Friday 22 January 2016

INDONESIA: Foreigners To Be Allowed To Invest In Tourism Sector With Full Ownership of Bars, Cafes, Restaurants

Indonesia plans to let foreign investors take bigger stakes in the tourism sector, government officials said on Wednesday, to increase investment and attract more visitors to the sprawling archipelago of tropical islands.

Foreigners will be allowed full ownership of bars, cafes, restaurants and sport centres as the country seeks to expand its tourism sector, the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) said in a statement. Foreign ownership in such businesses is currently capped at 49-51%.

"This is to boost investment in tourism, which is one of our priority sectors," Franky Sibarani, the investment board chief, said in the statement.

Jakarta is currently revising its "negative investment list" - a list of sectors restricted to foreign funds. The finalised list is expected to be completed by April.

It will also allow greater foreign ownership in other tourism-related businesses, such as golf courses, health spas, convention centres, hotels and travel agencies.

Indonesia, a chain of some 18,000 mostly tropical islands, attracted 8.8 million foreign visitors in January-November 2015.

That represented a 3.2% increase from the same period a year earlier but was still only one-third of the numbers who visited nearby Thailand.

Last year, Indonesia's government removed visa requirements for visitors from 84 countries making a short visit and is working to give visa-free entry to more nationalities in a bid to attract more travellers.

Rules for foreign investment in the film industry will also be relaxed, Triawan Munaf, the head of the creative economy agency, said, with cinemas, film production and distribution, and technical services open to all.

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