In a bid to safeguard its rich culture and environment, the Indonesian government is introducing a tourism tax targeting Australians and other international tourists travelling to Bali.
Starting in 2024, every foreigner arriving in Bali will be required to pay a levy of 150,000 Indonesian Rupiah, equivalent to approximately $15 AUD, which will be collected electronically.
By introducing the tax, Indonesia is seeking to strike a balance between reviving the tourism sector following COVID-19 restrictions and preserving Bali's cultural heritage and natural environment.
Protection from tourists
Governor of Bali Wayan Koster said the new tax revenue will aid the island's recovery and help protect its fragile natural habitats, which have suffered in recent years due to the disruptive behaviour of tourists caught littering, engaging in illicit activities at sacred sites, and vandalising monuments.
"Bali's nature has become a major national and world tourism destination and has indeed made a positive contribution, but on the other hand, it has also had a serious negative impact," Mr Koster stated when announcing the tax.
Bali fights 'cheap' reputation
Bali Tourism Board chairman, Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, added that the income generated from the tourism tax would support various initiatives aimed at preventing Bali from being perceived as a cheap holiday hot spot. "Cheap destinations attract inexpensive tourists who often create numerous problems," Mr Adnyana explained.
Bali Dos and Don'ts card
The announcement comes weeks after Bali introduced an official Dos and Don'ts card for foreigners. In May, Mr Koster revealed that all tourists would receive a card upon arrival, highlighting the below rules.
Respect the holy, sacred nature of temples and all other religious symbols in Bali.
Dress modestly and wear appropriate clothing when visiting sacred places and tourist attractions.
Behave politely and respectfully in sacred places, tourist attractions, restaurants, on the roads, and in all other public places.
Respect the Balinese traditions, customs, art, and culture, as well as the local wisdom of the Balinese people during rituals and ceremonies.
Be accompanied by licensed tour guides when visiting tourist attractions. These guides should understand Bali's way of life, customs, traditions, and local wisdom of the Balinese people.
Make payments using Indonesian rupiah and the Indonesian Standard QR Code.
Exchange currency at authorised money changers that display the authorisation number and QR code logo from Bank Indonesia.
Obey Indonesian traffic laws and regulations, which include having an international or national driving license, dressing appropriately, and not driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
Use legal cars and motorbikes that are officially registered or operated by legal businesses and associations.
Stay in accommodations that have the required permits in accordance with local regulations.
Comply with all special provisions and rules that apply in each tourist attraction.
Enter the holy spaces within temples, unless you are there for a Balinese traditional ceremony.
Touch or climb sacred trees.
Take photos while wearing immodest clothes or without clothes, or behave in any way that will desecrate holy and sacred places.
Litter or pollute the water bodies and public spaces in Bali.
Use single-use plastics such as plastic bags, styrofoam and plastic straws.
Hurl offensive words and act aggressively towards government officials, members of local communities or fellow tourists, even on social media.
Work or conduct business activities without obtaining the proper documents.
Engage in illegal activities such as trading flora and fauna, cultural artifacts, and illegal goods, including illegal drugs.
While the new tourist tax is expected to take effect in early 2024, the Indonesian government says this timeline could be accelerated.
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