Bali is known as one of the most picturesque and luxurious travel destinations in the world.
Famous as it may be for its incredible culture and 5-star hospitality, officials are concerned that the amount of low-spending tourists are beginning to tarnish the island’s international reputation.
It is well known that Bali is a destination that has something for everyone. Absolutely everyone! From the 5-star VIP experiences of Nusa Dua to the budget-friendly backpackers bars of Canggu, through to the family-friendly resorts of Sanur and the creative hideaways of Ubud, whatever the travel budget, style, or even mood, there is the experience of a lifetime just waiting for you in Bali.
But as the island continues to grapple with the issue of a small minority of unruly tourists, some officials feel that there is a correlation between the likelihood of a foreigner being caught behaving badly and the amount they have to spend during their stay.
@lydearlyy how much does it cost to take a trip to bali? not the most budget trip but i would say very value for money given the amount of things we experienced ☺️ all prices are in SGD and more cost breakdowns of trips in my page!!! #bali #costbreakdown #travel #fyp #moneytok #budgetbali #budgetbalitips #indonesia #fypsg ♬ I Think I Like When It Rains – WILLIS
During his announcement of the new Bali Becik Task Force, a group of immigration officials dedicated to cracking down on lawless foreigners, Indonesia’s Director General of Immigration, Silmy Karim, said that Bali’s future depends on being less budget-friendly.
The Director General of Immigration told reporters that such drastic measures as the new Bali Becik Task Force and the launch of a dedicated complaints hotline were necessary and that the reputation Bali has for being a low-budget destination has to be addressed.
He explains, “So the main problem regarding foreigners in Bali is the large number of foreign tourists with low spending who often make trouble. Because Bali is included in the category of cheap tourist destinations, so it attracts thin-pocketed tourists.”
Though the Director General did not cite any specific incidences where the alluded correlation between low-spending tourists and criminal and/or cultural violations had been observed, his sentiments are in alignment with other tourism stakeholders on the island.
The Indonesian Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sanidaga Uno, has spoken often about his commitment to ensuring high-quality tourism prevails in Bali.
He and his teams have created brand partnerships with travel companies like Airbnb to promote longer and more luxurious stays in Bali through the use of the socio-cultural visa, also known as the digital nomad visa.
Minster Uno and the Department of Immigration have also announced that they are working on a 10-year ‘golden visa’ category that they hope will attract more high-worth individuals to invest in the country, especially Bali.
But these moves are all focused on bringing in longer staying forgiven and those expressing an interest in either investing in Bali, retiring in Bali, or establishing businesses on the island.
How could a move to prioritize more high-spending tourism in Bali affect those tourists currently planning their trips?
One way in which tourism leaders in Bali want to generate more revenue to invest in improving conditions on the island, both for local communities and tourists, is through the introduction of the tourism tax.
The tourism tax initially proposed at IDR 100,000 per person but now rumored to be increased to IDR 150,000, is set to come into effect in mid-2024.
The tourism tax will be applicable to all international arrivals in Bali and is set to help protect and preserve Balinese culture and the wider environment.
Tourism stakeholders have also voiced their desire to increase the visa-on-arrival cost from IDR 500,000 to upwards of IDR 1,500,000.
Though this is currently just an idea, an increase in the VOA fee would be difficult to enact on a provincial level since visa categories and supporting legislation are created at a national level.
Could this public discussion and incremental legislative changes ultimately lead to the end of budget-friendly travel in Bali?
Realistically, not anytime soon. While the dialogue feels weighted towards the economics of the situation, the reality is that Bali’s tourism model currently depends on tourists from across the budget spectrum.
As the island continues to recover financially from the impacts of the pandemic and as tourism development is booming, tourists can still find everything they want in a vacation and so much more…just respect the rules!
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