Bali’s Governor Koster has confirmed that he will be introducing a tourism tax for all foreign visitors to the island.
The move, which has been on the cards for months, was finally confirmed by the Governor in Denpasar on Wednesday, 12th July.
Governor Koster has confirmed that he and his provincial government have submitted the Draft Regional Regulation on Fees for Foreign Tourists to the Bali DPRD.
The draft regulation is a series of legislative changes that will allow Bali to enforce a tourism tax that will provide funds for the protection of Balinese culture and the environment.
The draft regulations have been submitted and must be formally signed off before they can be implemented.
It looks like the tourism tax will come into play in 2024, but there is a chance the legislative changes could be expedited and bought into play sooner than that.
The fee of IDR 150,000 (approx USD 10) will be charged to every international tourist arriving in Bali. Governor Koster has said that the fee will be charged in Indonesian Rupiah so as to remain unaffected by international exchange rates.
Speaking at the announcement of the draft policy submission 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, but on the other hand, it has also had a serious negative impact.”
He continued, “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.”
The fees will help to promote the ‘glorification, protection, and preservation of Balinese culture’ and the island’s fragile ecological systems in a way that is planned, directed, structured, measurable, and most significantly, sustainable.
Governor Koster added, “This effort requires cooperation, participation, and mutual cooperation between the Government, Regional Governments, tourism actors, and foreign tourists.”
The Governor confirmed that Indonesian legislation allows him and his provincial government to implement such taxes in order to resolve issues posed by the limitations of existing fiscal policies in protecting Balinese culture and the environment.
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He confirmed, “This draft regional regulation is our effort to explore potential sources, to increase [regional original income] especially economic activities that have high economic value.”
During the announcement, Governor Koster also said that the provincial government will be working to ensure that Limited Liability Companies in Bali act in alignment with existing policies that promote corporate social responsibility.
The Governor noted Law Number 40 of 2007 concerning Limited Liability Companies, which states that LLCs have a responsibility to commit to and participate in sustainable economic development in order to improve the quality of life and a beneficial environment, both for the business itself, the local community and the general public.
Koster said, “This Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility is an implementation of the mandate of the Bali Provincial Law in order to develop a regulatory framework to coordinate districts/cities on the one hand and direct the Company’s social and environmental responsibility funds to strengthen synergies in achieving the vision and programs the priority program of the Provincial Government of Bali on the other hand.”
In recent weeks Governor Koster has been vocal about the need to more stringently implement and collect taxes from the tourism sector.
The lack of tourism revenue is one of the key reasons he noted for banning all activities in Bali’s sacred mountains and for cracking down on illegally operating tourist accommodations on the island.
Governor Koster concluded, “The results of this levy will be managed by regional [authorities] and those related to it in a planned, directed, right on target, transparent and accountable manner.”
The news that Bali will be implementing a tourism tax will surely get mixed feedback from Bali lovers.
While many tourists will be happy to pay the additional IDR 150,000 fee on arrival, there will undoubtedly be those who question where the line must be drawn in implementing fees for tourists.
Visa-free travel policies have recently been revoked and show no sign of being introduced soon since the paid-for visa on arrival is proving to be a success, and over in Nusa Penida, a new ‘retribution fee’ has been introduced for tourists wishing to go snorkeling, diving or swimming in the Nusa Penida Marine Protection Area.
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