Faced with a wave of disruptive foreign visitors, Bali will start imposing a tourist tax. As Time reports, the return of tourism post-COVID has brought with it an increase in unruly foreigners, forcing locals to find ways to try and stem the tide of bad behavior.
On Wednesday, Balinese provincial governor Wayan Koster told local lawmakers that all international tourists will be charged a $10 tourist tax, starting next year. The money is to be used to preserve the province’s culture and environment.
Though it is a nominal fee that won’t likely discourage many would-be tourists, the fee itself is an indicator of the issues Bali has been facing. According to Bloomberg, the Balinese government has deported at least 136 foreigners as of June 9.
In addition to more serious crimes, such as an American who defaced a police car, for some reason there also seems to be an inordinate amount of stories of foreigners stripping nude in public. There was German at a temple, a Russian at a holy site, and a Canadian on a mountain. And that’s all before we get to the recent lineup violence and drunk surfers wrecking havoc. The problem of disruptive tourists has become so bad that Koster ordered last month to attach a list of dos and don’ts onto tourist passports. One of the “dont’s” is “Engage in behavior that defiles sacred places, temples, idols, and religious symbols, such as climbing sacred structures and taking indecent or nude photos.”
Imposing a tax on Bali’s foreign visitors was first raised in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and axed tourism numbers. However, since then, tourism has rebounded, with 439,475 visitors recorded as of May. Koster hopes that the new levy will help offset the destructive effect of a renewed tourism wave. “We will use it for the environment, culture and we will build better quality infrastructure,” he told AFP, “so traveling to Bali will be more comfortable and safe.”