"President Joko Widodo has issued Presidential Decree Number 104 of 2015 regarding visa-free facility for visitors from 90 countries and Presidential Decree Number 105, 2015 for easy access for foreign yachts to enter Indonesia," the chairman of the Committee of Public Policy of the ministry of transportation, retired admiral Dr Marsetya said at a meeting on tourist ships at the Benoa office of port operator Pelindo III here Saturday.
The governments decision was aimed at boosting foreign tourist arrivals through the sea with the target set at 1.8 million in 2016 or higher than 1.3 million in 2015, he said.
Visits by yachts are expected to reach 2,200 this year up from 1,500 in 2015 while visits by cruise ships are expected to reach 530, up from 460 in 2015, Marsetya said.
"To meet the targets steps would be needed to follow up the presidential decrees at a ministerial level which would be more operational especially in connection with licensing that has so far been the main obstacle," he said.
In neighboring countries especially Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand the number of yacht and cruise ship visits was far higher because procedures to get entry permits are easier there especially with regard to custom, immigration, quarantine and port clearance, he said.
The government has already issued the transportation ministers regulation PM 171m 2015 to allow foreign cruise ships to embark and disembark tourists at five ports namely Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, Belawan and Bali, he said.
So, foreign as well as domestic tourists who wish to enjoy cruising could depart from the five ports.
Foreign yachts are now no longer requested to have a CAIT (Clearance, Approval for Indonesia Territory) permit to enter the country, Marsetya said. ***1***
Reporting by I Komang Suparta