Mentawais - new surf tax coming

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indo-dreaming started the topic in Monday, 13 Apr 2015 at 6:15pm

Here we go again.

"Mentawai wants to tap surf money"

Mentawai regency and legislative council are preparing three new bylaws aimed at tapping revenue from its world famous surfing and tourism players, which the administration claims has created zero income for the regency.

Mentawai Islands Deputy Regent Rijel Samaloisa said tourism had not contributed anything to the regency’s annual revenue, including from the surfing business, because of a lack of local ordinances.

“We only get the name, garbage and environmental damage. There is no regulation that allows us to collect tax,” said Rijel on Thursday.

Mentawai is considered one of the best surfing locations in the world and has been visited by about 5,000 foreign surfers annually since the 1990s. Last year, more than 7,000 surfers visited the islands.

Last month, Mentawai Islands regency submitted three draft bylaws on tourism, management and promotion of surfing attractions and sports, and recreation tax collection, for approval by the regency council.

Once approved, the bylaws, Rijel said, would regulate tax collection on cruise ships berthing in Mentawai, surfers, restaurants and home stays. They were adopted from the bylaws implemented in marine tourism paradise Raja Ampat regency in West Papua.

“Based on estimates, we can earn at least Rp 35 billion [US$2.7 million] annually from taxes regulated by the ordinances,” said Rijel.

The ordinances are expected to be effective as of 2016. The implementation of the bylaws would be followed by the construction of supporting facilities at a number of surfing locations, such as jetties, moors, health facilities and roads, as well as transportation modes and security.

Mentawai Islands have pristine beaches with sunbaked sands and has consistently been a popular surf destination.

There are about 400 surf spots in Mentawai, with 13 of them offering international competition-scale waves as high as 6 meters, such as around Nyang Nyang, Karang Majat, Karoni, Mainuk and Katiet islands.

Rijel said that in addition to surfing spots there were also 33 diving locations. Currently, 15 resorts can be found in the regency, some of them managed by foreigners. They operate in the midst of loose regulations, such as by building resorts by working with land owners.

Mentawai Islands Council Speaker Yosep Sarogdok said the three draft bylaws were being deliberated and were expected to be approved by the end of the month. However, councilors had met obstacles in the regulation on tax collection from surfing and diving.

According to Law No. 23/2014 on regional administrations, Yosep said the provincial administration had the right to collect tax related to marine territory from 0 to 12 miles offshore, but not the regency administration.

“We are consulting the matter with the Tourism Ministry. We must also discuss the matter with the provincial administration,” said Yosep.

West Sumatra Cruise Ships and Surfing Association (AKSSB) head Aim Zen has asked the regency administration and council not to hastily pass the bylaws. According to him, the regulations have the potential to enable home stay owners to monopolize the surfing spots near them.

“That’s why we proposed special discussions between the provincial administration, Mentawai Islands regency administration and us as tour operators in Mentawai, so the bylaws will be effective,” said Zen.

He added that the Mentawai Islands regency administration had implemented similar bylaws in 2012, but the AKSSB had objected to them as they enabled a monopoly by five companies. He also claimed the AKSSB had once paid tax of nearly Rp 800 million.

“However, the use of the money that we paid remains unclear. The regent and tourism office head were then imprisoned for corruption. The central government then revoked the ordinances,” said Zen.

According to Zen, each surfer pays an average of $2,500 per trip to Mentawai. “If the amount is multiplied by 5,500 surfers annually, the amount would reach $13.7 million,” he said.

“Obviously, we don’t want the profits not to be enjoyed by the regency administration and residents in Mentawai. But operators should be treated as partners and the regulations must be fair,” said Zen.

- See more at:

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 14 Apr 2015 at 11:10am

US$2.7 million in taxes per year? Wow.. that's a hefty target.

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eel Tuesday, 14 Apr 2015 at 1:33pm
thermalben wrote:

US$2.7 million in taxes per year? Wow.. that's a hefty target.

Maybe this Mentawai fella is under the impression the Rupiah is on par with the US dollar.

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groundswell Tuesday, 14 Apr 2015 at 1:45pm

Mixed feelings on this. If it helps local people who should be rewarded by visitors great.
If its just slow witted govt and corrupt officials realising they can get rich from this fuckcem.

Then there's the middle road somewhere in the middle. Less greed more fairness. Seems like a good thing but will it be done right? Heck no.

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groundswell Tuesday, 14 Apr 2015 at 1:50pm

Diesel costs a lot for those boats and ships for ments trips. Cuts down profits a whole lot.

