Bai’s Governor Wayan Koster has recently announced a new tourism tax that is set to be introduced in mid-2024.
The news has triggered a mixed reaction from politicians, local leaders, and tourists. The Indonesian Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment has shared how he wants to see the tax revenue spent.
Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has told reporters that he would like to see the proposed tourism tax revenue spent on cleaning up Bali’s waste problem.
Speaking to the media, Minister Pandjaitan shared his concern that if the issue of waste management continues without significant and rapid improvement the problem will become ‘uncontrollable.’
Minister Pandjaitan said, “I think it [tourism tax] is good for Bali; why not use it to look after its waste.”
He added, “Garbage must be cleaned; now there is a smell. I spoke to the Mayor of Denpasar to fix it but don’t use it as a political issue, it’s not good just fix it and reduce the smell.”
Minister Pandjaitan was speaking to reporters after signing a new conservation agreement at the Bali Turtle Special Economic Zone.
The issue of waste management in Bali has been a hot topic for years. It is a problem that affects both local communities and tourists.
The lack of meaningful action on tackling the issue has triggered a backlash from local communities.
Outside the Kesiman Kertalangu Integrated Waste Treatment Site in Denpasar, local residents installed protest billboards to raise awareness of the increasingly foul stench coming from the waste processing facility and the backlog of trash to be processed.
@sirenswimco This is why we need to make a change. ♻️🌊🐬🐢 #oceanlife #oceanpollution #seaanimals #bali #sustainability #ecofriendly #recycle #beachvibes #beachlife #sustainableswimwear #oceancleanup ♬ I BELIEVE IN SUMMER – Ellen Once Again
The statements issued by Minister Pandjaitan have been echoed by many Bali lovers online.
Many tourists were not fussed by the prospect of spending an additional IDR 150,000 in order to support the preservation of Balinese culture and the environment.
Just as many netizens shared their frustration that these issues continue to prevail on the island despite the revenue already generated by other tourism-related taxes.
@cleanhub_official The waves of #waste come back to #Bali. Without proper #wastemanagement in place, this happens year after year. #plasticpollution #saveouroceans #sea ♬ Originalton – cleanhub_official
Bali’s Governor Koster has formally submitted the proposed legislative changes. The new policies will now go through a process of public discussion or ‘socialization’ starting in September.
If all goes smoothly for the provincial government, their new tourism tax will be introduced in June 2024.
The flat fee of IDR 150,000 will is payable only in Indonesian rupiah, and Governor Koster has already issued statements confirming that tax revenue will be tradable and spent in a transparent manner.
Yet, there are other leading political figures in Bali who feel like the IDR 150,000 fee is already too low.
The tourism tax is approximately USD 10 and will be a mandatory fee in addition to the IDR 500,000 required for the visa on arrival, which is the most popular visa option for tourists to Bali.
Speaking late last week, Local politician IGK Kresna Budi shared that he wants to see the tourism tax introduced at IDR 500,000.
He explained, “We try that Bali is the best destination; many people want to go to Bali, so [let’s create a situation] where tourists can take part in maintaining the culture in Bali. For that, we try to charge as well.”
Budi’s views were in alignment with Minister Pandjaitan in that the tourism tax must be spent on improving public services.
He explained, “Now the use of the tax is how we will use it for public health, education, and also insurance for tourists while visiting Bali.”
But, he says that tourists must fundamentally give more to get more public services and resources out of the island.
Budi explained, “I’m saying that whoever pays for something gets better service; do they want it or not? I sure do…So for us to try to provide the best service to tourists and also to the contribution of the tourists themselves, it’s reciprocal.”
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