Over the last few months, the authorities in Bali have been working hard to find ways to best manage badly behaved tourists in Bali.
While the vast majority of the over 18,000 tourists arriving on the island every day are immaculately behaved, the small but significant minority of disrespectful people are causing a lot of paperwork for the authorities.
For months, new tourism task forces and dedicated response teams have been deployed across the island.
Some have been deployed under the instruction of the Ministry of Immigration, others on a more local level, some via the police, and some via the civil service.
While all the various tourism task forces are working in conjunction with one another to some degree, some leaders feel that a single, centralized crisis response style hub would be more effective.
Speaking to the press, the Deputy Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association for Bali outlined his vision for a ‘one island, one management, one command’ style approach.
Suryawijaya told reporters, “This command center is really needed. When there is something [reported to] the command center, they can provide valid information, Like a crisis center for all kinds of things that can happen.”
He added, “The command center is like a crisis center, like in America or abroad there is 911. So our responses can be faster.”
Suryawijaya said that the provincial and regency governments in Bali would no longer need to create localized tourism task forces to respond to call-outs about foreigners disturbing the peace.
He suggested “it [should] be the joint tourism task force that is involved in monitoring, controlling and taking action if these [things] happen. Currently, it has started to decline, and cases are rarer; previously, there were [more] viral videos.”
Suryawijaya confirmed that he has tabled his idea for a central command center to the Acting Governor of Bali, Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, who has given his nod of approval.
Suryawijaya says the development of a centralized hub can be funded by revenue from the upcoming tourism tax. The IDR 150,00 fee will be introduced on the 14th of February 2023 for all international arrivals in Bali.
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He suggested that the funds can be viably spent on developing a crisis response center since its work is in alignment with the provincial government’s mission to protect Balinese culture and the environment.
In turn, the existing restaurant and hotel tax revenue can connate to be distributed to the regency governments to improve tourism infrastructure, maintain tourist attractions and landmarks, and support local communities.
But with so many tourism task forces already in circulation in Bali, more to come next year, and cases seemingly decreasing, some will ask whether a dedicated hub comes a little too late and that revenue from the upcoming tourism tax should be spent in a different way.
Others may feel that a single, dedicated hub is a more sustainable and streamlined approach moving forward.
At the time of the announcement of the tourism tax, Bali’s then Governor, Wayan Koster, confirmed that the revenue would be spent on preserving Balinese culture and nature. Revenue that could reach USD 60 million a year.
Though many people, both tourists, locals, and even ministers, have called for the funds to be spent on tackling the island’s waste management issues, addressing the rising traffic congestion, or even improving simple infrastructural amenities like pedestrian sidewalks in popular resort areas.
The tourism tax will be introduced next year, but officials have yet to give a specific budget breakdown as to where the funds will be spent.
More details can be expected soon though as officials are keenly socializing the new legislation.
The Head of the Bali Tourism Board, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, confirmed last week that the fee will take just 23 seconds to pay and that the extra process on arrival will not eat into that well-earned vacation time.
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