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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:
Click Image to Enlarge

(3/8/2008)

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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