The Jakarta Post
Local and foreign travel agents have threatened to boycott Mount Bromo, East Java, by not selling tours to the popular site following an increase in admission fees of up to 300 percent.
'All domestic and foreign travel agents are refusing to sell package tours to Mt. Bromo following the rise in entrance fees. The rise in ticket prices will cause Indonesia to lose out further to Thailand in tourism,' the secretary of the East Java branch of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (Asita), Nanik Sutaningtyas, told The Jakarta Post recently.
From May, in accordance with Government Regulation No. 12/2014 on non-tax state income in the forestry sector, endorsed by President Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Feb. 14, admission to the Mt. Bromo and Mt. Semeru tourist sites will be increased to Rp 37,500 (US$3.30) for each domestic visitor from the
previous Rp 10,000, while foreign visitors will be charged Rp 267,000 per person, up from Rp 72,500.
The new ruling also introduces holiday rates, which are Rp 67,500 for domestic visitors and Rp 640,000 for foreign visitors.
Nanik said travel agents and other tourism businesses had not been consulted in the decision to raise the fees and yet they struggled to promote Mt. Bromo overseas as a tourist destination without any financial incentive from the government.
'Mt. Bromo is currently one of the 10 most popular tourist destinations [in Indonesia] among foreign visitors. We have been promoting the tourist destination in countries in Asia and Europe,' said Nanik.
She added that the average price of a two-day Mt. Bromo tour package for foreign tourists before the price increase was between Rp 2 million and Rp 3 million.
'The increase in admission prices will add to the tour package cost,' she said.
'We would be deeply ashamed to offer tours to the tourist destination at such a high price when it has minimum facilities. Many foreign tourists complain about the matter. We have conveyed their complaints to the government, but it has not resolved the issue,' said Nanik.
Meanwhile, the head of the Probolinggo branch of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Digdoyo Djamaluddin, said the increase in Mt. Bromo entrance fees would reduce the number of people vising the volcano.
'The 300 percent increase in admission will reduce tourism revenue. We hope the government will review the new policy, because once the new regulation is enforced, tourism entrepreneurs and members of the local community involved in the sector will go out of business,' Digdoyo said.
He said about 400,000 residents living around Mt. Bromo depended on tourism for a livelihood. They include those who rent out horses, motorcycle taxi drivers and off-road vehicle owners who serve visitors to Mt. Bromo tours.
Separately, Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (TNBTS) center head Ayu Dewi Utari said the TNBTS management was ready to raise the price of admission in accordance with the regulation.
'The TNBTS, as operator of the site, will implement the new ruling. We must meet our target of obtaining Rp 7.7 billion annually from admission fees,' said Ayu.
Mt. Bromo attracts people every day to enjoy the sunrise from its peak and the superb views of the sea of sand that covers its caldera. Currently, about 2,000 people visit the TNBTS on regular days. On weekends or long holidays, the number of visitors can reach 15,000 daily. In 2013, 579,132 people visited the site, a 30 percent increase from the 400,000 visitors in 2012.