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Bali’s Tourist Tax: Aussies Rejoice as Fees Are Slashed and Shifted

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In a boon for Australian families planning Bali holidays, the island paradise is set to wave goodbye to a $50 compulsory fee starting the new year. Tens of thousands of families stand to save hundreds of dollars on their trips, marking a significant shift in Bali’s tourist policies.

Updates: This is just a plan based on the statement from the Minister of Economy Creative in 2023. Currently tourists from Australia still need to pay VOA (AUD$500) to enter Bali. Follow @balithisweek for more updates

Ross Taylor from the Indonesia Institute sheds light on the historical requirement for Australians to obtain a Visa on Arrival, deeming it a mere “tax” rather than a genuine visa. Bali, a perennial favorite among Aussies with hundreds of thousands visiting annually, rakes in millions in visa taxes from Western Australians alone. The removal of this fee, which translates to a $200 saving for a family of four, is expected to inject funds directly into the local economy.

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Yet, this windfall may be short-lived, as a new $15 tourist tax is poised for introduction in February. The consolation, however, is that a portion of these funds will be allocated to environmental initiatives. The Balinese government assures that the money will contribute to “environmental conservation, nature preservation, cultural enhancement, and overall quality improvement.”

The decision to scrap the previous tax echoes a shift in the Indonesian government’s stance. Initially introduced as a $50-per-person fee post-Covid to boost revenue and deter “cheap tourists,” the Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, has signaled a change. The exemption list, encompassing 20 countries, including Australia, highlights a shift towards encouraging tourism from specific nations.

Australia, leading the list of tourists arriving on the island, stands alongside New Zealand, China, India, the United States, and England among the fortunate 15 countries exempted from the fee. The exemption list, still pending finalization, is expected to be presented to Indonesian President Joko Widodo within the next month.

Ross Taylor, founder of the Indonesia Institute, lauds the removal of the tax, anticipating a positive impact on tourism and economic activity. He emphasizes the unique significance of the Australian market, highlighting how Aussie tourists actively engage with the local community, contributing to the Balinese economy.

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While the decision to eliminate the tax receives applause from many, it also sparks a contrasting viewpoint from the chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana. He had previously argued that the tax was instrumental in “improving the quality of tourists” and preventing Bali from being perceived solely as a cheap destination. The ongoing dialogue surrounding these changes reflects the intricate balance between economic considerations and the preservation of Bali’s unique charm.

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