Many people are shocked and confused with the plan of provincial government to impose a donation worth USD 10 to foreign travelers when they arrive at Ngurah Rai Airport. According to the plan, the funds collected will be used for protection of cultural heritage. In details, 5 dollars are for protection of cultural heritage and the remaining five dollars are for travelers’ insurance.
To be frankly, behind the shock and confusion, there are still a behavior and positive thoughts that the government may have a good and noble intentions namely protecting and preserving the cultural heritage of Bali. However, why must it be done in such a way? Sorry, if this action can be realized in 2014, according to government plan, it is just like a thug style. It is committing coercion under the guise of donation as well as for the interest of preservation and protection.
Terminologically, it has been confusing. By looking up any dictionaries, donation is voluntary. The amount to be paid is not specified. Moreover, this provision will then be legally supported by the Gubernatorial Regulation or Regional Bylaw. Really, it is not very appropriate and can become a counterproductive measure for tourism stakeholders in Bali and Balinese community.
Amid fierce competition at this time, by all means the measure of this collection is really questionable, not to mention the use, supervision and so on. Amid the a priori climate of the community due to the incompetent government attitude in financial governance and mistrust factor, it is certainly very reasonable. If we are said to need funds, is the fund obtained from the Hotel and Restaurant Tax (PHR) not enough? Otherwise, why and how is the reporting on the use of these funds? Remember, the fund is large and very large if there are no leakages and conspiracy efforts between the unscrupulous officials and rogue businessmen. So, it no longer needs to invoke to travelers.
A participant of the discussion on this problem we organized, I Gusti Kompyang Pujawan, a former Chairman of the Indonesian Tour Guides Association (HPI) of Bali Chapter who had deeply involved in tourism industry for more than 30 years, responded to emotionally enough that Balinese people were not like beggars, namely looking for something without working hard. Without hard and serious efforts, such funds would easily vanish as it was easily obtained. It could happen due to misusing and being prone to corruption.