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Sunday 23 June 2024

Bali wants to lock out "trashy" tourists


Authorities in Bali have had enough of badly behaved visitors. 

Provincial leaders are debating whether to increase the price of the recently introduced Bali Tourism Tax Levy to keep out the riff raff, the Bali Sun reports.

The tax was introduced in February and requires all international holidaymakers and tourists to pay 
IDR 150,000 to help preserve culture and nature in Bali and level up the tourism infrastructure on the island. But collection of the levy has been haphazard at best.

In light of an apparent rise in the number of foreigners behaving badly in Bali, leaders on the island have re-started conversations about how best to deter unruly foreigners and attract more high-quality visitors to the province.

One method that has been tabled this week by tourism leaders is to hugely increase the tourism tax fee.

Leaders and stakeholders from the tourism sector are calling for a massive hike to the fee, and are arguing for the tax to be raised from IDR 150,000 to IDR 500,000 and in some cases IDR 800,000, which is around $US50.

Speaking to reporters, Chairman of Commission II of the Bali Regional People’s Representative Council (DPRD), Ida Gede Komang Kresna Budi, said he wants to see the fee increased to the equivalent of $US50. 

Budi told reporters: “We want people who are of higher quality to come. We are trying to consult with the police to form a tourism police that specifically handles tourism…That is the basis for us wanting to make changes to the revision of the regional tourism levy regulation.”

He said he does not want tourists coming to Bali feeling like they can brazenly violate the law and disrespect local culture and norms.

“There is this problem because usually, those who act up are members of the bottom [low-spending tourists]," he said. "This must be anticipated.”

He also accepted that, at present, the way in which the Bali Tourism Tax Levy is being promoted and operated for tourists is not as easy as it should be.

“Currently, we cannot find a suitable place at the airport due to a lack of coordination with the airport and Immigration as a supporting stakeholder," he said. "We hope that with coordination from all parties, everything can be maximized.”

Budi’s motion has been seconded by tourism expert Taufan Rahmadi, who says that a big hike in the Bali Tourism Tax Levy would be an essential strategic step to help improve the quality of tourism on the island.

Rahmadi told reporters: “Revenue from this tariff can be allocated to environmental conservation, infrastructure development, and improving tourist services. We can learn from Bhutan, which has successfully used high tariffs to fund environmental and cultural preservation efforts.

“Venice, Italy, has succeeded in reducing crowds by imposing entry fees. Bali can implement a similar policy to maintain a balance between the number of tourists and environmental capacity and infrastructure.”

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