Traveling to Bali? Prepare to pay a new tourist fee from today

Bali is introducing a new tourist tax starting February 14.

Traveling to Bali? Prepare to pay a new tourist fee from today
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Authorities in Bali have introduced a new tourist fee starting today, making it the only province in Indonesia to impose such a tax. If you're heading to Bali, you will need to pay the fee before arrival, and it will be required each time you leave and re-enter the province.

The idea of a tourism tax ranging from US$30 to US$100 per foreign visitor was first proposed last April after a similar proposal in 2019 failed to gain public support. But the price was deemed too steep and officials have since revised it to a more modest fee of 150,000 Indonesian rupiah per visitor, roughly equivalent to US$10, €9 or AU$15.

According to the island’s former governor, Wayan Koster, who instituted the fee while in office, the revenue from this tax will fund initiatives to preserve Bali's environment and cultural heritage. These efforts are particularly crucial in light of the island's ongoing battle against plastic waste pollution on its beaches and in surrounding waters – an issue that has escalated with the rise in tourist numbers.

Young woman with a backpack traveling in Bali, Indonesia.
Visitors can pay the tax online or when they arrive at the airport © Getty Images/iStockphoto

How can tourists pay?

You can pay the fee on the Love Bali website, the official government tourism portal, by submitting your name, passport number, email address and arrival date.  A voucher will be emailed to you which can be scanned at designated checkpoints upon arrival. Additionally, you can make payments in rupiah or by card at one of the five designated payment counters at Bali's I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport and other entry points.

Tourists relaxing and sitting on colorful bean bags, under the umbrellas, and enjoying the sunset at the beach.
There's been an uptick in negative tourist behavior in Bali in recent years ©  Getty Images

Tourists behaving badly

The decision to implement a tourist fee also comes at a time when Bali is grappling with the consequences of its popularity as a tourist destination. With its lively coastal resorts, terraced rice paddies and tiered Hindu temples, Indonesia’s paradise island has grown over the last decade into one of the most visited destinations on Earth.

The island of 4.3 million people saw 6.3 million visitors in 2019, the year before the pandemic – up from just 2.2 million a decade prior. The meteoric rise led to increased congestion, worrisome traffic violations and an unsustainable accumulation of garbage, all putting stress on the local population. It's also led to a series of incidents involving disrespectful behavior by tourists, highlighting an uptick in foreigners completely disregarding Balinese rules and customs.

In March last year, a Russian citizen was deported for a photo (widely circulated on social media) showing him pantless at a sacred Hindu site, the latest in a string of such events. Another tourist was captured that same month screaming and lunging at religious security officers directing him away from a street closed due to a Hindu purification ritual. A group of visitors even filed an official complaint about roosters crowing at dawn – and disrupting their sleep at a nearby homestay – which sparked anger among local residents, who raise chickens for food.

In addition to the culturally insensitive actions that have gone viral on social media, other visitors have been caught for traffic violations or unlawfully seeking employment under a tourist visa. All told, Bali deported 289 foreigners in 2023, compared to just 188 in the previous year.

A shirtless man rides a scooter without a helmet in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
Reforms under consideration include banning foreigners from renting motorbikes altogether © Agunng Parameswara / Getty Images

The incidents have underscored the need for more stringent tourism regulations. In response, Bali has banned single-use plastics and initiated campaigns urging tourists to adhere to local norms. Last year, the Bali Tourism Board launched an ad campaign pleading for more respectful behavior. Among its requests: stop posting “vulgar pictures” to social media, wear a helmet when using motorbikes and practice more cultural sensitivity – including confining beachwear to the beach. The ad notes offenders could face large fines and even deportation. 

Proposed visitor cap 

Furthermore, the introduction of the tourist tax is part of a broader strategy to manage tourism sustainably. Discussions about setting a visitor cap are underway (and have been for almost a year), aiming to balance the island's popularity with its capacity and preserve its cultural integrity. By creating a quota system, Bali hopes to pivot to a quality-over-quantity approach to tourism, encouraging a smaller number of foreign visitors to stay for longer periods of time, and making the industry more sustainable all around. Officials are currently crunching the numbers to define their targets, with a goal of keeping the number of international visitors in line with the island’s capacity. 

While the idea of quotas stirred concerns within the tourism industry when the scheme was proposed, Wayan Koster offered reassurance that Bali will continue to welcome millions of international visitors even with the tax in place.

This is one of many big ideas to tackle the effects of mass tourism, and only few have become concrete. Nevertheless it highlights the nation’s growing concern with the current situation, and the abiding need for visitors to practice more respect when traveling abroad.

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