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Bali to charge tourists US$10 levy to protect environment and cultural heritage

Ulun Danu Bratan Temple, Tabanan, Bali. Source: Pixabay

Balinese officials hope that the new tourism levy will help protect their local environment and culture.

Bali will soon charge foreign tourists a US$10 (AUD$14) levy, with the goal of protecting the island's environment and cultural heritage, while Indonesian tourists will pay US$1.

The Strait Times reports that the Bali administration has drafted a bylaw on the levy, which lawmakers had discussed since December.

Bali Governor Wayan Koster said the revenue from the tourist tax would be used to fund programs with the aim of preserving the Balinese environment and culture.

"This will give us better fiscal space to support the development of Bali," Koster said at the Bali Legislative Council building.

According to official statistics from Bali's Bureau of Statistics, from January to October 2018, a cumulative total of 5,164,929 foreign tourists visited Bali - a 2.87 per cent increase on the prior year's total of 5,124,839 visitors.

Not only is Bali packed with foreign tourists, in recent years the island has been loaded with plastic waste.

In November 2017, the Badung Regency's Environmental and Sanitation Service (DLHK) declared a "waste emergency" along six kilometres of coastline that includes popular beaches such as Jimbaran, Kuta and Seminyak.

DLHK deployed as many as 700 cleaners and 35 trucks to send of about 100 tonnes of garbage per day to landfill.

Head of DLHK of the Badung Regency Putu Eka Merthawan said that the garbage did not come from people living in the Kuta area and its surroundings. "It's a suicide if Kuta people do this," he said.

Local residents observed to see piles of garbage on January 17, 2018 at Kedonganan beach, Bali, Indonesia.
Local residents observed to see piles of garbage on January 17, 2018 at Kedonganan beach, Bali, Indonesia.
Muhammad Fauzy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Minister of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan said that his office was reviewing the levy policy on plastic waste for tourists which is expected to take effect in February 2019.

"If possible this law will be effective in February next year," said Mr Panjaitan in casual conversation with the media last November in Jakarta.

However, Mr Panjaitan emphasised that he did not wish to be presumptuous in formulating such policy. He said that he did not want any legal problems arising from the planned waste levy of US$10 for foreign tourists and US$1 for domestic tourists.

"Our legal experts are working on it. We don't want to make the wrong rule either. So we will see and count how many dollars," he said.

Japan recently announced that international tourists leaving the country must pay a "sayonara tax" of 1000 yen (AUD$13) per departure to “expand and enhance the country’s tourist infrastructure,” while New Zealand will introduce a tourist tax of up to NZ$35 later on this year (AUD$33) to fund conservation and infrastructure.

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