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Booka78 Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 at 1:14pm

The development in this area have ruined what was a fantastic spot. Stayed in Katiet back in 2003 & it was $1 a night for accomodation & $1 for a meal with Pak Hussein who was just starting a losmen up there then. All the money from independant travelling surfers back then went straight to the local villages. Now you have western resorts charging ridiculious money to surf crowded waves & profiteering off the locals. Tax the F**K out of them I say to discourage further development & unsustainable tourism that is ruining the area

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groundswell Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 at 4:28pm

^ this.

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indo-dreaming Wednesday, 17 Feb 2016 at 9:16am

And again new article today. (Fri, February 12 2016)

Surfers in the Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra, can soon expect a much better experience in one of the world’s best surfing destinations in exchange for a small additional fee.

Located off the western coast of Sumatra, Mentawai is home to dozens of surf spots, some of which offer world-class waves.

Last year alone, the regency attracted 7,000 local and international surfers, some of whom were willing to pay US$ 2,500 per trip to explore the islands and find the most challenging waves to conquer.

In an effort to provide better services and in anticipation of an increasing number of tourists, the Mentawai Islands regional administration issued last year a bylaw on the management of surfing excursions that stipulates, among other things, the imposition of “surfing fees” for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Under the bylaw, all foreign and local surfers visiting Mentawai are required to pay Rp 1 million (US$75) and Rp 250,000, respectively, for a 15-day period.

Payments are to be made online, while identification wristbands are to be collected at the provincial capital of Padang or Mentawai. The new regulation is scheduled to take effect in August after the regional administration completes supporting regulations that detail fee collection procedures.

Local authorities, meanwhile, believe that the new fees are relatively low compared with the facilities they are offering to surfers.

Such fees, for example, would give surfers a fair chance to ride the most sought-after waves in the region, said Mentawai Islands Tourism Agency head Desti Seminora.

“Currently, many surfers must compete against each other to secure surf spots on particular beaches,” she said.

“By paying certain fees, surfers will be guaranteed spots on the beach as our officers will allow a maximum of 20 surfers to surf in a particular spot every morning and afternoon.”

Desti also said the local administration would use the additional income from the fees to develop supporting facilities, including guard posts and medical emergency facilities, to improve safety and comfort.

West Sumatra Surfing and Tourist Ship Association (AKSSB) head Aim Zen said it was time for the regional administration to enjoy revenue from its natural and marine tourism potential.

Aim also considered the fees “very reasonable”.

He, however, urged the local administration to pay serious attention to several matters if it wished to implement the regulation, such as ensuring that the surf spots were free from illegal levies collected by thugs and the local community.

“The Mentawai Islands regency administration must also immediately provide basic supporting facilities in the surf spots, such as security, or police posts, lifeguards, health posts for emergencies and communications equipment at the posts for better coordination,” said Zen.

AKSSB members currently operate 34 yachts and 11 boats to accommodate surfers’ trips to Mentawai.

Each boat or yacht can transport at least a dozen tourists per trip, costing each passenger around $2,500.

The director of Kandui Resort on Siberut Island, Anom Suheri, also welcomes the implementation of the surfing fees.

“However, for the sake of business certainty, the regulation must be implemented consistently,” he said.

- See more at:

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indo-dreaming Wednesday, 17 Feb 2016 at 9:30am

So many questions around this.

Wonder if this effects non surfers? (i keep boards out in the islands and could easily just say I'm a non surfer when boarding the ferry)

I also know westerners that live out there much of the year, i wonder how it effects them?.
$100 is fine for a once off trip but if your living out there for most of the year or three to six months its a big cost especially for those that are retired (like some of my friends).

Im not particularly against the idea especially if focussed on commercial charter boats and resorts.

But it could also be a big negative towards local people who have business aimed at the budget market.

I wonder if this goes along with their Bronze, Silver, gold rating of waves thing Desti also suggested and said would happen, kind of sounds like it fro quote below, you can only surf the prime waves (gold) if you have the pass, but perhaps can surf and travel other waves without a pass.

"By paying certain fees, surfers will be guaranteed spots on the beach as our officers will allow a maximum of 20 surfers to surf in a particular spot every morning and afternoon.”

Be a nightmare to control, especially with corruption.

Al that said, id take anything written in the Indonesia media with a grain of salt, id be very surprised to actually see this happen.

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udo Thursday, 18 Feb 2016 at 7:33pm

Tracks mag: Pay more to play in Ments.

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indo-dreaming Thursday, 18 Feb 2016 at 8:08pm
udo wrote:

Tracks mag: Pay more to play in Ments.

