry

Your article headlined Govt delays implementation of new visa policy again (The Jakarta Post, Nov. 28) quotes the immigration department as saying that Indonesia plans to "adopt a simple visa-on-arrival procedure, as applied in Thailand".

In recent years I have entered Thailand several times by land, sea and air from Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia but I have never been asked to pay for an entry visa. In fact, only a small minority of visitors to Thailand are required to buy visas because Thailand, like Malaysia and Singapore, grants visa-free entry to tourists from all main source markets in East Asia, Oceania, Europe and North America.

So it is misleading to suggest that by introducing a visa fee Indonesia is following in the footsteps of countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore when in reality it is following in the footsteps of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.