For decades now, Bali has been able to attract tourists as not many other regions in the world have done before. Its impressive nature, pleasant climate and friendly prices work like a magnet for everyone who’s looking to spend an unforgettable vacation on a minimum budget. As a result, the Indonesian island used to welcome 6,2 million visitors a year before the pandemic hit, meaning the tourism industry was good for about 60% of the island’s economy. Great, one might think, but the Indonesian government and the locals are starting to change their mind about that.
Just last month, Bali governor Wayan Koster announced during a press briefing that authorities in Bali are considering banning motorcycle and scooter rentals to foreigners. This is because many tourists choose to ignore the local traffic law, riding without helmets nor shirts, sometimes even without license. Moreover, when they get stopped by local police, they are hesitant to give in to their orders, resulting in somewhat rude discussions. And that’s not the only downside of mass tourism on Bali, as a great deal of tourists are just ignoring local customs and traditions in general.
The Indonesian government has decided this has to stop and in order to make that happen, several initiatives have been put forward already. Last year, the island announced that tourists with at least 130.000 dollars on their account could apply for a 10 year visa. And earlier this week, tourism and creative economy minister, Sandiaga Uno, spoke to the press about the possibility of a tourism tax was, which was “currently being studied”.
We expect the study to wrap up in the coming weeks so we can discuss and decide.Sandiaga Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy told the Jakarta Post
It is clear that the government, by imposing a tourist tax, wants to put a hold to the current mass tourism, which is very much concentrated on offering cheap vacation options. Instead, they want to start focusing on a more luxurious, sustainable form of tourist. To that matter, the money raised through the tourist tax could be used to develop the local tourism industry.
So far, no decision has been made but it looks like if the government makes a decision in favour of the tax, not everyone will be happy about it. Business groups in particular are already raising their voices, saying a tourism tax could harm the industry and deterring possible visitors when tourism in the region is still recovering from the consequences of the pandemic. To be continued, without a doubt.