Announced in 2023 by the regional government of Bali, the tourist tax for all foreign visitors entering the island will now officially go into effect on 14 February. At 150,000 Indonesian rupiah (around 9 euros) per person and per entry, the tax comes on top of the 500,000 rupiah (around 29 euros) charge for a 30-day visa in Indonesia. According to the government, the fee should help to combat the consequences of mass tourism and to preserve the island’s natural and cultural heritage.
The tourist tax, officially called a tourism levy, will have to be paid by every international traveller setting foot on the island, children included, whether they arrive by plane or by boat. If they leave Bali, even if just for a few days or even if visiting another part of Indonesia, they will have to pay the levy again when returning. There are, however, three exceptions: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, as these three islands belong to the province of Bali.
Even though according to the head of the local tourism authority, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, the processing of the tax should not take more than 23 seconds per person, the government advises all tourists to pay their levy in advance through Love Bali’s official website. After payment, visitors will receive a voucher by mail, which they can then scan upon arrival.
There is still quite a bit of confusion surrounding the tax. At the time of writing, it remains unclear how exactly the Balinese government will check if tourists paid the tax or not. Moreover, exceptions can be made for long-term visa holders, if they apply at least a month in advance, but how that exemption will be applied remains unclear as well.
As far as the use of the funds goes, according to officials, the money will be put towards several causes, with the preservation of the island in mind:
- Better tourism management in Bali.
- Maintaining the culture and traditions of Bali.
- Cleaning up the environment to preserve its beauty.
- Improving the cleanliness, orderliness, convenience, and safety in Bali.
- Enhancing the infrastructure and facilities of public transportation.
- Improving Bali cultural tourism information services.
- Disaster management services.
What the impact of the levy on tourism in Bali will be remains to be seen. Interestingly, at the same time Bali is introducing a tourist tax, Thailand has announced it will be cutting alcohol and entertainment taxes in order to revive the tourism industry, which is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.