TOURISM and Creative Economy Minister, Sandiaga Uno expressed the hope that the implementation of the visa-on-arrival (VOA) facility at immigration entry gates in Riau Islands province would start in July 2024.

The VOA regulation is targeted at expatriates from Singapore and foreign tourists visiting the Riau Islands, he informed here on Saturday. It includes a 30-day VOA, which costs IDR500 thousand (around US$30.58), and a short-term visa, which costs IDR100 thousand (US$6.12) and is valid for seven days.

“We hope, it (the regulation) can be signed by the President in the near future,” the minister added.

According to him, the VOA facility will begin with the issuance of a presidential regulation, in keeping with the draft proposed by the Riau Islands provincial government.

Regarding the international tourist arrival target for the Riau Islands for 2024, the minister said that his ministry has revised the target down from 3 million arrivals previously to around 1.8 million to 2.1 million arrivals.

“At the beginning of the year, it (the target) was 3 million arrivals. However, as of April, it (number of tourist arrivals) has only reached 400 thousand. For that reason, we will adjust it by 30–40% below the initial target,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Riau Islands Governor Ansar Ahmad stated that the implementation of the VOA policy in Riau Islands would help the provincial government achieve the tourism target set by the central government.

“We hope that it will trigger enthusiasm in pursuing the foreign tourist arrival target and attract investment players to visit Riau Islands,” he added.

The governor explained that the foreign tourist arrival target has been lowered due to the proposal of the provincial government, which found it challenging to meet the target of 3 million foreign tourist arrivals in one year when as of April, the number had only reached 400 thousand.  [antaranews/photo special]