Trade backs levy move for Bali’s Nusa Penida to improve infrastructure

Broken beach at Nusa Penida

Bali’s popular tourist islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan have introduced a levy on foreign visitors, a move that the local Klungkung Regency administration would provide the much-needed funds to improve infrastructure.

The new regulation, which took effect since July 1, mandates that foreign tourists have to pay a fee of Rp25,000 (US$1.80) per person for adults, and Rp15,000 for toddlers to enter the island. The levy is collected upon the foreign tourists’ arrival and is valid for all three islands.

Tourists now have to pay a fee to enter any of the three Nusas off Bali’s coast; pictured: broken beach, a popular attraction on Nusa Penida

Klungkung Tourist Agency’s head I Nengah Sukasta has assured tourism stakeholders that the funds will go towards improving the facilities and infrastructure on the islands, such as the repairing of damaged roads, paving new ones, and the addition of more toilet and bathroom facilities.

Such efforts were previously nought as the local administration “had no funds”. With around 2,000 daily tourists to Nusa Penida, the Klungkung administration now expects to collect at least Rp50 million a day from the levies.

Bambang Sugiono, director of marketing and overseas promotions of RD Tours, Bali, agrees with the new policy, but hopes that improvements to infrastructure to all three islands can be implemented quickly.

“For example, roads to reach Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong are (in disrepair). The condition worsens if it rains,” Bambang pointed out. He also urges the local government to add more toilets and bathrooms, as tourists currently experience lengthy wait time just to use the sole washroom in Crystal Bay, for instance.

Like Agung, I Ketut Ardana, the head of Bali chapter of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), wants infrastructure on Nusa Penida to be upgraded – roads, for instance, need to widened, he suggested. More counter and officers should be added, in order to speed up the levy payment at entry points.

Furthermore, he stressed that the local government also has to produce tangible results from the levy collection. On its end, ASITA will be meeting with Klungkung Regent I Nyoman Suwirta to discuss how they could help in bettering Nusa Penida’s tourist infrastructure.

Based on feedback from ASITA members so far, Ketut said that few visitors have complained about the newly imposed levy. But he believes the low levy fee is unlikely to deter foreign tourists from visiting Nusa Penida, which remains “very crowded”.

Far from deterring tourists from visiting these islands, Klungkung Tourist Agency’ Nengah is optimistic that the better infrastructure would attract more visitors in the future. His target is to increase the number to “at last 3,000 a day”.

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