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November 21, 2023

Indonesia plans to expand tourist tax policy

Bali, Indonesia
Bali, Indonesia
November 21, 2023

Starting next February, Bali and five Indonesian destinations will require tourists to pay an IDR 150,000 ($10) tax to help fund local waste management and cultural preservation programs. The tax will be charged electronically on a per-visit basis, in addition to the existing IDR 500,000 fee for the 30-day visa on arrival. The policy aims to address Bali’s growing trash problem, as mounds of plastic bottles, food containers, and abandoned shopping bags litter its beaches. Deputy Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Vinsensius Jemadu said that the tourism tax should also reflect an improvement in service and hotel quality. 

Tourism taxes are not new to Southeast Asia. In June, Thailand began collecting a 300 baht ($9) fee for travelers arriving via air. In September 2017, Malaysia introduced a RM10 ($2) per-night hotel tax for foreign guests. Bali has been considering a tourist tax since at least 2019, and proposed figures ranged from $30 to $100. The finalized $10 tax is likely in consideration of concerns among small businesses that a high tax may deter foreign travelers. Provincial governor Wayan Koster believes the relatively small charge will not significantly impact tourism figures and help make travel to Bali “more comfortable and safe.”  

The tax is part of a broader agenda to transition Bali’s appeal for mass tourism to “quality tourism,” as frustration grows for the misconduct of foreign tourists. This year, Bali also banned tourists from climbing Bali’s mountains and renting motorbikes, and has already deported over 200 tourists for illegal and culturally disrespectful behavior. 

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