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April 5, 2012

Indonesia - Travel Report - Simple Arithmetics of Visa On Arrival

Indonesia is growing leaps and bounds. Jakarta, its largest commercial and political capital is transforming itself into an ultra-modern city.

If not for the currency devaluation blip in the year 1991, Indonesia would have been one of the most advanced countries in the Asia Pacific region. Nevertheless, now they are doing a catch up and in a grand way.

Now Indonesia a trillion dollar economy.

In my recent visit last week, I was quite impressed at the simple arithmetics of their Visa On Arrival (VOA) facility. 

Indonesia offers VOA for visitors all major countries in the world. Each visitor is asked to pay USD 25 or equivalent in major currencies or in Indonesian Rupiah.

The foreign tourist arrivals (from Indonesia's statistical website) into Indonesia:

Year 2010             -     7,002,944
Year 2011 approx -     7,800,000

A simple calculation of 7,800,000 multiplied by USD 25 is - USD 195 million.

Now shifting the focus to India -

foreign tourist arrivals in 2010 (from tourism.gov.in) - 10 million. 

If we apply this simple VOA of USD 25 per tourist, VOA receipts would be - USD 250 million or a quarter Billion USD (or Rupees 1,250 crores!).

Doesn't it sound simple? All that we need is to create separate VOA counters, with smart intelligent customer friendly officers with pleasant behaviour. Simple forms, currency exchange and photograph booths.

If any of the government officers in the related fields are reading this blog, please take this suggestion seriously. USD 250 million per annum, which keeps growing is not small money. 

Keen to hear views, feedback, comments from the readers of this blog. 




14 comments:

  1. Math is very interesting !

    Being one of the leaders in the region, our borders are not really that safe to allow easy passage. The risk of too many deportations might have to be considered. I guess India cannot afford to deploy military like in Indonesia across the country for better safety.

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    1. Thanks, Vijay. Just to clarify, Indonesia offers VOA facility only for a clutch of major countries. Citizens from other countries have to apply for a visa in advance before even boarding a flight to Indonesia.

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    2. I agree. There is no denial of VOA in case of India. I was just highlighting some of the potential problems. Chosing the countries for VOA facility is no less daunting task. There is no bigger problem than the political will :-)

      If tourism is actively promoted, we could get better revenues. 'India Shining' campaign is only political.

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    3. Thanks, Vijay. Perhaps we need some one like Nandan (who started the UID project) to set this in perfect shape as well??

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  2. Sir, If a govt. official reads this he will be calculating how much he can pocket ;)
    On a serious note, I had the same thought when I went to Thailand. However, when I think of India there are too many roadblocks. I am sure these can be subverted but will take time and some serious effort from Tourism ministry. Some of the roadblocks - Terrorism, Immigration from neighbors adding to already bulging population etc. But we can restrict all this provided Tourism ministry can put their act together. Fingers crossed!

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    1. Shanky, Thanks for your comments. Completely agree. I think India needs serious introspection and fast.

      Thanks for the thought on Thailand. My next post is on Thailand.

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  3. This is an excellent, innovative and enterprising idea. This should not only provide revenue, but also simplifiy the process of acquiring visas. South East Asian countries have been very dynamic and open minded as far as their approach to development is concerned. Its high time, we know where to take the inspiration from and how to formulate innovative policies like these ourselves. Great post sir.

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    1. Rohu, Thanks for your comments. I am one hundred per cent sure, thoughts mentioned by you crosses every Indian who travels to these South East Asian countries. On my part, whenever I visit them, I get a terribly feeling as to why our country, our bureaucrats are not able to read these simple measures to develop our great nation.

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  4. I am not sure if there are no charges associated with Indian visas. In all probability, the should be as its the norm with most visas. The only difference is the ease of availability of visas. I think in today's scenario, tourist visa disbursement process is pretty good. Else we wouldn't be getting so many tourists every year. As for making it available at the port of entry itself, it depends from country to country. Even countries like US are hesitant of implementing such a process. It may have security implications which go much beyond the comprehension of normal individuals like me who don't qualify to comment on what all maybe involved.

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    1. Ramakant, Thanks for stopping by.

      Yes, there is a visa process for tourists going to India. But it is clumsy at this point in time. Whenever I visit Indian High Commission either in Hong Kong or Singapore, when I see the way the Indian staff frown at the foreign tourists applying for Indian Visas, better seen to be believed. Now the process has been outsourced to third parties but the service levels or yet to be that great.

      However, my point is much more than that. We need to simplify the procedure in such a way that the foreign tourists feel welcomed and at the same time, our country can get the dollars that are badly needed for improving our crumbling infrastructure.

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  5. Your mathematics are interesting. Wish some one was listening to the advice here!

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    1. Thank you Rajyalakshmi. These are simple things which can be implemented if there is a strong political will. Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. We do have VoA in india for 11 countries. This covers few countries who are giving VOA to india. So the political mandate is more inclined to the privilage we get.
    Fee is 60 usd, only from 4 airports.

    we also charge different fee per country with the max of 200 for US and other developed countries.

    Rajesh

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Rajesh for the detailed information. I only wish the facilities while offering VoA are upgraded to world class to ensure more tourists feeling comfortable to travel to India.

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