Bali officials propose tax on tourists to help preserve environment, culture

Travelers planning to visit Bali in the near future might want to pack an extra few bucks into their swimsuits.

The Indonesian island’s government officials have drafted a bylaw that would impose a $10 tax on foreign tourists, with the money going toward preservation efforts, both cultural and environmental.

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“Tourists will understand [the regulation]. They will be happy to pay it as it will be used to strengthen our environment and culture,” Bali Governor Wayan Koster said at a legislative council meeting, per the Jakarta Post.

The outlet also linked the new tax to reports of booming tourism, as an estimated 6 million foreigners visited the island in 2018.

The news comes shortly after Bali banned plastic drinking straws and single-use plastics in Dec. 2018, per the Straits Times, and less than a year after officials declared the island’s growing trash problem as a “garbage emergency,” according to Reuters.

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In mid-2018, some of the island’s most popular tourist beaches were trashed to the point that they necessitated to be cleaned twice per day, provoking action from Bali officials hoping to stem the problem, Reuters reported.

“Tourists come to enjoy our environment and culture. Why not contribute to preserving it?” said I Nyoman Adi Wiryatama at the Bali legislative council meeting.

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Officials say the tax would only target visiting from foreign countries, and not Indonesian restaurants. An idea was also proposed to impose the tax within the cost of airfare to the island, although those plans are not definite.