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indo-dreaming Saturday, 6 Aug 2016 at 7:54am

I see on social media quite a few resorts and charter boats are reporting that this tax is coming in very soon (some say as soon as this month)

Going to be interesting how this goes it could actually be quite damaging to the budget market that is 100% owned by locals (tax is one million rupiah about $100 per 15 days)

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tonybarber Saturday, 6 Aug 2016 at 8:59am

Let's hope some of the cash gets to the locals.

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eel Saturday, 6 Aug 2016 at 11:37am

Ha, no chance this will get to the locals. This is indo we are talking about

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indo-dreaming Sunday, 7 Aug 2016 at 8:26am

And how would it get to the locals anyway?

When you say locals in the Mentawais there is actually three different groups of locals.

1. Indigenous Mentawais who still live deep in the jungle of Siberut in a traditional way.

2. Mentawais who live in small remote villages around the Mentawais mostly coastal but some inland the majority are Indigenous Mentawai.

3. Mentawais who live in the main port towns, Sikakap, Sioban, Tua Pajet, Maura Siberut and the villages near these areas, they are a mix of Indonesians many originally from Padang, Medan, Java etc mixed in is indigenous Mentawai people.

Nothing will ever get to the first group and I'm not sure if they want change anyway.

Second group the main way it would get to them or improve their life's is spending on road links to main port towns sealing and widening to make access faster and easier, improvements in electricity , mobil phone towers, schools etc

And I'm not sure if these things are funded by the Mentawai government?
Most likely funded by the Indonesian government.

And if these things are going to happen, they will happen closer to the large port towns and actually are already happening in these areas. (of which on Tua Pajet is anywhere near surf spots)

On the flip side if it damages the development of local owned and run tourism that focusses on the budget market because people cut their trips short, then there is a lot to loose for locals in areas like Nyang yang and other places that provide accommodation and boat trips but the people in the villages in the south Siberut area will also loose out as they supply fuel and food etc to the budget market. (surf camps/resorts generally buy from Padang or main port towns as buy in bigger amounts)

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indo-dreaming Sunday, 7 Aug 2016 at 9:11am

Cut and pasted.

"Conveyed to all that commencing August 1, 2016 Mentawai Regional Government through the Department of Tourism Mentawai Surfing has imposed levies Voting in accordance with the Mentawai Regional Regulation No. 2 Year 2015 on the Management and Utilization of Tourist Attractions surfing and Regional Regulation No. 8 Year 2015 about retribution Recreation and Sports.
Surfing Levy payments made directly in Nagari Bank Deposit Slip Model A Mentawai Regional Government Accounts.
Purchase Tickets and Bracelet Surfing in the Office of Tourism Information Centre (TIC) at Jln Padang. Azizi No. 121 Andalas Padang and Tourism Office in Tuapejat.
Thank you
Aban Barnabas
Head of Tourism Mentawai
Tourism Department has put Post Officer Supervisor "Surfer Mentawai Service Officer" in Karamajat island, Pulau Nyangnyang / Mapadegat Camp, JatiTuapejat Beach, Coastal Mapadegat, Katiet, Silabu
So that all his reports to the Supervisor Post Officer on the day of arrival of the first guests at the location before a surfing For stamp given by the clerk at a ticket so that's when the calculated 15-day period that visit."

(those locations in regard to waves)
Karamajat island=Rifles/No Kandui, 4 bobs etc
, Pulau Nyangnyang =Ebay/pitstops area
/ Mapadegat Camp,=Telescopes area
JatiTuapejat Beach, =Just across the channel from Suicides/Ariks
Coastal Mapadegat, =Telescopes area
Katiet, =HT's

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indo-dreaming Sunday, 7 Aug 2016 at 9:19am

Surfers intending to enjoy big waves in Mentawai, West Sumatra, need to pay extra fees, albeit meager ones, as the local administration is moving to boost its income from tourism.

Starting on Aug. 1, foreign surfers have to pay Rp 1 million (US$76) in fees, while local surfers need to give Rp 250,000.

Mentawai Culture, Tourism and Sports Agency head Desti Seminora said the policy was effective starting from Aug. 1, 2016 as the site, known as a “surfers’ paradise”, was entering the high tide season.

“The fees are imposed only on tourists who are surfing,” Desti said on Wednesday.

She said the fees were applied for every 15 days of surfing and another fee will be imposed for an additional 15 days of surfing.

Local businesspeople welcome the extra charges imposed on the surfers.

“I have been waiting for 10 years for such a bylaw to be really implemented. Paying Rp 1 million for 15 days of surfing is not a problem, not even to pay for another Rp 1 million to surf just a day longer,” Macaronis Resort director Yon Mardjono told The Jakarta Post in North Pagai Island, Mentawai

He said the absence of such a regulation had created unhealthy competition among surfing business practitioners over surfing spots. He said he was disturbed by knowing that boat owners would transport surfers directly from Padang and stay overnight on board their boats near the spot.

