Pay to Play: Bali Set to Impose New Tax on All Foreign Tourists

Jan 26, 2019

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The Indonesian government is close to enacting a new tax on all foreign tourists visiting Bali. The hope is that the tourist tax, which would likely be $10 per person, would help “tackle plastic pollution” — a major problem for the popular tourist destination.

Bali’s governor, Wayan Koster, said that a “bylaw has been drafted” to tax oversees visitors, and that the money would be used to preserve the environment as well as Balinese culture by helping to not only tackle pollution but also waste management on the island, according to The Guardian.

Back in December of 2018, Indonesia banned single-use plastics such as straws, shopping bags and styrofoam, which have been clogging Bali’s pristine beaches and waters at alarming rates. “The Bali Environment Agency recorded that the island produced 3,800 tons of waste every day, with only 60 percent ending up in landfill,” according to The Jakarta Post. The money raised would be used to fund programs to help clean up the environment.

The move is one tourists will understand, according to Koster. “They will be happy to pay it as it will be used to strengthen our environment and culture,” he said of the tax, which only “international tourists and not domestic visitors” would have to pay. Method of collection of the tourism tax is still on the table, with possibilities including via airline ticket price or payment upon arrival at the airport.

So far, locals see this as a promising move to keep up tourism numbers and are on board with the idea, with one caveat: that the funds actually go toward the environmental programs as promised. Ida Bagus Purwa Sidemen of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association told The Guardian, “As long as the levy is used for preserving environment and culture, I think it would not cause a decline in tourist numbers.”

Tourism is a huge industry for Bali, which saw “nearly 5.7 million visitors” in 2017 alone, a number that’s expected to “exceed 6 million in 2018,” according to The Jakarta Post.

H/T: The Guardian

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