This is in line with a 2016 decree issued by Indonesian President Joko Widodo under which visa-free travel to the archipelago will be introduced in accordance with the principles of reciprocity and economic benefit.
However, Indonesian officials, aware of Bali's heavy dependence on Australian tourists, have been reluctant to make any demands on Australia.
Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaja Uno said last month that reciprocity was a factor in making a recommendation to Widodo, known as Jokowi, about which nationalities should no longer be required to pay for visas to travel there.
But he added: “Australians are No. 1 at the top of the list and one of the proposals [Indonesian] The Ministry of Tourism will include Australia.”
Widodo pushed for simplified travel rules for Indonesians wanting to visit Australia when he met Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Sydney in July. He returned home with the Albanian government agreeing to extend work visas.
Indonesians can travel without a visa or with a visa on arrival to more than 70 countries, but under the Australian system they must pay a non-refundable $190 just to apply to come as a tourist, a fee that has risen from $140 last year. Evaluation of applications can take up to two months.
“Australia should…cut costs and red tape to make it more attractive to incoming Indonesians [but] We do the opposite.
Ross Taylor of the Indonesia Institute
“The basic principle when Jokowi met with Albanese was to say we need to facilitate the movement of people between our two countries,” Ross Taylor, president of the Perth-based Indonesia Institute, said on Monday.
“What Australia should be doing with Indonesia is actually cutting costs and red tape to make it more attractive for Indonesians to come to Australia, and we are doing the opposite.
“Obviously, you're talking about roughly $800 for a family of four [to pay] Just applying to come here for vacation, that's a huge disincentive anyway. “It also completely contradicts the principle that the president and the prime minister spoke about.”
Asked last month whether conditions for Indonesians traveling to Australia could be relaxed, a Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said: “Australia has a global, non-discriminatory immigration program and visa regime that seeks to support a prosperous, united and safe Australia.
“Following the annual Australia-Indonesia leaders meeting in Sydney on 4 July 2023, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced new visa offers for Indonesia to support trade and business links. To support easier access to Australia for Indonesian business people, the Australian Government now provides an extended business visit visa with a validity of up to five years. For years, it has been working on accessing the frequent flyer program for Indonesian citizens.
While visa fees may be on the way out, Indonesia will introduce a tourism tax in Bali from February 14, with all foreigners having to pay 150,000 rupiah ($14) on arrival.