Bali, Indonesia is the latest leisure destination to reveal plans to slug tourists with a 'Medical Tax'. Made Mangku Pastika, Governor, Bali, is believed to be examining ways to provide insurance coverage for international tourists in order to provide care when tourists fall sick, are injured or die, as per a report in travelmole.com.
Last week, Thailand announced that it is working on a Tourist Tax specifically to help pay for medical expenses incurred by international visitors. That decision drew numerous complaints from the tourism sector in Thailand, which accused the government of introducing a tax that would drive tourists away.
Bali Update (www.balidiscovery.com), quotes state news agency Antara, which reports that Pastika "is targeting for the regulation's completion by the end of this year". He said that for insurance coverage to be extended, a fee would have to be paid by every visitor passing through a Bali air or seaport. From this fee, a premium would be paid to provide both insurance coverage and separate funds for the "protections of Bali's culture and environment".
"In other words, not all the money paid will go to the government. Some will be used to assist those involved in accidents, fall sick or die while in Bali. When people die, we are sometimes confused on how to return the remains of the dead," explained Pastika.
The Governor said that while many foreign tourists already had insurance, "that coverage is in their country of origin and it is not clear who will organise their affairs while in Bali".
Pastika said that officials in Bali are often faced with difficult problems in dealing with sick, injured or dead tourists. "By insuring foreign visitors, the benefits can be used to look after such tourists," he added.
Indonesia currently charges international visitors a USD 25 visa on arrival, and a Departure Tax of around USD 14.