The people of Bali have had enough. After swathes of troublesome tourists invading the island for both a good time and a long time, throwing local customs under the bus in the pursuit of wanton pleasure, the government is taking measures to keep them out. From half-naked men rolling down the street to fully naked women marching into temples and defacing sacred trees, the people have seen enough, and they want to rehabilitate their home’s reputation.
The picturesque Indonesian island — once known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, now known for the seemingly endless defamation of said landscapes and culture — has announced plans to roll out new taxation measures aimed at preserving its cultural heritage. Starting next year, foreign visitors to Bali will be required to pay a mandatory $10 USD (~$15 AUD) fee upon arrival to the country before being allowed access to its bustling beaches, as reported by The Independent.
WATCH: One of the troublemaking tourists in question…
Bali has long been a popular destination for international travellers — and especially for audacious Aussies — attracting millions of tourists, and their wonderfully deep pockets, every single year. However, with the surge in visitor numbers have come concerns over their potentially negative impact on the island’s rich culture and environment. The proposed levy — which is currently earmarked at 150,000 rupiah, in local currency — has long been a subject of heated discussion among government officials, who are keen to address these longstanding issues.
The fee will be mandatory for all foreign tourists entering Bali from abroad or from other parts of Indonesia, while Indonesian travellers will be exempt from the levy, given their far more respectable approach to the island than their overseas counterparts. Bali’s governor, I Wayan Koster, expressed his full support for the tax in a public statement, and hinted at how the money will be spent:
“It’s not a problem. We will use it for the environment [and] culture, and we will build better quality infrastructure so traveling to Bali will be more comfortable and safe.”I Wayan Koster
The decision to implement the tourist tax — which Koster confirmed will only apply once per visit, apparently regardless of duration — is part of Bali’s wider effort to shed its reputation as a “cheap” travel destination, according to Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, chairman of the Bali Tourism Board. Adnyana emphasized the need to attract a higher quality of tourist who value the island’s history and are both more willing and more likely to contribute to its local economy.
Though this kind of measure has been debated for some time, it makes good sense that the decision has finally been taken now, given the recent spate of badly-behaved tourists that have descended on the island in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdowns, looking to let a little too loose. While a widespread PR push to keep troublesome tourists in check — including the rollout of billboards specifically aimed at educating Aussie travellers — was touted as the solution for some time, this new announcement feels like a more definitive and likely far more effective way of solving the island’s problems.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Bali anytime soon, prepare to pay up or miss out on paradise; the island is determined to keep the bad apples from spoiling the bunch once and for all.