Earlier this month, the Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, announced that he will be introducing a new tourism tax in 2024.
The tax will be used to protect and promote Balinese culture and the environment, though the Governor has not yet given a specific breakdown of proposed spending. Now government officials are sharing their views on how tourism tax should be spent.
Speaking from the luxurious resort of Nusa Dua earlier this week, Indonesia’s Minster for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, shared his views on the proposed tourism tax in Bali.
During a press meeting, Minster Uno said that the revenue generated from the IDR 150,000 tax should be spent on nature consideration.
The announcement of Govern Koster’s tourism tax has caused quite a conversation amongst Bali lovers.
The proposed legislative changes that would enable Governor Koster to formally introduce the tourism tax have been submitted into the legal system. He has said that socialization and public discussion around the new tax will begin in September.
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Minster Uno told reporters, “Please be patient, late the Provincial Government of Bali will continue to coordinate with our Task Force because this [tourism tax] is for conservation. The initial idea was to bring environmental sustainability, preservation of customs, and local wisdom to keep working.”
The Minster added, “All tourists want Bali to be maintained; all tourists also want Bali to be beautiful like this. The waste [must be] well managed, the coral reefs maintained, the mangroves in good conditions.”
Minister Uno continued, “Now, this costs money, and this is what we will use through this [tax] initiative, which is currently still in process. Early on, it will be discussed and socialized, and there will be regional regulations and so on.”
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He concluded, “We are careful in setting additional costs. So Bali has to go through the process so that it can offer contributions to conservation.”
Minster Uno was joined at the press briefing by the Deputy Governor of Bali, Cok Ace. The Deputy Governor said that he was the tourism tax is explained to the public is important.
He noted that tourists must be made aware that contributing to conservation is of direct benefit to their tourism experience, or else they may feel reluctant to pay.
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The announcement of the new tourism tax has triggered a wider dialogue around the future of tourism in Bali.
Some leaders feel that Bali should be focusing entirely on bringing in ‘high-quality tourism and that tourists with ‘thin pockets’ (shoe-strong travel budgets) should be discouraged from visiting.
Cok Ace said, “I think it’s clear what the Minister said, speaking whether [the tourism tax] is expensive or cheap depends on the narrative we are building.”
“This [tax] designation is for the environment and culture which tourists are looking for. This is why we need a large fee”.
While nature conservation may not immediately feel like a concern or priority for most tourists to Bali, the reality is that the protection of the island’s natural landscapes does directly influence their experience.
Bali is not a destination famous for its urban landscapes; rather, its lush tropical jungles, pristine beaches, abundant marine ecosystems, and sacred mountains.
All of these must be managed and cared for through conservation and environmental management mechanisms; tourism and conservation go hand in hand in many ways.
Minster Uno and Deputy Governor Cok Ace are not alone in their wish to conserve more of Bali’s natural wonders. The Indonesian Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has announced that he would like to see the proposed tourism tax revenue spent on cleaning up Bali’s waste problem. Something that surely every Bali lover can get on board with.
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