“We, who own the resort on the land after going through the bureaucracy for various licenses to run the resort near the spot, are always in conflict with them because of the lack of regulators. The bylaw is a relief for us,” Yon said.

Every year, for the 11 months of the high tide season, he said, Macaronis accommodated between 600 and 700 tourists. Even during December, when the tides were not so high, tourist families also came to learn how to surf.

West Sumatra provincial administration secretary Ali Asmar also expressed the same support, saying that the bylaw should have been implemented long before as no surfing businesses had yielded income for the region.

“That way the surfing business in Mentawai can be managed better and the income from the fees can be spent on improving the wealth of local people,” Ali said.

In addition, Desti said her office had set a target of collecting Rp 2 billion by the end of this year, or within the first five months since the policy was applied. For next year, she said, the target would be Rp 5 billion from 5,000 surfers.

“The target will be increased gradually every year as according to the 2015 data there were 7,000 foreign surfers visiting Mentawai, meaning that the potential is Rp 7 billion a year,” she said.

She also said her office had publicized the extra fee obligation, the bylaw for which had been approved by the regency legislative council in 2014. The publicity had been conducted in June 2016 in some surfing locations, including Muara Siberut, Pei-Pei, Tuapejat, Katiet and Sikakap.

She said technically the money collected from surfers would go to the Tourist Information Center (TIC) treasury office in Padang and the Mentawai Culture, Tourism and Sport Agency in Tuapejat, Sipora Island.

Travel agencies that serve surfers were welcome to deposit the fees directly into the regency administration’s bank account and the receipts would be handed over to the treasury office as records.

The travel agencies would then receive wristbands for the surfers to wear so that field officers could easily recognize which surfers had paid for the fees and which had not.

The monitoring posts were provided in four surfing locations, in Karangmajat, Nyangnyang, Makaroni and Katiet, to maintain order, to check on the fee payments and to make sure of the surfers’ safety and comfort.

She said surfers often competed for the tides so the officers at the post would manage things to make sure they all got a turn to surf. Each tide, she said, could accommodate 20 surfers per turn from 8 a.m. until noon and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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indo-dreaming Sunday, 7 Aug 2016 at 12:37pm

Image edited (that red crap) to protect the details of the wrist band user.

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indo-dreaming Sunday, 7 Aug 2016 at 12:38pm

Expect a few of these will be turning up on Mentawai beaches, wrist bands ready to go.

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sypkan Sunday, 7 Aug 2016 at 2:31pm

wow definitely ready to go

I wonder how much a cheap copy will go for on the streets of kuta?

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indo-dreaming Sunday, 7 Aug 2016 at 2:42pm

ha ha i just found out one of my local friends has got the job of checking who is registered
/got wrist bands.

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dandandan Monday, 26 Sep 2016 at 9:19pm

Looks like it has worked out pretty well for the Mentawai Government, already pulling in an extra $100 000 so far since August 1. I bet they are kicking themselves that they've had a decade of surf tourism without this in place. I hope that some of this used to ensure that living standards can be raised without needed to exploit the natural environment. Judging by the comments on the article from some people in the Ments, it's seen as a pretty fantastic thing.

Loosely translated from the article:

"The head of the Department of Cultural Tourism, Young and Sport for the Mentawai Regional Government, Desti Seminora, said that after almost two months the tax has already reaped about $100 000 AUD"

“1, 010 surfers came, each paying a million,” said Desti.

Desti thinks the number of people paying the tax this year will continue to go up as the surf season now runs until November.. “Alhamdulillah that we've already received over $100 000. Our target for this first year was to make $200 000 from 2000 surfers, we're optimistic we will reach that” she said..

She said the target for this is only $200 000 from 2000 surfers, which is small because the tax was introduced in August. Next year the target is $500 000 from 5000 surfers.

According to Desti, this is a new beginining for the Mentawai Regional Government and the Mentawai people to receive benefits/profits from surfing tourism. For more than a decade thousands of surfers from across the globe have come to surf in the Mentawais without paying a tax or contributing anything the the islands"

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Wharfjunkie Tuesday, 27 Sep 2016 at 6:10am

Isn't there a better way than wristies? A tattoo would be more environmentally friendly and would allow surfers to wear it like a badge of honour much like the early 30's festival goer wearing a decaying wristband to show their coworkers they have been to falls 3 months ago.

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indo-dreaming Tuesday, 27 Sep 2016 at 7:24pm

That's good news, hopefully the money get's spent wisely and goes where it should.