Ni Komang Erviani, Denpasar – The Bali administration has set a target of collecting Rp 31.5 billion (US$2.07 million) in tourist donations this year. The voluntary donation is to be used for the preservation of the island's culture and environment.
Bali Tourism Agency head Tjok Bagus Pemayun told reporters on Wednesday that the tourist contributions were badly needed to preserve Bali's culture and environment. He said that Bali had no natural resources of petroleum and gas as many other provinces in Indonesia did.
Tjok Bagus said that foreign travelers visiting Bali were expected to participate by giving their donations voluntarily through We Love Bali.
"This is voluntary, it's not mandatory. It will show their concern over efforts to maintain the nature, culture and Bali's environment sustainably," Tjok Bagus said.
We Love Bali is the regional administration's program to collect donations from travelers visiting the island. The donation will be managed by the administration to fund several plans for preserving Bali's culture and its environment.
The island's administration had previously canceled a plan to impose a $10 tax on foreign tourists. The levy plan, which was announced in 2019, could not be implemented, in part due to legal reasons. The Bali administration and legislative council decided to change it to a voluntary donation.
Tjok Bagus said the barcode for the We Love Bali app was now displayed in many hotels, transportation facilities, tourist attractions, restaurants and many other public areas across Bali.
"Travelers who are willing to contribute can scan the barcode of We Love Bali, and transfer their donation directly," Tjok Bagus said.
The administration expects to get at least Rp 31.5 billion in donations this year. "We assume that at least 5 percent of the total 4.5 million tourists visiting Bali this year will donate. This is just an assumption. We will evaluate it in the near future," Tjok Bagus explained.
Tjok Bali stressed that the policy would not burden the tourist industry as it would only play a role in introducing the program to tourists. The Bali Tourism Agency has held meetings with tourist stakeholders so they take an active role in promoting the program.
I Gusti Agung Rai Suryawijaya, chair of the Bali working group for accelerating tourist contributions, said that the We Love Bali tourist contribution was warmly welcomed by most tourists he talked to.
"Tourists are enthusiastic to help us, as long as their contribution is used properly and transparently," said Suryawijaya who is also chair of the Badung regency chapter of Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI Badung).
Chairman of the Indonesia Hotel Manager Association (IHGMA) Bali chapter, Yoga Iswara said he supported the program, agreeing that it was needed to maintain Balinese culture and nature.
"It is not only the duty of Bali's people and government, but all people including tourists," he said.
Yoga said that there were many things that needed attention, such as water resources and waste management. "I invite tourists to give their positive contribution to Bali," he said. (dre)