July 19, 2023
JAKARTA – The government has yet to determine its stance on Bali’s US$10 foreign tourist tax with the Tourism Ministry saying it is still reviewing the policy and seeking input from stakeholders.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno told reporters on Monday that the government is still discussing the matter internally and is waiting until the plan is translated into a regional government regulation (Perda).
“Please be patient; we can’t provide an answer yet because it’s still being disseminated and coordinated, and we’d like to hear from other stakeholders,” Sandiaga said during a press briefing.
Previously the Bali provincial administration said on July 12 that it would impose a tax for tourists starting next year. The administration is adamant the tax will not have a negative impact on tourist numbers.
Over 2.3 million foreign tourists visited Bali last year, according to Bali officials.
Sandiaga went on to say that so far only Bali levied a tourism tax, with ongoing discussions in other regions, which he believed would require further studies.
“When it comes to other places, we must assess whether they are already at the same stage as Bali. More research will be required,” he said.
“[The Bali tax] has a good purpose,” he added, citing Bali’s plan to use the money to preserve the island’s culture.
Tjok Bagus Pemayun, the head of the Bali Tourism Agency gave an assurance that the $10 tax was reasonable for foreign tourists visiting Bali, pointing out that other countries also implemented similar policies.
He gave an example of Thailand, which plans to impose a 300 baht ($8.73) tourism fee, although according to the Bangkok Post, the planned levy has not yet been implemented.
“We can’t tell whether the tax is a big one or a small one because other countries charge a tourist tax daily. Hence, we’re aiming for a feasible price for everyone,” Bagus said.
The Bali administration plans to impose the tax in the middle of next year, but Bagus said it could be applied much earlier in March 2024.
“Members of the tourism associations are expecting that the tourist tax could be implemented as soon as March 2024, around the time a deal with Indonesian and foreign tourism agents is signed,” Tjok Bagus concluded.
However, the Bali Tourism Board, which oversees associations and firms in the local tourist sector, has urged the Bali adminsitration to be transparent in the use of the money,
The board’s chairman Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana said the income collected from the tax should be used for upgrading tourism facilities and promotional programs.
In April the central government considered a tax on foreign tourists controversial incidents involving tourists made the rounds on social media. Nothing as yet has come of this plan.