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Bali Seeking More Airport Fees from Visiting Tourists

Initial Efforts to Charge Additional Rp.10,000 on Departing Bali Passengers Gets Knocked Back by Jakarta Lawmakers.

Bali News:
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Efforts by Bali's provincial House of Representatives to impose a "donation" on tourists passing through Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport has been strongly rejected by Jakarta who saw the imposition of an additional financial burden on Bali's tourists as unacceptable.

Quoted in NusaBali, a Balinese legislator who is a member of Commission IV of the National House of Representatives, I Gde Sumarjaya Linggih, said, "if we introduce another fee at the airport, this will not speed the growth of the economy but only serve to slow that growth – particularly in Bali's tourism industry."

Sumarjaya also pointed out that the proposed additional "donation" was against national laws governing state-owned enterprises which prohibit the imposition of provincial fees on those enterprises. Angkasa Pura - the authority that controls Bali's airport is a state-owned enterprise.

Meanwhile, a member of the provincial Bali House of Representatives, I Ketut Kariyasa, has responded by lambasting Sumarjaya's lack of effort to secure Bali a share of the current visa-on-arrival fees and airport service charge of Rp. 150,000 (US$16.30) for departing international passengers.

"Why don't our counterparts in the National legislature protest this?" asked Kariyasa.

Local Law Makers Undeterred

Despite a Jakarta rejection of a "donation" from Bali's departing passengers, local legislators have pledged to continue their efforts, insisting such a fee is in keeping with Indonesia's commitment to regional autonomy.

Proponents of the new fee claim the charge would be a "donation" and, as such, does not violate national law. Moreover, according to Sumarjaya, similar "donations" or "fees" were already being levied in other locations, such as Makassar and Banjarmasin.

In something of a seeming self-contradiction, Sumarjaya insisted the proposed Rp. 10,000 (US$1.10) "donation" would not represent a burden to tourist as it would be entirely voluntary; while, at the same time, proposing that the "donation" be included in the process that currently charges an airport service charge of Rp. 150,000 (US$16.30) to departing international passengers. The airport service charge is mandatory and must be paid by all departing passengers. How, exactly, a "voluntary" and a "mandatory" fee could be legitimately combined in a single levy remains unclear.

Intent on securing more money from Bali's tourism visitors, proponent of the additional charge have suggested levying the Rp. 10,000 (US$1.10) fee via local travel agents if efforts to secure via passenger flow-through at Bali's airport are unsuccessful.

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