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Bali Eyes Provincial Head Tax of $10 on Visiting Tourists

Officials Say Head Tax Revenues Needed to Support Bali Art and Culture

The idea of levying a tax of US$10 on foreign tourists visiting Bali has resurfaced with its proponents arguing that the tax revenues could be used primarily to fund the upkeep of cultural objects and ceremonies that are seen as mecessary to stimulate  tourist visits to the Island.

As reported by Balipost.com, the plan to tax foreign tourists is being championed by A.A. Ngurah Adhi Ardhana, a member of Commission II of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) who on Monday, September 24, 2018, insisted the use of revenues from the proposed tourist tax would be carefully planned to ensure benefits are derived to enhance Balinese culture and the Island's attractiveness as a tourism destination.

The lawmaker said that without such a tax, provincial revenues remain severely restrained for projects of cultural importance. The proceeds of the $10 per foreign visitor would allow generous support of Balinese culture with excess reveneus availbel to support other key projects. Collecting the proposed tax would need cooperation from the Angkasa Pura who manage the airport and Pelindo who manage the Port of Benoa.

Separately, the chairman of the Gerinda Party Faction of the DPRD-Bali, Gde Ketut Nugrahita Pendit, commented that Bali is internationally known for its esteemed culture.  It is therefore important, he added, that Bali preserve its customs and culture through activities that will require substantial funding. “If culture is not safeguarded, Bali’s charm will be eventually lost,” said Pendit.

Pendit also argued that the 10% Hotel and Restaurant Tax (PHR) that is now managed by the Regencies of Bali be returned to the control of the Provincial Government. This change, he said, would be in harmony with Bali’s new governor’s philosophy of “one island, one management.”

Earlier, the head of Bali’s Provincial Revenue Authority, I Made Santha, said tourism represents a tax revenue opportunity (for the Province) beyond the money derived from vehicle registration taxes. Santha said a number of countries, including Malaysia, have implemented “tourist taxes” such as the “Heritage Protection and Insurance” scheme proposed for Bali 5 years ago. Continuing, Santha said: “The essence of that scheme was a way to charge an additional fee for tourists visiting Bali. Whether that is in the form of a tax or a fee can be discussed given that all the funds will be used to safeguard Bali tourism on a sustainable basis.”

Santha projected that proposed $10 tourism tax could could provide a Rp. 700 billion annual revenue stream for the Province. Adding: “And that’s counting only foreign tourists, and doesn’t include (a tax) for domestic tourists."

The proposal of a special tourism tax in Bali currently remains in the very early days of discussion

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