Bali airport's new time-saving feature impresses Aussies: 'Finally!'

It's one of Australia's most popular international travel destinations and now it's become even easier to access.

New automatic electronic passport scanners in Bali, which cut the customs processing time in Bali down to just 15 to 25 seconds.
New automatic electronic passport scanners have cut the customs processing time in Bali down to just 15 to 25 seconds. Source: Facebook

Aussies touching down at one the world's top tourist destinations are being greeted by an ultra-futuristic new sight upon arrival, in what travellers are saying is a modern, "no-stress" and "very well designed" feature that other global airports could learn from.

Bali has long been a favourite holiday destination among Australians due to its proximity and is ideal for those on a budgetthough that's been disputed in recent times. In a bid to better manage arrivals, local authorities have been gradually rolling out a series of protocols aimed at combining the needs of residents with the hoards of travellers that land on the island every year.

The latest initiative, a set of swanky new electronic passport scanners at Denpasar Airport (I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport) is being met with widespread praise, particularly from Aussies, who say the system has made travel a whole lot easier and much faster since they were installed in March.

A beach in Bali, as authorities roll out new changes to tourism.
The new tax comes as authorities explore new ways to maintain the island amid soaring levels of tourism. Source: Getty

The new e-gates work for those with electronic passports, who have pre-purchased their mandatory 30-day visa. They significantly speed up the processing time at customs after disembarking a flight — down to just 15 to 25 seconds in total, authorities say.

All travellers need to do is head online, pay for their tourist visa and tourist tax levy — two separate things — prior to landing, and fill out a customs declaration. Then all the data will automatically sync up to your passport.

One Australian woman who is currently in Bali spoke to Yahoo News Australia and described how many people are not yet aware of the scanners.

"I saw them at the airport and a guy [an airport official] was looking at people's passports with their visa tickets that you get when you pay on arrival, then sending them to the line beside the gates," Lynn De told Yahoo. "Only saw three people directed to go through them though."

"They put their passport in and went straight through," she continued, adding that she saw many who weren't yet aware of the new scanners. She said she was standing in line with "90 per cent of the passengers on my flight as you can only use these if you pre-purchased your visa."

"Maybe a good reason to pre-purchase," she suggested.

A plane over Bali, as new tourist changes are rolled out across the island.
Travellers to Bali will from tomorrow have to fork out a $15 tourist tax, in addition to the $50 visa fee. Source: Getty

Online, people responding to images of the e-gates branded them a "game-changer".

"Pre-purchased my visa and went right through. Passed up lines of people getting a visa. Travelled to three countries and got visas online. Some are a hassle but easier than standing in line after a plane ride," one person said.

"Got to Bali yesterday from New Zealand. Did the visa, tourist tax, and customs declaration online before we arrived. It was super easy getting through customs and e-gates — definitely recommended. Longest part of the whole process is waiting for your bags," said a woman.

"We went through this morning, pre-paid, and out within five minutes," wrote another. "Finally!".

Indonesian nationals holding either electronic or non-electronic passports can use the new auto-gates, of which there are a total of 30 currently in place.

The face recognition technology used by the auto-gate system requires travellers to ensure the scanners can read their entire faces, with hats, masks, and face veils needing to be removed to allow the gate to operate efficiently.

The new move comes after Bali earlier this year introduced the controversial tourist levy in a bid to combat damage to infrastructure due to skyrocketing levels of international travel.

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