From the 1st of July 2016, all surfers are charged a surfer tax at the airport arrival in Mentawai.
The amount of Rp 1 million ( about US$ 75 or AU$ 105 ) is billed upon arrival, valid for 15 days, which can be extended. Some resorts or boats will pay the tax in advance for surfers, not to waste too much time at the airport during transfers.
There may be random inspections at any time. Other taxes for boat charters and film crews are implemented. These new taxes should help the country construct supporting facilities. It is expected to provide significant benefits in the regulation of the surfing tourism industry, improving the overall experience of visiting surfers.
Roads, security, jetties and health facilities at a number of surf spots should be financed. This way the local people will benefit. Before, the money never made its way to the people but went into the pockets of the Tourism Ministry. Corruption has long been a problem. Let’s hope the new president, Joko Widodo, will put a stop on this.
Mentawai still offers some of the best waves in the world. They don’t expect this tax to change the number of surfers coming to surf Mentawais. An average surf trip can cost up to $ 5000, so the tax is believed to make little impact.