JAKARTA - Indonesia saw a 4.8 per cent increase in foreign arrivals in 2015 following the government's decision to extend its free visa policy.
"Based on all kinds of visa, a total of 245,021 more foreigners visited Indonesia in December, an increase of 4.8 per cent," Law and Human Rights Ministry's immigration directorate-general spokesman Heru Santoso Ananta Yudha said on Friday.
Heru said that 5,103,153 foreigners visited the country in 2015 compared to 4,858,132 in 2014. Heru attributed the surge to the free visa policy implemented by the government in September, as shown by an increase in the number of foreigners visiting the country using the free visa policy.
In 2015, there were 3,255,108 foreigners visiting the country under the free visa facility, compared to only 1,634,328 in 2014.
Meanwhile, the number of foreigners who entered the country with a Visa on Arrival was down to 1,261,185 in 2015 from 2,556,801 in 2014. The government has set a target to attract 12 million foreign tourists next year.
One of its strategies to boost tourist arrival numbers includes waiving advanced visa requirements for another 45 countries by the end of this year, meaning that a total of 90 nationalities will be eligible to visit the country without an advanced visa for a maximum of 30 days.