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Indonesia to evaluate free-visa policy for foreign tourists

Indonesian Tourism Ministry will evaluate its free-visa policy introduced last year to boost foreign tourist arrivals following reports of immigration violations, The Jakarta Post Online reported on Friday.

The free-visa policy for 169 countries was introduced based on Presidential Regulation No 21.2016.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said foreign tourist arrivals increased 18.87 percent last year. He likened free-visa policy to a starter card in cell phones. The easier we can get the cards, the more people will use them, said the minister.

Previously, Maritime Coordinating Minister Luhurt Pandjaitan said the government might revoke the policy for two reasons � if the policy did not have a positive impact on tourism and if tourists from certain countries frequently violated immigration regulations.

Many critics, including several lawmakers, have called for a re-evaluation of the policy following reports of Chinese tourists frequently violating immigration regulations.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)