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We’ll Drink to This!

Leader of Bali Congress and Convention Association Say All Parties in Bali Must Unite to Force Jakarta to Review High Taxes on Wine and Spirits

(9/2/2012) The chairman of Bali Chapter of Indonesia Congress and Convention Association (INCCA-Bali), Ida Bagus Surakusuma, is quoted by Bisnis Bali, calling on Bali legislators to battle on behalf of the island’s meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition sector (MICE) to relax restrictions on the sale and import of wine and other alcoholic drinks.

Surakusuma, also known as “Lolec,” called on the government to keep Bali competitive with competing MICE destination in the region in the area of the cost of alcoholic beverages by joining in a struggle to change the current rules governing the importation of wine and spirits.

Insisting that changing the liquor importation rules was important to Bali and the responsibility of all those in power, he called on every sector to work in order that changes to the rules are discussed at a national level.

Lolec said the high taxes imposed on liquor and wines are counter-productive in the government’s declared desire to expand the MICE sector of the national economy.

He described how wine is an essential part of MICE dinner events as an aid to digestion. Wine, he reminded, when used in the MICE industry is not intended to intoxicate, but to complete the professional atmosphere of meals and gatherings held by MICE groups visiting Indonesia.

Calling for a common understanding and language between legislators and MICE operators, he said the current tax regime for alcohol importation is an obstacle to increasing tourism arrivals.

Lolec pointed to the way in which casinos in Malaysia are operated as offering a possible solution to the current imbroglio surrounding liquor importation. He described how local people in Malaysia are not permitted to visit casinos and are forbidden from consuming alcohol.

Saying that the central government must relax rules and taxes on the importation of alcoholic drinks, suggesting other more effective means other than high taxes were available to avoid any negative consequences of excessive alcohol consumption by the local population.