Anthony Albanese to simplify visa rules for Bali tourists as he arrives in Indonesia


Anthony Albanese will push to simplify visa rules for tourists looking to holiday in Bali as he heads to Indonesia for the first time as Prime Minister. 

Mr Albanese and his delegation will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday to discuss trade, climate and regional issues.

The leaders have also been urged to tackle travel and visa rules to make it easier for citizens to travel between the two nations.

Australians currently get 30 days in Bali by purchasing a visa on arrival at the airport for 500,000 IDR, around $48 AUD.

Indonesians looking to secure an Australian visa must spend more than $140 and answer ‘offensive’ questions like whether they have committed a war crime.

Anthony Albanese (pictured on Thursday) will push to simplify visa rules for tourists looking to holiday in Bali as he heads to Indonesia for the first time as prime minister

Mr Albanese and his delegation will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday to discuss trade, climate and regional issues (pictured tourists in Bali in May)

Mr Albanese and his delegation will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday to discuss trade, climate and regional issues (pictured tourists in Bali in May)

Monash University vice chancellor Margaret Gardner, a member of Mr Albanese’s delegation, is personally pushing for the leaders to discuss the visa woes. 

‘You’ve got to make sure the barriers around visas and recognition and ability to partner are not ones that will cause people to not wish to come [to Australia], because people have to be able to find their way into those relationships’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Monash University recently opened a campus on the outskirts of Jakarta which hopes to welcome over 2000 students over time. 

‘There are [also] visa restrictions at the moment that are making it difficult for academics to go to Indonesia and for our students to go to Indonesia in the numbers we want,’ Ms Gardener said.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison in 2018 pledged to simplify visa rules for tourists travelling from Indonesia to Australia.

Two years later, the issue was acknowledged by President Joko during a visit to Canberra in early 2020, with Mr Morrison again promising to look into the rules.

However, as peak season for tourists in Bali steadily approaches in just a few weeks time, visa rules remain problematic for eager travellers as well as Indonesian citizens looking to head Down Under. 

The leaders have also been urged to tackle travel and visa rules to make it easier for citizens to travel between the two nations (pictured, tourists in Bali on Thursday)

The leaders have also been urged to tackle travel and visa rules to make it easier for citizens to travel between the two nations (pictured, tourists in Bali on Thursday) 

Indonesia's Tourism Minister, Sandiaga Uno, said more flights were needed to account for the growing number of Australian holidaymakers (pictured, tourists in Bali in May)

Indonesia’s Tourism Minister, Sandiaga Uno, said more flights were needed to account for the growing number of Australian holidaymakers (pictured, tourists in Bali in May)

It comes as Indonesia’s Tourism Minister, Sandiaga Uno, said more flights were needed to account for the growing number of Australia holidaymakers. 

The route is only serviced by three airlines; Garuda, JetStar and Qantas, with fewer flights making the five-hour journey each week.  

‘We have limited seat capacities, we have airlines scrambling to provide aircraft,’ Minister Uno said. 

‘In particular, some of the airlines have pretty much been focusing on Perth-Denpasar, Melbourne-Denpasar and Sydney-Denpasar.’

Indonesia lifted mandatory quarantine requirements in March, and further relaxed restrictions in May by removing outdoor mask mandates. 

Fully-vaccinated travellers are no longer required to return Covid-19 entry tests with Indonesia recently moving to extend the number of countries eligible for a visa on arrival to 72 in an effort to boost the tourism industry. 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo during a meeting with ASEAN leaders in Washington in May

Indonesian President Joko Widodo during a meeting with ASEAN leaders in Washington in May

Arriving in Jakarta on Sunday night, the prime minister said increasing links with Indonesia was crucial amid growing tensions in the Indo-Pacific (pictured, a tourist beach in Bali)

Arriving in Jakarta on Sunday night, the prime minister said increasing links with Indonesia was crucial amid growing tensions in the Indo-Pacific (pictured, a tourist beach in Bali)

Arriving in Jakarta on Sunday night, the prime minister said increasing links with Indonesia was crucial amid growing tensions in the Indo-Pacific.

Mr Albanese says he wants to strengthen relations not just with Indonesia but across the region, as he arrived in Jakarta ahead of key talks. 

‘We want to strengthen the relationship with Indonesia, but also with southeast Asia, we see that ASEAN is central to the region,’ he told reporters upon his arrival. 

‘In recent times, I think there shows there’s a need for us to strengthen that relationship.’

The prime minister is travelling with a large Australian delegation including Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Trade Minister Don Farrell, Industry Minister Ed Husic and Darwin-based MP Luke Gosling.

Mr Albanese says he wants to strengthen relations not just with Indonesia but across the region, as he arrived in Jakarta ahead of key talks (pictured, tourists disembark a boat in Bali)

Mr Albanese says he wants to strengthen relations not just with Indonesia but across the region, as he arrived in Jakarta ahead of key talks (pictured, tourists disembark a boat in Bali)

He will also be joined by 11 prominent Australian business leaders including Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn, Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn and Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott.

Mr Albanese will begin his first full day in Indonesia with a business breakfast, before one-on-one talks with President Widodo.

The meetings come as China tries to convince Pacific island nations to join a regional security partnership.

The prime minister will also meet with ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi, before taking part in a wreath-laying ceremony and then a business dinner.

The final day of the prime minister’s visit to Indonesia will see him fly to Makassar in the country’s east on Tuesday.

Mr Albanese said it was critical that relations with Indonesia extended to the whole of the country, and not just Jakarta and Bali.

The prime minister said the relationship between the two countries was significant.

Tourists join conservationists releasing newly hatched turtles in Kuta, Bali in May

Tourists join conservationists releasing newly hatched turtles in Kuta, Bali in May

‘This is more than symbolic, this is a friendship which is deep,’ he said.

‘Australia supported Indonesian independence in 1945, my party has had a particularly strong relationship with Indonesia.’

Mr Albanese’s visit continues a long-standing diplomatic tradition for new prime ministers, making Indonesia one of their first overseas visits after being sworn in.

He will visit the country later in the year for the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

The prime minister said it was important his first bilateral overseas visit since becoming prime minister be to Indonesia.

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