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Bali Tourism Must Change For The Better Say Top Leaders

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With just two days before the launch of the tourism tax in Bali and the general election, there is a lot happening on the island.

Ahead of the busy week, Bali’s Acting Governor Sang Made Mahendra Jaya has spoken to the media about the future of tourism. 

Women Walk Towards Pura Beratan In Bali.jpg

On 14th February, Bali will officially be launching the tourism tax, a sustainable tourism initiative. If you haven’t heard of it yet, where have you been hiding?!

The new tourism tax is a mandatory payment of IDR 150,000 for all international tourists to Bali, and there are seven visa categories that are exempt from paying the fee. 

The new initiative is being introduced as part of an island-wide mission to change the face of tourism in the province positively.

The tourism tax is being introduced alongside the deployment of a specialist tourism civil service police unit that will be on patrol at the island’s top resorts and attractions.

With all these new initiatives now in place, the Acting Governor is hopeful that the tide will turn on the elements of Bali’s public image that had turned sour. 

Acting Governor Jaya told reporters, “As we all know, tourism has become a global industry, and competition in the global tourism industry is increasingly competitive. The natural beauty and uniqueness of Balinese culture is an added value that gives Bali tourism a competitive [edge] in the global tourism industry.” 

“However, natural beauty and cultural uniqueness are not enough to face competition since the global tourism industry is increasingly competitive.”

With this increasingly competitive industry being a mainstay for the provincial economy, the Acting Governor wants to see peace and order prevail across the island.

This is why he and his teams have backed the tourism tax initiative and the creation of the civil service police unit. In the last 12 months, there was a sharp rise in the number of tourists behaving badly on the island, which was matched by growing frustration and, in some cases, hostility by local communities.

Stories of tourists behaving badly on the island, rising prices, and big policy changes affecting visas have all led to Bali lovers seeking vacation experiences elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The Governor wants to ensure that this doesn’t develop into a long-term problem. 

He explained, “We want to change the paradigm and pattern of handling social problems related to tourism in Bali, namely prioritizing preemptive efforts by handling them upstream.”

The Acting Governor, whose time in office will be coming to a close in just a matter of weeks, wants to see the handling of social issues changed, especially those related to tourism.

In practice, this will look like the authorities being more available, accountable, and responsive to issues of disturbance by tourists or of tourism stakeholders acting out against tourists. 

Birds-Eye-View-of-Gunung-Payung-Beach-in-Bali

Nevertheless, the Acting Governor confirmed that the funds generated by the tourism levy will still be used to fund the preservation of Balinese culture.

He explained, “The existence of levies for foreign tourists to Bali will certainly increase the Regional Government’s funding sources, which are needed to better protect/preserve Bali’s nature and culture.”

Tegalalang Rice Terrace

He noted that in the future, more Bali Tourism Police units will be trained and deployed around the island to ensure order and peace prevail. Officers will be dressed more informally, have attended English proficiency classes and have been trained to provide tour guide-esqeue information to tourists, as well as security services.

This approachability, supported by the presence of specially trained Kintamani dogs, is set to go a long way in building trust between tourists and the Bali authorities and strengthen the relationship between tourism stakeholders and the authorities.

White-Bali-Kintamani-Puppy-Dog

The Acting Governor said, “In the future, it is hoped that all districts/cities in Bali will have a Special Tourism Civil Service Police Unit. As we can see, the Special Tourism Civil Service Police Unit’s uniforms are designed to be casual so that there is more emotional closeness with tourists.”

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Shorty

Thursday 15th of February 2024

A$65 for the VOA and Tourist Tax won't change the type of tourist. The arseholes - a low % - will still come.

Julie

Thursday 15th of February 2024

Government should also protect Bali from foreign investors coming in and exploiting the Balineese people by paying them under minimum wages and building fancy resorts that has nothing to do with Balineese culture. If foreign investors were made to pay above minimum wage, only use local workers and invest into local community insensitive, this could make a real difference for Bali.

Ian archer

Thursday 15th of February 2024

Spend the money on cleaning up all the plastic pollution it's disgusting

Ian archer

Thursday 15th of February 2024

Spend the money on clearing up all the disgusting plastic pollution its everywhere

Riya

Tuesday 13th of February 2024

Shame the new tourist tax will be used to pursue a minority, instead of being invested in proper waste management and basic infrastructure. If they continue bitting the hands that feed us, without any improvements in the island, tourists will certainly stop coming to Bali. This island already has a bad reputation as it is, they should focus on solving the real issues and stop blaming the tourists for all the problems in the island, specially if they want the them to pay a tourist tax!

Exp

Wednesday 14th of February 2024

@Riya, In south Denpasar (maybe 500 meter from the "upmarket" Sanur tourist) zone I can see trash dumped along the roadside. It has been like that for months if not years.

I cannot understand why the local Desa/Banjar are unable to organize a regular cleanup and give the offenders a real "trashing" with huge fines/jail as per law.

I have visited Desa office myself and pointed out I had enough of the smell while out on my bike and highlighted the health risk from rotting organic waste. Then the finally sent out a team. But as I said this is not routine and someone with sense of duty need to get the job.

The tourist tax will not help as long as the mentality stay the same.