Global airline group IATA objects to planned Bali tourist tax

Baku, February 21, AZERTAC

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has expressed its objection to a plan of the Bali administration to impose a levy on foreign tourists that may be included in airline tickets, according to the Jakarta Post.

The group, which represents more than 290 airlines accounting for 82 percent of total global air traffic, has sent a three-page letter to Bali Governor I Wayan Koster regarding the plan.

“The imposition of a foreign tourist levy [or similar tax] would directly contradict accepted policies on taxation published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations,” IATA regional vice president for Asia Pacific Conrad Clifford wrote on Jan. 24. A copy of the letter was made available to The Jakarta Post.

Clifford stated in the letter that Indonesia, as a signatory nation to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) and an ICAO contracting state, was obliged to adhere to Article 15 of the convention, which stipulates that “no fees, dues or other charges shall be imposed by any contracting state in respect solely of the right of transit over or entry into or exit from its territory.”

According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), more than 6 million tourists arrived in Bali in 2018, increasing from 5.7 million in the previous year. Around 22.43 percent of foreign tourists last year came from China, while 19.26 percent visited from Australia. Others came from India (5.8 percent), the United Kingdom (4.7 percent) and Japan (4.3 percent).

The Bali Council member leading the special team on drafting the levy bylaw, I Ketut Suwandhi, said the team would meet IATA representatives to discuss the plan.

“We will have a meeting with IATA to discuss it. We will try to find the best solution,” said the Golkar Party politician.

Other countries are also known to impose taxes on travelers. Japan has started to collect a departure tax of 1,000 yen ($9.10), known as the Sayonara Tax, from people leaving the country by plane or ship. Unlike the levy planned by the Bali administration, however, the Japanese levy applies to both domestic and foreign travelers.

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