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A decision made by Karangasem District and a newly formed Padangbai management board to establish a charge of Rp 100k for all tourists heading to the Gili Trawangan has been met with resistance. (No mention of the other Gili Islands in the article. Ed)

On Wednesday, around 25 representatives from fast boat companies, merchants, and dock workers conveyed their concerns to Karangasem’s House of Representatives.

They protested the plan to collect a tariff of IDR 100k for every tourist heading to Gili Trawangan from Padang Bay. The representatives were forced to take their protest directly to the House because their previous complaints seemed to be ignored by the newly-formed body. “Padangbai is different from Besakih or even Ujung [port],” said Kadek Aris Suyasa, coordinator of the movement. “Tourists only go to Padangbai to cross to Gili Trawangan. If the new 100 thousand charge is applied, I am afraid the tourists—as well as the fast boat service owners—will go elsewhere.”

Interestingly, according to Bali Post, Suyasa is actually part of the team of the new Padangbai operational management body. “We agree to the formation of the management body but we cannot accept the decision to impose the tariff,” he clarified. “People can go to Gili Trawangan from Pesinggahan, Sanur or Serangan. If the fast boat services decide to relocate their business, the residents of Padangbai will be out of a job.”

Prior to calculating the amount of the tariff, the local government should learn from the case in Menjangan Island: due to the entry ticket’s increase to IDR300k, the owners of local diving shops boycotted the diving spot. “Even if there has to be a tariff, the government should first build proper facilities in the area. We can hardly get clean water in Padangbai.”

Made Wijaya, a representative from a fast boat rental company, was also perplexed by the proposal, more so because the legality of the rule is managed on the district level. “Yes the people who are using the service will be paying the tariff but we will take the blame should something go wrong,” Wijaya said. “They already paid for the ticket but then they also have to pay the tariff.”

Another point of contention is the collection of another kind of tariff, this time applicable to owners of cafes, restaurants, accommodations, and food stalls (warungs) located at Padangbai, that will be charged between IDR30k to 300k. “I realize that these charges are still at the planning stage and will be collected by the management body. But if they do implement them there will be side effects,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Karangasem administration reasoned that the tariff collection is necessary to increase security in the harbor area, plus they deemed that the flow of money that is coming from boat trips to Gili Trawangan hasn’t seen any benefit to the district. So far there is only a collection of IDR10k that is managed by Padangbai Village.