The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has renewed its call on the Federal Government to match Indonesia’s decision to scrap the $49 fee on Australian tourists on a one month tourist visa.
The Indonesian Government has announced the removal of the tourist visa fee for another 90 countries, including Australia, bringing the total to 169 countries.
“This is an aggressive strategy by the Indonesian Government to attract 20 million international visitors over the next five years and Australia is being left behind with our increasingly uncompetitive visa system,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
“An Australian travelling to an Indonesian destination like Bali will now incur no fee on a trip of less than a month but when the shoe is on the other foot, an Indonesian traveller coming to Australia is being charged $135 for the same visa.
“The Indonesians report that they experienced a 19 per cent increase in visitor numbers after their last round of visa fee waivers in 2015 – this is an absolute no-brainer for Australia to follow suit.
“Indonesia is one of Australia’s closest neighbours with a growing middle class population. Yet it is far down the list, at number 12, by the country of origin, for tourists coming to Australia with only 151,700 Indonesians visiting the past 12 months.
“The Indonesian tourism market is worth approximately $10.8 billion a year but Australia is only attracting $500 million of that spending – a paltry 5.5 per cent of the Indonesian market.
“It’s a big world and travellers have the choice between a destination like Indonesia that won’t charge you for a short-term visit and Australia who will slug you $135 – which one is sending you the strongest message that they want you to visit their country?
“The Indonesians recognise the value of Australian tourists by this decision to abolish the visa fee for one month tourist visas. It’s just common sense that Australia should follow suit in abolishing our disincentive for travellers in Indonesia and beyond to visit our country.”