Bali, the picturesque island in Indonesia, known for its pristine beaches, vibrant arts scene, and ancient temples, has long been a favourite destination for travellers around the globe. However, with its increasing popularity, concerns about preserving the island’s unique cultural heritage have arisen.

To address this issue and ensure the sustainability of its traditions, Bali has recently announced the implementation of a tourist e-tax of IDR150,000 (roughly RM46), starting in 2024. This tax aims to not only generate revenue for cultural preservation initiatives, but also to encourage responsible tourism practices among visitors.

Preserving Bali’s cultural legacy

Bali is renowned for its distinct cultural identity, deeply rooted in Hindu traditions, art, and craftsmanship. However, the surge in tourism has led to some adverse effects, such as overdevelopment, environmental degradation, and the dilution of authentic Balinese customs.

Promoting responsible tourism

Apart from financial contributions, the e-tax serves as a mechanism to promote responsible tourism. After a string of disrespectful tourist incidents, Bali has vowed to crack down on misbehaving tourists.

Last month, Bali immigration deported a Danish woman who flashed on a motorbike. In April, a Russian woman who had posted a photo of herself in a nude state in front of a sacred tree on the island had also been deported. Following pressure from Bali’s immigration office, the local government produced a ‘dos and don’ts card’ in June to teach tourists about correct behaviour.

Paying the tax

The Governor of Indonesia, I Wayan Koster, has stated that the tax is intended to be a one-time cost for foreign visitors to Bali. International visitors coming to Bali from outside or from other parts of Indonesia must pay the tax electronically. However, this tax will not apply to domestic tourists from Indonesia.

Official statistics show that after enforcing a zero-tolerance approach on rule-breakers, Bali had an increase in tourism of almost 2 million last year. It’s anticipated that 4.5 million tourists will visit Bali this year.

Through this collective effort, Bali aims to ensure that future generations can continue to witness and appreciate the island’s unique customs, art forms, and spiritual traditions.

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