Bali Discovery Tours: Homepage
Bali Hotels, Bali Villas and Bali News from
Home Bali Contact Bali Practicalities Bali News Bali Services Bali Transportation Bali Sports Bali Excursions Bali Villas Bali Hotels
Home · News · Weapons of Self-Destruction
Bali Hotels, Bali Villas and Bali News from
Bali Hotels
Bali Villas
Special Deals!
MICE Handling
Bali Excursions
Culinary - Dining
Guided Tour
Bali Spas
Bali Sports
Bali Transportation
Car Rental - Selft Drive
Private Jet Charter
Bali News
Bali Services
Bali Practicalities
Bali Contact
Bali Career
Bali Update
Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter!
PATA header
PATA Gold Award 2007
Bali Update
PATA Gold Award Winner 2007
Bali Contact
Bali Discovery Tours
Komplek Pertokoan
Sanur Raya No. 27
Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai,
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

++62 361 286 283

++62 361 286 284

U.S.A. Fax:(toll free)

U.K. Fax:

Australian Fax:

++62 812 3819724

Bali Discovery

Bali News

Weapons of Self-Destruction

Editorial : As if the Current World Financial Situation Were Not Bad Enough, Indonesia’s Leaders Take Steps that will Make Indonesia Tourism Suffers More and Longer

Bali News:
Click Image to Enlarge


In the midst of a world economic crisis of indeterminable duration, Indonesia has recently introduced policy shifts likely to inflict added pain on the national tourism sector and hobble the industry that was once second only to the natural resource in generating much needed foreign exchange.

Recent moves by the government to close a large, well-organized and, generally assumed, well-connected black market operation have made finding wine and liquor difficult, if not impossible, in Bali. Complicating matters further, the government has followed this crackdown by introducing draconian duties charges on imported alcohol of nearly 350%. And, if things were not bad enough, there are also indications that wine and alcohol importers may also be required to undertake time-consuming and very costly certification of every brand and type of wine and liquor via the national agency charged with food safety regulation.

While the Indonesian government has every right to safeguard the health of its citizens and do what it can to increase tax revenues, these recent shifts in policies are incredibly wrong-minded and will ultimately prove to be in opposition to the national interests on a number of levels.

When Does Shock Therapy Become an Electrocution?

On one level, the efficacy of the current crackdown is impressive, conclusively demonstrating the government's power and resolve in cleaning up a notoriously porous and corrupt national import apparatus. Given the former pervasiveness of the system which the government has suddenly dismantled, a huge vacuum now stands in its stead with liquor shops, restaurants and hotels approaching the coming holiday season with limited or no supplies of wine and spirits.

The scale of the now defunct import system, which in its heyday facilitated as much as an estimated 75% of the nation's consumption of imported booze, shamefully bespeaks the high level of bureaucratic collusion that once controlled illegal imports and the government's long-standing failure to establish an effective import system. The current desire to set things right in one swell swoop, is only compounding that earlier failure by deepening the current financial crisis, creating widespread unemployment and even threatening the continued existence of some tourism players as the tourism sector scrambles to find drinks to place on the table of foreign visitors.

Instead of designing a step-by-step and less painful clean-up of the customs and excise procedures for imported spirits and wine, members of President Yudhoyono's United Indonesia Cabinet have chosen instead to flex their legislative and executive muscle by adopting a devil-may-care attitude towards any damaging ripple effects that their decision are having on the wider economy. These leaders, proud of the power they wield, will insist "strong medicine" is needed to address the importation of black market booze. Perhaps so, but we wonder if the dosage of that medicine won't prove ultimately fatal to millions of workers dependent on the tourism sector?

Waiting Weapon of Self-Destruction

In response to those who may claim we are over-dramatizing the problem at hand, we hope the President and his Cabinet will consider the following:

● The lack of governmental coordination in addressing the ripple effects of the new importation policies means that many hotels and restaurants in Bali and across the rest of Indonesia will book lower revenues and entertain fewer guests seeking adult beverages to celebrate the coming Christmas and New Years holiday.

