In early 2023, Bali will introduce a mandatory tourism tax for every international visitor who arrives on the island.
The tax will be payable either before arrival or on arrival at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport or at sea ports. The legislative changes have been submitted, and now officials are getting stakeholders on board with the plan.
The Chairman of the Indonesian Association of Tourism and Travel for Bali, I Putu Winastra, has told reporters that international travel agents have given their nod of approval for the new tourism tax.
The levy will be formally informed on the 14th of February 2024 and will cost IDR 150,000.
Winastra told reporters, “Regarding the contribution of IDR 150,000, they [tourists and travel agents] are very supportive, in order to protect Bali’s nature.”
Winastra had recently attended the International & French Travel Market (IFTM) Top Resa event in Paris, where he discussed the introduction of the tourism tax with key stakeholders.
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He said, “It turns out we got a positive response. It just so happens that there are many partners there.”
He revealed that he and his teams will be working to promote Bali as the destination of choice for not only French tourists but Polish tourists too.
According to Winastra tourists from Poland have a strong desire for tourism experiences that promote rural tourism and cultural experiences.
Bali is also seeing a steep rise in the number of tourists from Italy. Tourists from France, Poland, and Italy are all eligible to apply for the 30-day visa on arrival.
The visa costs IDR 500,000 and can be extended one time for an additional 30 days. The visa is available for passport holders from 97 countries and is one of the most accessible visa-on-arrival schemes anywhere in the world.
Yet, as Winastra said, the initial premise of the tourism tax was to better fund cultural and nature conservation on the island.
During an emergency meeting to discuss the outbreak of wildfires and landfill fires in Bali, the Acting Governor stated that in the first instance, funds generated by the new tourism tax will be used to combat waste management issues on the island.
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The Acting Governor of Bali, Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, announced on Wednesday that 50-70% of the first intake of tourism tax revenue will be spent on resolving the island’s waste problem.
The island’s landfill sites were meant to be closed by the G20 Summit held in November 2022. However, the TPA sites are still accepting over 200 tonnes of waste each, every single day.
Now that fires are blazing at Suwung TPA in South Denpasar and Mandung TPA in Tabanan Regency, waste is being redirected to other TPA landfill sites across the island.
Sites that are already nearing capacity and a fire risk during this current drought period.
While many tourists do not feel too fused about paying an additional USD 10 contribution to the upkeep of the island, frequent visits to Bali have shared their frustrations that they should not be being asked to pay to help resolve an issue that they feel the provincial and central government should have adequately funded before now.
Travel data shared this month by Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, shows that the average tourist spends USD 1500 during their vacation in Bali.
Tourism leaders in Bali have been on a mission this year to attract higher-spending, longer-staying tourists.
This, they have noted, can help stamp out badly behaved tourists from the island.
Whether on board with it or not, the tourism tax will be introduced on the 14th of February and tourists will be required to pay the fee, in addition to their visa on arrival. Both will be payable online before arriving in Bali.
It is likely the payments will need to be made on two separate websites since the visa-on-arrival fee is received by the Department of Immigration, and the tourism tax is a regional levy for the Provincial Government.
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