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The Bali administration has said that funds collected from a tax of Rp 150,000 (US$10) per person to be levied from all foreign tourists starting next year will be used for waste management and cultural preservation programs. “We will use the revenue from the tourist tax for Bali itself, such as for waste management and cultural preservation programs,” Bali acting governor Mahendra Jaya said during a meeting with Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry secretary Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani in Denpasar on Monday. Mahendra said the two programs were chosen because tourism activities in Bali had resulted in waste piling up on the resort island. “If we can’t handle the waste well enough, it will cause a bad smell and damage the environment,” he said. He added that if the waste continues to accumulate it would inconvenience tourists visiting Bali.

Cultural preservation is another important part of Bali tourism, Mahendra said, as Balinese culture is the backbone of tourism to the island. With the improvement of waste management and cultural preservation programs because of the additional funding from the tourist tax, Bali can maintain its status as a world-class tourist destination for its environment and culture, he said. Giri Adnyani said the ministry supported Bali’s decision to impose a tourist tax and that the ministry would help implement the policy as soon as possible. “This is so that tourists will not be shocked when the tax is imposed,” Giri Adnyani said. She also expressed support for the Bali provincial administration’s plan to use the revenue from the tax for waste management and cultural preservation programs. The island’s administration had previously canceled a plan to impose a $10 tax on foreign tourists.

The initial plan, which was announced in 2019, could not be implemented, in part because of legal reasons. The Bali administration and legislative council decided to change the tax to a voluntary donation and earlier this year, the administration launched the We Love Bali program to collect donations from travelers visiting the island. The donations were to be managed by the administration to fund several plans for preserving Bali’s culture and environment. But the administration later announced that the donation program was a failure and had been revoked. At least 3.4 million foreign tourists visited Bali as of August this year, according to Bali provincial administration data, with Australians being the largest tourist group in Bali. The administration expects to welcome a total of 5.5 million foreign tourists to Bali by the end of this year.

In late May, then governor I Wayan Koster announced a set of dos and don’ts for tourists following a string of incidents in which tourists disrespected Bali’s predominantly Hindu culture. Some expectations of tourists include respect for the sanctity of temples, religious effigies and symbols, wearing appropriate clothing in public areas and polite behavior in public. The tourists are forbidden from climbing sacred trees, performing actions that desecrate sanctified places or religious symbols and from entering the main part of temples, unless they are praying.

Source: thejakartapost.com