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Bali: Visa-on-arrival regulation not consistently implemented

Presidential Decree Number 18/2003 on the revocation of the Visa-Free Regulation is not yet consistently implemented in Bali.

Presidential Decree Number 18/2003 on the revocation of the Visa-Free Regulation is not yet consistently implemented in Bali.

Accordingly, the visa-on-arrival rule under which an overseas tourist is supposed to pay US$ 35 to enter the country is not yet implemented either. Such an inconsistent law enforcement has aroused controversy on the part of tourist business practitioners in the Paradise Island of Bali.

Ida Bagus Surakusuma of the PT Pacific World Nusantara Tourist Company, said here Wednesday that the government should be consistent in implementing the visa-on-arrival regulations.

Surakusuma was referring to State Minister of Culture and Tourism I Gde Ardika who could not give any clear-cut answer to such a question of inconsistency. Minister Gde Ardika here recently hosted a gathering of 200 tourist business professionals and journalists from Australia and some other countries.

Surakusuma said that the presidential decree should have been effective as of March 31, 2003 for a period of six months on the basis of stipulation contained there in. This means that by October this year, the presidential decree`s implementation should have been evaluated, Surakusuma said.

Surakusuma, however, added that there had been pros and cons toward the presidential decree on the part of tourist business professionals. That might be the reason why the visa-on-arrival regulation is not implemented consistently as expected, Surakusuma said.

Surakusuma also pointed out that Justice and Human Rights Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra had, once, expressed willingness to implement the visa-on-arrival beginning early next month.

On the contrary, State Minister of Culture and Tourism I Gde Ardika has expressed preference that the visa-on-arrival regulation be implemented across the board beginning January nest year.

Surakusuma stressed the need to socialize the visa-on-arrival regulations before being implemented. However, he said that he had also been convinced by the Immigration Office that the immigration authorities needed only two minutes to deal with each foreign tourist entering Indonesia.

So, fears that there will be long queues of overseas tourists before the airport`s immigration gate during the visa-on-arrival request is not relevant at all, Surakusuma said. Most of foreigners entering Bali are tourists, Surakusuma said.

Meanwhile, Head of Bali`s Immigration Office, I Gde Widiarta, said that the procedural stipulation dealing with the implementation of the Presidential Decree dealing with visa-on-arrival regulation had been formulated.

Necessary facilities have also been set at Bali`s Ngurah Rai international airport in case the presidential decree is implemented soon, Widiarta said.

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