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Trying to Stay on the Right Side of the Law

Province of Struggling to Find a Legal Pathway to Charge US$10 Heritage Fee

In its continuing efforts to be allowed to collect US$10 from every arriving foreign tourist the Provincial Government of Bali now claims it has five letters of support from five ministries: The Ministry of Transportation, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, the Minister of Tourism, The Ministry of Finance and the Department of the Interior.

Balipost.com says the five ministries were invited by the Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, to a meeting on Friday, January 26, 2019. The head of the Provincial Revenue Office in Bali, I Made Santha, said three days later on January 29, 2018, that he saw that almost every ministry invited to attend agreed with the “extraordinary idea” to levy a US$10 fee to fund the sustainability of Bali tourism.

The problem that remains is to find a legal solution that will permit the collection of the proposed US$10 fee that will be used to halt the continuing degradation of Bali’s natural environment. The money from the fee, argued Santha, is needed to supplement a relatively scant Rp. 3.5 trillion collected each year from road taxes.

While the province would like to collect the US$10 fee via the airline ticket price, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) wrote to Governor Koster on January 34, 2019 objecting to including the fee in airlines passenger ticket price. That letter, signed by the Regional Vice-President for the Asia-Pacific for IATA, Conrad Clifford, said Bali’s plans to impose the US$10 fee via airline tickets was opposed to the taxation policies published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that operates under the auspices of the United Nations.

Indonesia is also a signee of the Chicago Convention that specifies that those embracing the convention shall not levy payments, subscriptions or any other fee on passengers, aircraft, or cargo linked to the right to transit, enter or leave in any areas party to the Chicago Convention.

The IATA official said that international passengers leaving Bali already pay an aviation service fee equal to Rp. 225,000, IATA also warned that the proposed US$10 fee could result in a possible downturn of 190,000 foreign passengers each year.

In the same letter, the IATA official said he would welcome the opportunity to meet with the Governor or his representatives to discuss the proposed fee.

Meanwhile, a mad scramble continues to find some legal basis for the proposed collection of the US$10 fee sought by the governor for cultural preservation in Bali.

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