Bangli Puts Tourist Charge Up By 200%
Bangli regency had slapped a more than 200-percent increase on its tourism contribution fee charged to visitors to the area’s tourist attractions, which include Kintamani and Lake Batur. The charge has gone up — unannounced — from Rp3,300 (36 US cents) to Rp10,000 ($1.10) per visitor.
Some local tourism industry members have complained both about the size of the increase and the fact that no one in the regency government had told them it was to be imposed. They fear it may lead some operators and tourists to boycott Bangli in favour of other mountain areas, such as Bedugul.
The chairman of the Bangli branch of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), I Ketut Putra Nata, said the desire of Bangli authorities to increase local tax revenues was understandable and to be welcomed, but he said any increases should always come after public announcements and public and industry education about them.
“Socialisation is extremely important because it involves the cost calculations used by travel agents (in calculating tour prices). What’s happened in Bangli is a sudden increase in the tariff with no socialisation,” he said.
Even as head of the organisation that represented for hotels and restaurants in Bangli, he had had no prior warning of the increase and only became aware of it after hearing complaints from tourist guides visiting Kintamani who suddenly found themselves required pay Rp10,000 for each guest entering the roads surrounding the Mt Batur volcano.
Nata said Bangli’s tourism attractions were unique and could not be compared with other locations in Bali. He said it was also true that the level of security and comfort provided to tourist visitors to Bangli was not high enough.
But unannounced rises in access charges were unacceptable. “Maybe if the local government decides to increase tourism retribution fees, they need to first improve tourism facilities and socialise their decision. If the threat (of a boycott) is carried out by the travel agents, the tourism industry of Bangli will be the first to feel the effects.”Filed under: Headlines