As you may have seen reported a few months ago, the popular Indonesian island of Bali announced that it will be introducing a tourism tax from 2024, to support environmental, cultural and infrastructure projects on the island, which sees over five million visitors annually.
The head of the Bali Tourism Board has now confirmed that the fee will start being collected from 14th February 2024, and will apply to all those entering the island, except Indonesian nationals.
That will include Singapore citizens and most of our Singapore-resident and international readers, so brace yourself for a little more cost and complexity on those Bali trips, come early next year.
Here’s what we know so far.
Bali tourism tax
From 14th February 2024, all non-Indonesian nationals arriving in Bali will have to pay a tourism tax of IDR 150,000 (~S$13) on arrival.
Children are not exempt, so a typical family of four is looking at around S$52 in additional expenses on a Bali trip, once the tax takes effect.
The payment will be processed by Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) and can be made in Indonesian Rupiah or by credit card at one of five designated payment counters at Bali Airport international arrivals hall.
You will have to make the payment for each member of your travelling party, including children, prior to proceeding to the immigration counter for clearance.
The payment process is promised to take just 23 seconds per passenger, once you’ve reached the front of the queue that is!
Emirates is now flying its high-density 615-seat Airbus A380 to Bali every day, and it’s fair to say nearly all the passengers on board are likely to need to pay the tourism tax, since only Indonesians are exempt.
Even if the average processing time is 23 seconds per passenger, in this case it would take 47 minutes for five counters to process all of them.
If your flight arrives just behind this one at 4.30pm each day, you could be in for a long wait!
It is suggested that the Bali tourism tax will be able to be paid online in advance via the Love Bali online portal in due course, but it’s unclear whether this functionality will be available by mid-February 2024, when it first takes effect.
Our recent experiences of arriving in Bali have been relatively short immigration queue times of only around 10-15 minutes at most, so it would be a shame if much longer waits became the norm as a result of this new mandatory tax payment collection.
It’s unfortunate the tax cannot be added to all air tickets on international flights arriving in Bali, though in this case there would be no easy way to exempt Indonesian nationals from being charged too.
Domestic arrivals are also charged
If you arrive in Bali on a domestic flight or boat as a non-Indonesian national, there will be no avoiding the new tourism tax, with payment counters also installed at the airport’s domestic arrivals terminal, and Benoa harbour.
It’s unclear at this stage how this will be enforced, since there are no immigration checks at the domestic border.
Many tourists still need a VoA too
Those not holding ASEAN nationality, such as Australian, US and UK citizens, will also have to obtain a Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) when entering Indonesia on an international flight, obtained at a separate counter at a cost of IDR 500,000 (~S$44), though this can be done online in advance, skipping at least one of the arrival queues.
Remember, Singaporeans and other ASEAN nationals don’t need a VoA (but will need to pay the tourism tax).
As if all this complexity wasn’t enough, if you are arriving by air at Bali on an international flight, you should also complete the e-customs declaration before departure and obtain a QR code to show on arrival.
From 14th February 2024, tourists arriving on the popular holiday island of Bali, including Singapore citizens, will be obliged to pay an IDR 150,000 (~S$13) tax on arrival at the airport. This will also include any children travelling in your party.
The provincial tax is being raised to help counter the effects of tourism on the island, including new environmental and infrastructure projects.
Let’s hope advance online pre-payment of the tourism tax can be rolled out by the implementation date, since the idea of only five payment counters handling almost all the arrivals from a couple of wide-body flights touching down at the same time sounds like a recipe for long queues in the immigration hall.
That’s certainly not the place you want to be spending any longer than necessary on your Bali trip!
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)