The recovery of Bali's tourism industry will always be hindered by those seeking to exploit travel restrictions, the province's governor said, as authorities promise to get tough on what they describe as quarantine and visa "mafia."
Governor Wayan Koster told reporters today that he has notified Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno about travel agents and operators marking up fees for mandatory quarantine and visa applications, while pocketing the difference.
Koster cited one example in which an unnamed hotel slapped additional charges on top of the approved prices quarantine packages at designated hotels in Bali.
"They charge guests [an additional] IDR500K (US$34.90) per room per day. They say it's for quarantine surcharges," Koster said.
"[Tourists] come all the way to Bali to have fun but are met with such a bitter reality. This damages the reputation of Bali's tourism."
The governor also lamented travel agents who charge much higher than the official fees for visa applications with the promise of expediting the process.
"They say that to smooth the [visa application] process the tourist has to pay IDR3.5 million. If they want an express package, they have to pay IDR4.2 million. If they want a super express package, they have to pay IDR5.5 million. This makes things difficult for tourists who want to come to Bali," Koster said.
Through the official Immigration channel, the basic cost of a single entry visit visa to Indonesia is US$50. Indonesia has yet to reinstate visa on arrival or visa-free waivers since the programs were suspended at the beginning of the pandemic.
The provincial government says it has a list of quarantine and visa exploiters, which it has forwarded to the authorities for further investigation.
Under current regulations, travelers who have received two COVID-19 vaccine doses are required to undergo five days of quarantine at a designated hotel upon arrival in Indonesia.