BALI'S NEW TOURISM TAX GAINS INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
International Travel Agents and Stakeholders Back Bali's Initiatives to Fund Cultural and Nature Preservation.
In a move set to bolster Bali's tourism sector and promote environmental conservation, the Indonesian paradise island is preparing to implement a compulsory tourism tax for all international visitors arriving in early 2023. This forthcoming tax, which can be paid either in advance or upon arrival at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport or at the island's seaports, has been met with approval from international travel agents.
The legislation to introduce this tax is currently under review, and officials are working diligently to garner support from key stakeholders. I Putu Winastra, Chairman of the Indonesian Association of Tourism and Travel for Bali, has revealed that international travel agents have shown their endorsement for this initiative.
Scheduled to be formally implemented on February 14, 2024, the tax will amount to IDR 150,000. According to Winastra, tourists and travel agents have expressed their unwavering support for this fee, viewing it as a pivotal measure to safeguard Bali's natural splendor.
During a recent visit to the International & French Travel Market (IFTM) Top Resa event in Paris, Winastra engaged in discussions about the introduction of the tourism tax with significant stakeholders. The response from these stakeholders was decidedly positive, indicating the potential for fruitful collaboration in the future.
Winastra further disclosed his intentions to promote Bali as a favored destination, not only for French tourists but for Polish travelers as well. He noted the strong desire of Polish tourists for experiences rooted in rural and cultural tourism.
It is worth highlighting that Bali has been experiencing a notable surge in the number of tourists arriving from Italy. Notably, visitors from France, Poland, and Italy are all eligible to apply for a 30-day visa on arrival, costing IDR 500,000 and extendable for an additional 30 days. This visa is open to passport holders from 97 countries, making it one of the most accessible visa-on-arrival programs globally.
The primary aim of the tourism tax is to allocate funding to cultural and nature conservation efforts on the island. An emergency meeting convened to address the outbreak of wildfires and landfill fires in Bali resulted in the Acting Governor's announcement that a significant portion, 50-70%, of the initial tax revenue will be dedicated to addressing the island's waste management challenges.
It was initially envisaged that the island's landfill sites would be closed by the G20 Summit held in November 2022. However, the reality paints a different picture as these sites continue to accept over 200 tonnes of waste daily. In addition, with wildfires raging at Suwung TPA in South Denpasar and Mandung TPA in Tabanan Regency, waste is being redirected to other TPA landfill sites on the island, many of which are nearing capacity and pose a fire risk during the current drought period.
While some tourists are apathetic about the additional USD 10 contribution to the island's upkeep, frequent visitors express their frustration, contending that the provincial and central government should have adequately funded this issue by now. Indonesia's Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, recently released travel data indicating that the average tourist spends USD 1500 during their Bali vacation. The leaders of Bali's tourism sector have made it their mission to attract tourists who stay longer and spend more as a means to mitigate the presence of poorly behaved tourists on the island.
For those planning to visit Bali after February 14, it is imperative to understand that the tourism tax will be enforced, along with the existing visa-on-arrival fee, and both can be paid online before arrival. These payments may require two separate online platforms, with the visa-on-arrival fee falling under the Department of Immigration's jurisdiction and the tourism tax being a regional levy overseen by the Provincial Government.
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