● That for most of the civilized world today, the enjoyment of wine and liquor in moderate amounts is not seen as sinful or evil, but merely an essential part of an enjoyable holiday meal.

● That less champagne and cocktails toasting in the New Year also means that the 11% tax paid to feed government coffers and 10% service charge paid to service staff applied to liquor will not materialize. How this helps the government or local workers is beyond our powers of comprehension.

● Bearing in mind that, in the past, dissatisfied EU tourists have successfully sued foreign hotel and tour operators for their failure to provide a sufficient variety of jams on a breakfast buffet, we wonder if hotels in Indonesia face similar legal actions when they try to toast in the New Year with rice and coconut wine?

● The lack of coordination and the absence of any systematic thinking in decision making within the National Cabinet on this issue is also suggested by, on the one hand, the Department of Tourism's call to focus on the conference and convention sector in 2009 and the resulting contradiction inherent in Indonesia's current situation. Import duties on alcohol approaching 350% mean the conference and convention sectors' de rigueur cocktail receptions and "open bar" dinners, when enjoyed in Indonesia, will be among the most expensive anywhere in the world. While this is bad news for Indonesia's conference and exhibition operators, such toady-mindedness on Indonesia's part must have competitors in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand rubbing their hands and dancing in glee.

● The final failure and humiliation of the government's attempt to sort out the mess surrounding its alcohol import regime is the fact that duties of 350% and the continuing lack of wine and liquor supplies make it axiomatic that a black market for smuggled wine and liquor in Indonesia will soon be in operation. Lower taxes in combination with strong law enforcement have a much higher likelihood of enhancing control and raising tax revenues.

We fear that if the President Yudhoyono and his cabinet fail to urgently rethink the current situation in such a way that will maintain supply and keep Indonesian tourism competitive, our conference and convention centers will suffer a drought of both booze and visitors in 2009 and beyond.

Related Article

[See: Customs & Excise Crackdowns Across Bali]

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to


Plaga Wine
Bali News by Bali Update
Subscribe to the Bali Update
Receive the latest news from Bali by email!

Our [Privacy Statement] explains how we handle the data you are providing.

Bali News by Bali Update
Explore the Archive of the Bali Update
Find related articles in our news archive!

or try to use Google Search :

Home · Bali Hotels · Bali Villas · Bali Excursions · Bali Sports · Bali News · Site Map · RSS

Bali News: More News
Ace Trumps Hotels and Restaurants in Bali
Cok Ace’ Elected to Third Term as Chairman of Bali-PHRI
Unbeatable Seller Prices for BBTF 2016
Seller Discounts for Bali & Beyond Travel Fair 2016 for Confirmed Bookings Made Before November 30, 2016
The More the Merrier?
Denpasar Administration will Not Impose Moratorium on New Hotels
GO-JEK Doesn’t Deliver Grass
Famous Indonesian Musician Caught with Marijuana After Using Go-Jek Driver for a Drug Pick Up
When Passengers Roar at the Lion
Angry Lion Air Passengers Commandeer a Runway at Jakarta’s Airport
Indonesians Encouraged to Visit Australia
Australia Introducing Easier Visa Controls to Encourage Indonesians to Visit Australia
Striving for Safety
PHRI: Majority of Hotels Falling Short on Security and Safety Assessments
Buy My Horse, He's Hungry
Competing with Modernity, 80-year Old Dokar Driver in Bali’s Capital of Denpasar Faces Difficulty in Feeding Himself and His Horse
Banyuwangi Flights from Bali Axed
Garuda Indonesia Cancels Bali to Banyuwangi, East Java Flights
You Raise Me Up
New Minimum 2016 Wage Levels Announced for Badung Regency and Denpasar in Bali
RIMBA Takes Mexican Food to New Heights
UNIQUE Rooftops Bar & Restaurant at RIMBA Jimbaran Offers Authentic Mexican Cuisine
Ready, Aim. . . Wait!
Indonesia Put Stay on Further Executions While Economy Idles
All [News]!