"In the near future, we will announce tariff reduction on VoA, not only for Singaporean or ASEAN tourists but also for expatriates from other countries to visit Riau Islands with more affordable price," he stated during his working visit to Bintan, Riau Islands, on Sunday, September 17.
He noted that the VoA tariff reduction is expected to increase the quantity and quality of foreign tourist visits to Riau Islands, especially in Bintan.
According to Uno, so far, the quality of foreign tourist arrivals to the Riau Islands, in terms of length of stay, is relatively short. Moreover, some foreign tourists came by fast boat from Singapore to Lagoi and then returned on the same day.
In future, the length of stay is targeted to increase to bring multiplier effects, including improving the welfare of local residents, he stated.
Meanwhile, Chief Operating Officer of Bintan Resort Cakrawal (BRC), as manager of the Lagoi tourist area, Abdul Wahab, remarked that foreign tourist visits to Bintan Island were still low after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Related news: More flights, eased visa rules can boost tourist arrivals: Minister
During the period from January to August 2023, the number of foreign tourist arrivals had reached 343,848, smaller as compared to 1,272,508 arrivals recorded in 2019, he noted.
He explained that one of the reasons behind the small number of tourist visits to Bintan is the VoA regulation that burdens some tourists.
The VoA tariff of Rp500 thousand per person for 30 days is not suitable for foreign tourists only staying for three to four days in Bintan, he remarked.
"Actually, they need a short-term visa with more affordable prices," Wahab stated.
Riau Islands Governor Ansar Ahmad also noted that his side had proposed to the central government for a reduction in VoA fees, specifically for tourist areas in the Riau Islands.
"(Reducing) VoA costs is our main concern to bring more foreign tourists to this region," he stated.
Related news: e-VoA app makes visa process convenient for foreign tourists: Uno