The new initiative is being introduced as part of an island-wide mission to change the face of tourism in the province positively.
The tourism tax is being introduced alongside the deployment of a specialist tourism civil service police unit that will be on patrol at the island’s top resorts and attractions.
With all these new initiatives now in place, the Acting Governor is hopeful that the tide will turn on the elements of Bali’s public image that had turned sour.
Acting Governor Jaya told reporters, “As we all know, tourism has become a global industry, and competition in the global tourism industry is increasingly competitive. The natural beauty and uniqueness of Balinese culture is an added value that gives Bali tourism a competitive [edge] in the global tourism industry.”
“However, natural beauty and cultural uniqueness are not enough to face competition since the global tourism industry is increasingly competitive.”
With this increasingly competitive industry being a mainstay for the provincial economy, the Acting Governor wants to see peace and order prevail across the island.
This is why he and his teams have backed the tourism tax initiative and the creation of the civil service police unit. In the last 12 months, there was a sharp rise in the number of tourists behaving badly on the island, which was matched by growing frustration and, in some cases, hostility by local communities.
Stories of tourists behaving badly on the island, rising prices, and big policy changes affecting visas have all led to Bali lovers seeking vacation experiences elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The Governor wants to ensure that this doesn’t develop into a long-term problem.
He explained, “We want to change the paradigm and pattern of handling social problems related to tourism in Bali, namely prioritizing preemptive efforts by handling them upstream.”
The Acting Governor, whose time in office will be coming to a close in just a matter of weeks, wants to see the handling of social issues changed, especially those related to tourism.
In practice, this will look like the authorities being more available, accountable, and responsive to issues of disturbance by tourists or of tourism stakeholders acting out against tourists.
Nevertheless, the Acting Governor confirmed that the funds generated by the tourism levy will still be used to fund the preservation of Balinese culture.
He explained, “The existence of levies for foreign tourists to Bali will certainly increase the Regional Government’s funding sources, which are needed to better protect/preserve Bali’s nature and culture.”
He noted that in the future, more Bali Tourism Police units will be trained and deployed around the island to ensure order and peace prevail. Officers will be dressed more informally, have attended English proficiency classes and have been trained to provide tour guide-esqeue information to tourists, as well as security services.
This approachability, supported by the presence of specially trained Kintamani dogs, is set to go a long way in building trust between tourists and the Bali authorities and strengthen the relationship between tourism stakeholders and the authorities.
The Acting Governor said, “In the future, it is hoped that all districts/cities in Bali will have a Special Tourism Civil Service Police Unit. As we can see, the Special Tourism Civil Service Police Unit’s uniforms are designed to be casual so that there is more emotional closeness with tourists.”