Indonesia is exploring the possibility of giving expatriates in Doha visa-on-arrival entry aimed at further attracting more visitors from Qatar, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno has said. “There is an idea given by the tours and travel community here (Doha) - we could issue visa on arrival for countries, basically citizens of other countries but with a Qatar ID... so we could tap much wider potential markets because Qatar has large expatriate communities,” the minister told reporters during his recent visit.
“And having direct flights to Indonesia, not just one destination but several destinations, would be a good way to tap that potential,” he said, citing Indonesia’s strong tourism recovery post-Covid-19 pandemic. Indonesia’s Ministry of Investments noted that the '10 New Balis' project, which consists of 10 destinations in Indonesia that are assigned to be ‘the next Bali’, is projected to attract a large number of visitors, including those from the Middle East.
The '10 New Balis' includes Borobudur Temple (Central Java), Belitung (Sumatra), Mount Bromo (East Java), Labuan Bajo (East Nusa Tenggara), Lake Toba (North Sumatra), Thousand Islands (Jakarta), Mandalika (West Nusa Tenggara), Wakatobi (Southeast Sulawesi), Tanjung Lesung (Banten) and Morotai (North Maluku), according to the ministry.
“I’m pretty sure that we’re segmenting the right market and we are very optimistic that we will be able to attract more tourist arrivals from Qatar, as well as expatriate communities living in Qatar,” Uno said, as he highlighted the key role that Qatar plays as a hub for tourists inbound to Indonesia.
He also underscored the importance of holding the Qatar-Indonesia Year of Culture 2023, saying it will further strengthen the “already close bilateral relationship at all levels”, from people to people, business to business, communities to communities, and educational institutions.
This unique cultural initiative, the minister said, provides a lot of opportunities between the two countries such as boosting the tourism sector and creative economy. “We are very excited and we are preparing a series of events to commemorate this Year of Culture and hopefully we could benefit from it, both Qatar and Indonesia.
“For me in particular, I want to look for more investments coming from Qatar in the area of tourism because we see how hospitality has been transformed here and although we have the human capital, but I would say we're in a very serious need to upgrade our amenities, accommodation, hotels, specially new destinations,” Uno said.
Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno (centre) at the embassy.