Indonesia considers tourist tax to curb bad behaviour in Bali – According to local media, Indonesia is considering implementing a tax on tourists following a string of incidents involving foreigners who violated local laws or customs. Sandiaga Uno, minister of tourism and creative economy, told reporters this week that the possibility of a tourism tax is “currently being studied.”
“We expect the study to wrap up in the coming weeks so we can discuss and decide the issue,” he said, according to a report by the Jakarta Post. However, business groups are concerned that a tax would discourage tourism at a time when the tourism industry is still recuperating from the pandemic, the outlet reported.
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Luhut Pandjaitan, the minister of coordinating maritime affairs and investment, called for a tourism tax earlier this month, stating that Bali was one of the cheapest tourist destinations in the world, and that this had “encouraged many low-income foreign visitors to come to Bali, leading to a rise in unruly behavior.”
He stated that the island should move away from mass tourism and concentrate on becoming a premium tourism destination. Before the pandemic, Bali, renowned for its surfing spots, emerald-green rice terraces, and nightlife, attracted an estimated 6.2 million foreign visitors per year, and tourism accounted for approximately 60% of the island’s economy.
Locals have become increasingly irritated by tourists’ disrespectful or illegal behavior, such as tourists posing nude for social media photos at sacred sites and poor driving on the roads. The governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, announced last month that the island intended to prohibit tourists from renting motorbikes due to their disregard for traffic regulations, such as driving without a helmet or license.
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When advocating for a tourism tax, Luhut cited a video of a tourist accusing police officers of attempting to steal money after being stopped for operating a motorcycle without a helmet or shirt. Sandiaga and Luhut have both proposed that the tax revenue could be used to promote the growth of the local tourism industry.