Bali Governor Wayan Koster has called out the tourism sector on the island for an overall vibe of arrogance in the wake of the pandemic.
According to the Governor, the tourism sector must make more effort to work collaboratively with each other and the provincial government in order to make sure the island remains a popular destination.
Speaking from the Trans Resort Bali in the popular resort of Kuta, Governor Koster blasted the tourism sector for what he perceives as arrogance after the amount of support given by the provincial government during the pandemic.
While talking about the future of tourism on the island, Governor Koster said the sector must crack this ‘bad habit’ in order for everyone to work together in harmony for the good of tourists.
He explained, “Usually, tourism actors are rather arrogant when it’s difficult to make a fuss. When [the sector] is alive, they forget the government. When we handled the pandemic, they were nosy, but once we recovered because we managed the pandemic well, they never remembered the government.”
The Governor revealed that he is in communication with key business leaders in the tourism sector to create a new environment for collaboration.
He explained the goal is not only for the tourism sector in Bali to survive but to thrive for the good of tourists and residents on the island.
Governor Koster added, “Everything needs each other; we can’t blame each other; we have to work together.”
@thestylishgirlandrea We have visited Bali in January 2023, and these are our favorite places. #bali #travelbucketlist #beachclub #uluwatu #ubud #canggu ♬ original sound – Andreatravels
Governor Koster did not cite specific examples of arrogance by any particular tourism operators, rather alluded to the idea that tourism businesses and operators complain about or critique (publicly and privately) the decisions made by the provincial government in recent months.
Some of the controversial policies proposed by the Governor in the last few months include banning all activities on all of Bali’s mountains, proposing tourism quotas, increasing the visa-on-arrival fee, implementing a tourism tax, and banning tourists from hiring vehicles.
Many of the recently proposed policy changes have triggered a backlash online, and it only takes a quick scan of the comments section on social media accounts for Bali lovers to see that many people are looking to vacation in other destinations like Thailand. These comments are understandably concerning for tourism operators.
@itsmarianavelez Save it for later 🙂 #fyp #foryoupage #travelbali #baliplacestovisit #balithingstodo #balitips ♬ son original – justanunknownstar
Aside from cracking down on badly behaved tourists in Bali, part of the reasoning behind the growing number of proposed policy changes from Governor Koster is due to a tax deficit.
In recent weeks he has been vocal about the need to ensure all tourism-related tax revenue is rounded up and quickly.
The Governor has reiterated that tourists may only stay at accommodation that is operating legally; this includes having the correct licensing permits and paying the relevant hotel and restaurant levies.
Data shared by the Restaurant and Hotel Association of Bali (PHRI) this year showed that as many as 30% of all accommodations in Bali are not legally registered businesses nor are registered with the PHRI.
This has led to a sizable tax deficit according to the provincial government, something that Governor Koster has set about rectifying.
It also poses an immigration issue; technically speaking, any tourist on vacation in Bali or anywhere in Indonesia should be staying in a legally operating place of accommodation so that immigration can keep a tab of where everyone is.
This is the case in many countries around the world.
Tax revenue is also one of the reasons Governor Koster gave for banning all activities in Bali’s mountains.
He noted that the income generated by the provincial government from tourism activities on Mount Batur and Mount Agung does not justify the potential spiritual and ecological damage caused if activities are allowed to continue.