Bali is considering a big change for arrivals on the holiday island, with a proposal to charge tourists up to $150 to enter now being mulled over by its government.
The possibility of a 'tourist tax' has been speculated for years and resurfaced last month. Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno confirmed this week discussions between the government and President Joko Widodo were now underway after an initial study into the matter.
Tourism bosses believe a tax of between US$30 and $100 ( $45 and $150) would allow Bali to deter badly behaved tourists or those who seek to work or stay illegally on the island, the Australian Financial Review reported. The Bali Tourism Board said the tax would prevent Bali from being known as "a cheap destination".
“Cheap destinations bring in cheap tourists who tend to cause a lot of problems," chairman Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana said.
A potential charge has been thrust back into the spotlight as Balinese authorities vowed to crack down on disobedient tourists. A spate of incidences of badly-behaved tourists, including some Australians, has tarnished the reputation of holidaymakers, with the government conscious of how the island is being perceived as a party venue.
Yet those who oppose the proposal say a better solution needs to be found that specifically targets those offending, instead of a blanket rule.
Business owners who struggled as tourists were shut out during the Covid-19 pandemic have also expressed their concerns over such a move with fears they will be financially impacted further.
Australians number one visitor to Bali
While Russians make up a large proportion of the foreign nationals deported from the island, Australians remain a focus for authorities, with local data confirming Australians remain the most common arrival.
In March Bali's tourism board said it would embark on an advertising campaign designed to educate tourists on how to behave at culturally sensitive locations.
"The point is that tourists respect Balinese cultural customs by dressing well and neatly, following in an orderly manner, carrying out traffic activities and not doing things that are outside the provisions," Mr Adnyana said.
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