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Bali Officials Say New Tourism Tax Spending Must Be Transparent 

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Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster has recently confirmed that his government will be proceeding with bringing a mandatory tourism tax into provincial law.

The move has triggered a mixed bag of feelings in Bali lovers, but tourists are being assured that tax spending will be transparent. 

Sanur. Beach in Bali.jpg

On the 12th of July, Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster announced that he would be introducing a mandatory tourism tax for all foreigners arriving on the island.

The new tourism tax is set to be implemented in 2024, though if legislation is signed off quickly, the launch of the new policy could be brought forward. 

Governor Koster has proposed that the new tourism tax be set at a fixed rate of IDR 150,000 per person, payable only in Indonesian Rupiah.

The provincial leader believes that the implementation of a tourism tax will help protect and preserve the unique cultural heritage and fragile ecosystems of the Island of the Gods.

Speaking at the time of the announcement, Governor Koster said, “Bali’s nature has become a major national and world tourism destination and has indeed made a positive contribution to Bali itself and nationally,” He added, “But on the other hand, it has also had a serious negative impact.”

The solution, he says, is to implement a tourism tax alongside existing efforts to shift towards more high-quality and sustainable tourism.

Koster explained, “In order to protect the glory of Balinese culture and the quality of the natural environment, it is very necessary to make concrete efforts in mutual cooperation with all parties related to Bali Tourism.”

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Naturally, there has been both praise and critique for the new policy change, both from prospective tourists and tourism stakeholders.

One thing everyone seems to be in agreement on, however, is that the tax spending must be transparent.

The Deputy Governor of Bali, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, known more often by his nickname Cok Ace, has given his absurdities to the public about how funds will be used. 

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Speaking to the media in Denpasar this week, Cok Ace said tax spending “is always transparent and nothing is covered up here with ‘stakeholders,’ with the council/DPRD and the executives are always open.”

Cok Ace also answered questions about the finer details of the proposed tourism tax. Many people want to know whether the proposed IDR 150,000 will be enforced as a flat fee for all foreigners entering Bali or whether concession rates will be available.

The Deputy Governor said, “The discussion hasn’t ended yet (regarding tourism tax for children). But there are exceptions everywhere, [it’ll likely] be the same case later.”

Group-Of-Chinese-Tourists-Stand-At-Kuta-Beach-Gate-in-Bali

There is also public discussion about whether students and researchers, as well as children, will be required to pay the tourism tax.

Cok Ace insisted that all avenues are being explored at the moment. He added, “later, we will see how much of an impact this will have on Bali because many researchers have been invited by institutions in Bali [to assess the situation].” 

Tourists-Explore-Campuhan-Ridge-Walk-In-Ubud-Bali

The topic of the proposed tourism tax is a big discussion amongst tourism stakeholders in Bali, as well as between frequent visitors to Bali.

The Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, shared his insights on the situation as it unfolds. 

Pemyaun said that the tax looks like it will be bought into force in 2024. He explained, “Because it is still in the formulation process, of course, it cannot be executed. Because the direction is indeed next year.”

Surf-Lesson-On-Bali-Beach

He confirmed that when the legislation that is currently in place to encourage tourists in Bali to make a voluntary donation to the upkeep of the island will be scrapped when the mandatory tourism tax is introduced. 

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Exp

Friday 21st of July 2023

Quote "Cok Ace, has given his absurdities to the public about how funds will be used". The choice of the word "absurdities" might unintentionally be close to the truth.

Of course everything will be above the board and transparent. Look at all the high ranking Indonesian civil servants having been sent to prison for corruption over the last 15 years or so. A lot we can safely assume is the tip of the iceberg. Indonesian civil servants are not paid very well, so how can they afford their life style often at display in the media?

In my early days I wondered how projects in a low cost country like Indonesia ended up more expensive than in western countries. But when you realize a large % is shaved off at every interface with those in a position to approve or reject a permit, license (gate keepers) -- it is easy to understand. Enormous wealth is transferred from public budgets into the pockets of many of the gate keepers.

Mr Bear Snr

Friday 21st of July 2023

I'm just curious about short trips from Bali for sightseeing to, Komodo, Lombok, Gilis, Banyuwangi or Yogjakarta etc means you will have to pay Rp150,000 every time you return to Bali?

Exp

Sunday 23rd of July 2023

@Mr Bear Snr, I bet they will charge you for every single "arrival" in Bali. Gov. Koster was in the news yesterday stating they would find a way to "identify" and charge those "foreign tourists" coming via domestic flights and via ferries.

Randy

Friday 21st of July 2023

There are already countries that charge visitors with a tourist tax, per day, per room with hotel reservation. An example like Malaysia started imposing tourist tax RM 10 per night per room as of January 2023. Malaysian nationals and valid permanent residents are exempted. Tourists pay tax up front when checking in at the hotel. Hotels are taking care of the tax payment received from the visitors.

In France, there is a tourist tax or "Taxe de Séjour", which is charged per person, per night and varies according to the standard and quality of the accommodation.

So if Indonesia wants to charge visitors then hotels perhaps should be taking care of the tax as Airlines would not do so.

And those entitled residents, why complain, it may not affect them. But those tourists who cannot afford an additional tax then stay home. No matter where you go, there will be tourist tax.

Julie

Friday 21st of July 2023

Does this mean we bother getting EVOA but then have to queue up to get the tourism tax as they say you have to pay it in IDR? How is that going to work?people get IDR outside of airport usually. ?? Comments or info please

Wayan Bo

Saturday 22nd of July 2023

@Julie, sure tourists have to learn that in Bali they have become suddenly at least millionaires if not billionaires and have now to count with plenty of zeros. Enjoy fresh printed Rupiah in exchange for previous bank notes that have let you feel poor all Your life long.

JK

Friday 21st of July 2023

"Cok Ace, has given his absurdities to the public about how funds will be used".

And there is the perfect answer.