The Island of the Gods also makes headlines with the endless lines of cars and motorbikes winding through the narrow streets. And with mountains of garbage that unfortunately litter the beaches and rivers. After the great void caused by the pandemic, mass tourism has once again overwhelmed Bali. In order to better manage this in the future and to finance nature protection, the government has decided in the future a tourist tax that every foreigner will have to pay when entering the country. Now there’s also a date: it starts on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2024.
A visa and a fee in Bali
150,000 Indonesian rupiahs (around 9 euros) are due, in addition to 500,000 rupiahs (30 euros) for a 30-day visa. The tourist tax applies to everyone without exception, including children. Anyone who takes a detour to neighboring islands such as the famous Gili Islands, Lombok or Java will have to pay again on the return trip to Bali. However, this does not apply to short stays in Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.
You will have to be patient at the airport
However, many are already worried about possible long waiting times at the entrance to Ngurah Rai Airport. During rush hour, a lot of precious vacation time is wasted just to get a visa at immigration counters. Those responsible are well aware of the problem. “Given that more than 15,000 travelers can arrive at Bali Airport each day, it is important that the process happens quickly and efficiently,” said the announcement made a few days ago.
20 officials must be dispatched to collect money – also by credit card. According to the head of the local tourism authority, the process should take no more than 23 seconds per person. It is not yet clear whether it will be possible to pay online in advance in the future.
Would taxes scare away tourists?
“Some regular visitors to Bali are already considering alternative destinations like Thailand, where visas on arrival remain free,” writes Travel Weekly Asia magazine.
The name Bali still conjures up visions of lush green rice terraces, picturesque temples and magnificent beaches. Even the journey from the airport to the vacation spots takes time during rush hours. The images of completely blocked streets circulating on social media seem more off-putting than heavenly.
A tram would be planned from the airport to Seminyak
Building an underground light rail transit system could help defuse the chaos. Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan announced a few days ago that such a railway would connect the airport to tourist destinations such as Canggu and Seminyak in the future. According to plans, the system could be active as early as 2025/2026. Then it’s high time: according to estimates, the influx of vacationers will increase massively in the coming years. The tourist tax is urgently needed “to protect the glorious Balinese culture and nature,” Governor Koster stressed.