Bali’s new tourist tax: Will it save paradise or sow chaos?

Photo courtesy of Never Ending Footsteps

In the latest move to combat over-tourism and preserve its landscapes, Bali introduced a controversial levy for international visitors.

Since Valentine’s Day this year, tourists entering Bali have been greeted not only by the island’s breathtaking scenery but also by a new fee of 150,000 rupiah (approximately 340 baht) per person. This move aims to safeguard Bali’s rich cultural heritage and promote sustainable tourism. But this isn’t a unique case. Destinations worldwide are following suit, with Miyajima in Japan and even Thailand considering similar measures.

Miyajima, famed for its UNESCO World Heritage site, introduced a visitor tax last October, while Thailand’s plans were put on hold, citing funding shifts. Meanwhile, other Asian hotspots like Jeju and Taketomi are contemplating their fees to manage waste and protect their natural treasures.

But do these fees make a difference? According to officials in Miyajima, the tax hasn’t curbed overcrowding, but it’s generating a hefty revenue, earmarked for vital infrastructure and cultural projects. Yet, challenges remain, with calls for transparency and improved payment systems echoing across the industry.

Related news

Experts argue that while such measures are crucial for sustainable tourism, education is key. Destinations must inform travellers about responsible behaviour and promote off-peak visits to ensure a steady flow of income throughout the year, reported TTG Asia.

However, the responsibility isn’t solely on tourists, industry players must also align their practices with sustainable goals, prioritising community well-being over profit.

In related news, in a bold move to protect Kyoto’s iconic geisha from relentless harassment by tourists, the local council in Gion decided to ban sightseers from the district’s narrow backstreets. The decision comes after a surge in appalling incidents where traditional entertainers found themselves accosted and disrespected by unruly visitors.

In other news, migrant workers, who have illegally entered Thailand by taking advantage of visa-free privileges, continue to pose a challenge in the country’s tourism sector, particularly within the sex industry. This issue has led to calls from operators for the government to legalise sex work.

Thailand NewsTourism News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

Related Articles