Global airline body objects to Bali's plan to tax foreign tourists

DENPASAR • The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has said that it objects to a plan by the Bali authorities to impose a levy on foreign tourists that might be included in airline tickets.

The group, which represents more than 290 airlines accounting for 82 per cent 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 Organisation (Icao), a specialised 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.

Mr 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".

The Bali administration has drafted a by-law on tourist contributions for the environment and cultural preservation, which has been discussed with the Bali Legislative Council since December.

The island province, which is struggling to reduce plastic waste on and off its shores, produces some 3,800 tonnes of waste every day, only 60 per cent of which end up in landfills.

The council and the administration are considering whether the levy should be included in airfares or collected at special counters at the airport. The first option is seen as more feasible with airlines' help.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2019, with the headline 'Global airline body objects to Bali's plan to tax foreign tourists'. Print Edition | Subscribe