MICHELLE VARINATA WRITES – “Indonesia waives visa requirements!” With Asia One’s screaming headline, the recent passing of Indonesia’s visa requirement law pertains to only five countries: South Korea, Russia, Australia, China and Japan. Tourists from these five countries will be given visa-free travel by the Indonesian government. While this handful of countries receives royalty treatment, readers of The Jakarta Post have voiced their own opinions on the issue on its Reader’s Forum.

“This government is at last a thinking government and five countries are a good start. Hopefully, it will be extended to the whole world!” posted Lasem Benny.

“The question is whether it is a good tactic to waive visas for tourists…and not for potential tourists from other countries who would come to Indonesia if it were visa-free. I suppose there has been an impact study before the government took that decision, but who knows,” read a post from another reader, Terry McAsee.

The contrasting statements between the two readers demonstrate that the Indonesian government’s new move to repeal the visa is only somewhat beneficial. For tourists who travel to Indonesia, they have to pay $35 USD just to travel around the archipelago upon arrival.

While the Indonesian government is strengthening its emerging travel industry, it’s understandable why the country will open its visa-free travel to five countries. These countries are economic powerhouses within the Asia/Pacific region whose residents are willing to spend their income to frequently travel to Indonesia. Hence, it makes sense for the Indonesian government to open up to these five nations at the moment since they just passed this law.

As Indonesia is moving towards a positive direction, perhaps the government will provide the option to travel visa-free for more countries.