Bali brings in tourist tax from today

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple on the western side of the Beratan Lake in Bali. Photo: Getty
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple on the western side of the Beratan Lake in Bali. Photo: Getty
New Zealanders are among the international visitors being asked to pay a new tourist tax to enter Bali, in an attempt to offset the costs of the island’s tourism influx.

From February 14 international tourists will be required to pay 150,000 rupiah ($NZ15.75) before entering the country. It’s a local initiative by the Balinese government, which says that it will be used to combat the effects of pollution and problem tourism on the Indonesian island province of four million.

Bali saw 4.8 million international tourists last year.

The tax was introduced by former governor Wayan Koster, who said it would be used to preserve cultural sites, beaches and - more controversially - fund a tourism task force used to police problem tourist behaviour.

Though first proposed as far back as 2019 with recommended costs as high as $100 per visitor, the local government finally agreed on the tax’s current form which will be payable every time a foreign tourist enters the border.

How to pay the new Bali tourist tax online

Tourists can pay the new visitor levy at their port of arrival, or online prior to travel by visiting the official government website,

New Zealand tourists will be asked to submit their passport details, contacts and arrival dates in exchange for a voucher receipt. This can be presented on arrival at border checkpoints.

For those who forget to pay the tax can, don’t worry. It can also be paid in Ripiah or card at five designated payment stations that have been set up at Bali’s Denpasar Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport. However, for efficiency, it’s recommended travellers apply online.

Tourism tax part of Bali’s ongoing tourist crackdown

The tourist tax has been introduced at the same time as the island has said it is tackling a problem with behaviour from some international tourists.

Since last year new arrivals to Denpasar airport have been issued a 21-point pamphlet on good behaviour to new tourist arrivals. Among the key issues are visitors disrespecting local Balinese culture and abusing visa terms.

Tourists might also notice more police on beaches from this week, too.

On Monday Bali Province Satpol PP said they had deployed 73 new “Bali Tourism” police officers to manage the “small minority” of badly behaved tourists at key locations.

Talking to the Bali Sun Chief of Police of Badung Regency, I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, said the new officers would be involved in “preventive and preemptive actions, socialising tourism-related rules on what can/can’t do in Bali”.

The return of tourism has been met with mixed reactions.

Prior to the pandemic, 60 percent of the island’s GDP was from international tourism.

Since the return of international travel post-pandemic, problem behaviour has also returned.

Locals have been riled by indecent acts on the island’s holy mountains and desecrating Hindu shrines.

Last May a German woman was deported for appearing naked at a temple.

Tourists using mopeds without helmets and diving recklessly have also been targeted by the crackdown.

Could visitors to Bali be capped?

As the number of annual tourists outnumbered residents for the first time since the pandemic, the idea of a tourist quota was floated by the Balinese government.

Last May it was suggested that pre-registry and tourist tax could be used to manage a quota for arrivals.

Wayne Koster told a press conference that the proposed tourist tax was part of a pivot towards fewer, higher quality tourists - saying that Bali would “no longer welcome mass tourism.”

The new tourism tax arrives the day of a general election in Indonesia, which is considered as the world’s largest democracy with 200 million eligible to vote. However the tourist tax is being overseen by the local Balinese government.