Bali imposes $10 e-tax for tourists

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Planning a visit to Bali? Brace yourself for a new addition to your travel checklist. 

As of Wednesday, tourists arriving in the Indonesian paradise are now facing a 150,000 rupiah ($10) tax. The move aims to safeguard the rich cultural tapestry of the “Island of Gods.”

“Why the levy?” you might wonder. 

Bali’s acting governor, Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, highlighted its purpose at the launch ceremony on Monday, stating, “This levy is aimed at the protection of the culture and the environment in Bali.”

To comply with this cultural conservation effort, foreign tourists must pay the fee electronically through the “Love Bali” online portal. It applies to those entering Bali from abroad or other parts of Indonesia. However, fret not, dear reader, as this levy does not extend to domestic Indonesian tourists.

Bali, a haven that annually lures millions of foreign visitors, seeks to capitalize on its popularity not just to boost its financial coffers but also to shield its tropical allure. The island has witnessed a resurgence in tourism, with nearly 4.8 million tourists visiting between January and November last year. A commendable feat, considering the island’s zero-tolerance policy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the island’s commitment to preserving its cultural integrity goes beyond financial measures. Recent incidents of misbehavior by tourists have sparked concern. From disrespectful poses at sacred sites to indecent exposure in public, Bali has faced its share of challenges.

In response, the local government took a proactive step last year by publishing an etiquette guide for prospective Bali visitors. This guide serves as a reminder that while the island welcomes tourists, it expects them to uphold the values and traditions that make Bali a unique destination.

As Bali endeavors to balance its popularity with the need for cultural preservation, the new tourist tax stands as a tangible step towards securing the island’s identity. So, as you plan your Balinese getaway, remember to factor in this cultural contribution to ensure a harmonious and respectful experience.

In the words of Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, “This levy is not just a tax; it’s an investment in the preservation of Bali’s soul and spirit.”

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