On the 14th of February 2024, Bali will officially introduce its new tourism tax.
The mandatory levy will see all international arrivals pay IDR 150,000, but many of the finer details are still up for discussion.
Initially, the tourism tax was touted to help fund the preservation of Balinese culture, heritage, and landscapes.
Following the huge fires at Bali’s biggest open landfill sites in October and November last year the Acting Governor of Bali, Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, announced that 50-70% of funds generated by the tourism tax in the first instance would be spent on tackling the island’s mounting waste management issues.
Officials have also confirmed that the payments will take just 23 seconds to process using contactless card readers at Bali Airport, and have suggested that the fee will also be payable online prior to arrival.
Some key tourism stakeholders have suggested that the tourism tax must also be available to pay at accommodation in Bali, so that tourists can pay at a moment that suits them during their vacation, rather than adding an extra step to the arrivals process at Bali Airport.
Discussion on the smaller details is still underway and while the legislative paperwork is in process, leaders are now talking about how the funds can be used to help benefit tourism during their vacations in Bali, as well as communities on the island.
During an audience with the Acting Governor of Bali, the Chairman of the Indonesian Tourism Industry Association (GIPI) Bali Province, Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, said that tourism tax funds could and should be used in such a way that directly benefits tourists experience of the island.
Adnyana explained “In the Regional Regulation, its use is specifically stated, namely for handling waste and strengthening culture. It’s still a bit abstract and there is no direct impact on foreign tourists.”
He noted that the new legislation, Regional Regulation (Bali Provincial Regulation Number 6 of 2023 concerning Levies for Foreign Tourists for the Protection of Bali’s Culture and Natural Environment), should also be broadened in its scope.
Adnyana and his teams have been in communication with the Bali Medical Tourism Association (BMTA) and share concerns that there are an increasing number of cases where tourists are unable to pay for medical expenses after emergencies and accidents on the island; either through having no insurance or by insufficient cover.
He explained that tourism tax funds could be allocated to a Bali tourist insurance fund available for those in need. This is an idea that will receive a lot of mixed feedback from Bali lovers.
Adnyana said, “Because not all foreign tourists are covered by insurance and if possible, foreign tourist levy funds are also set aside to cover these costs.”
Acting Governor Mahendra Jaya received the feedback but did not give a formal response to the suggestion.
The Acting Governor did however agree that the discussion about the collection points for the tourism tax must be settled soon.
He explained that the Bali Provincial Government is exploring three options.
He said “The first option, the Bali Provincial Government encourages foreign tourists to make payments before arriving in Bali via the Love Bali application. The second alternative, the Provincial Government also facilitates payments at the airport.”
“The third alternative that we will intensify is payment made when guests arrive at the place they are staying. Of course, we will continue to evaluate its implementation.”
Many feel it would make sense that since the Indonesian Immigration Department is encouraging tourists to use the eVisa on Arrival website to pay for tourism visas, the tourism tax could just be added to that system.
The issue, however, is that the visa payment system is managed by the central government and the tourism taxi is a localized levy for the province of Bali that will be received and managed by the Provincial government of Bali.
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