Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office Anak Agung Yuniarta explained here on Thursday that the countries to be included in the implementation of the visa-free program are viewed as potential markets of foreign tourists to Indonesia.
"We need to include these countries in order to bring more tourists to achieve the target of foreign visitors," stated Yuniarta.
Earlier, the government had provided visa-free facility to the citizens of China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and Australia.
These countries were selected as they were the main markets for Indonesian tourism. The increase in the number of visa-free countries was needed to achieve the target of 20 million foreign visitors, or 450 thousand additional foreign tourists per year, by 2019.
The number of foreign visitors to Bali rose 14.78 percent year-on-year to 3.41 million in the first 11 months of 2014, according to data made available by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
An increase was recorded in the number of visitors from nine of the 10 main countries of origin. Visitors from Australia rose 18.7 percent to 895,069 from 754,049.
The number of visitors from Australia constituted 26.18 percent of the total number of foreign visitors to Bali, followed by Chinese visitors totaling 539,371 or an increase of 49.28 percent, Malaysian visitors increasing 14.87 percent to 172,487 tourists, and Japanese tourists totaling 195,541 or an increase of 1.64 percent.
(Reporting by Dewa Wiguna/Uu.INE/KR-BSR/H-YH)