Bali is one of the top tourist hotspots worldwide. But the behaviour of holidaymakers now has consequences. The government is relying on new rules.
Denpasar – If you take a look at social media, you usually don't have to look far to find any holiday picture of the Indonesian island of Bali. According to Bali Interships, around four million tourists now visit the holiday paradise every year – almost as many people as there are inhabitants of Bali. Now the government is relying on new rules of etiquette so that the harmony of the island does not falter. What do tourists have to be prepared for from now on?
|Population||4.362 million (2019)|
136 holidaymakers expelled from Bali this year – government sets new rules for tourists
Bali combines countless spiritual places such as temples, volcanoes and mountains, a diverse nature with beautiful beaches, beautiful rice fields and a special culture. It is one of the only islands out of a total of 17,500 in Indonesia where the population is predominantly Hindu. The name of the island stands for "Island of the Gods". According to dpa, the Balinese faith "Agama Hindu Dharma" is a special and complex type of Hinduism, mixed with mythological elements. It is the central point in the lives of the people there.
The government in Bali wants to protect temples such as the Pura Puseh Desa Batuan with new rules for holidaymakers. © dpa/Carola Frentzen
Not all tourists seem to want to understand this. As reported by the Japan Times, the Balinese authorities had expelled at least 2023 holidaymakers for misconduct in 136 alone. Recently, there have also been repeated incidents in which tourists, for example, have posed naked or half-naked in religious places on the island. This is perceived as disrespectful among residents. Only last year, Indonesia had tightened the penalties for illegitimate sexual intercourse – now threatens about a year in prison for violations.
German holidaymaker arrested in Bali because he walks naked through temples
It was only in May that a German holidaymaker was arrested for walking naked through a temple. According to media reports, a Danish holidaymaker was also arrested last month for showing herself naked in public.
This is not the only reason why the island's governor I Wayan Koster is now drawing consequences. In an interview, he explains that he wants to fundamentally change tourism on the island: "This initiative will promote the transformation of Bali from mass tourism to quality tourism."
Holidaymakers receive information on rules of etiquette after arrival in Bali
However, this is accompanied by restrictions that holidaymakers have to be prepared for. The first impact is already being felt at the airport, where tourists will receive a brochure with the rules of etiquette immediately upon arrival, as Japan Times reports. First and foremost, holidaymakers are now prohibited from climbing sacred trees or religiously revered buildings. In addition, nudity or indecent clothing is also prohibited. On the beach, however, ordinary swimwear may still be worn.
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The government in Bali wants to protect temples such as the Pura Puseh Desa Batuan with new rules for holidaymakers. © Carola Frentzen /dpa
Government in Bali plans to restrict scooter rental for tourists
In addition, Koster had announced that foreigners would be prohibited from renting scooters after there had been an increase in rule violations and accidents – especially in the south of the island around the party stronghold of Kuta, according to Governor Koster. However, this has not yet been decided, in any case, from now on only official landlords will be allowed to lend scooters to tourists. In addition, according to the Japan Times, holidaymakers will now be on the road with licensed travel companions who will make sure that holidaymakers comply with the rules.
Another consequence is that the Balinese government is considering closing the mountainous regions of the island to tourists. "The mountains possess a sacred essence, which makes them revered places. Therefore, we prohibit mountaineering activities". However, the governor is encountering resistance from local politicians and mountain guides, unlike in Mallorca, where locals themselves are struggling to push back tourism. Because on the Spanish island, tourists on Mallorca cause chaos again and again.
"Tourism remains a mainstay": Balinese resist new tourism rules
The criticism is that a ban of this kind would endanger the livelihoods of many Balinese and an important industry. After all, the island had only had to struggle with a lack of tourists due to the Corona pandemic. Koster explains: "Tourism will remain a mainstay, but it will be in a completely different situation than before."
The deputy speaker of the provincial government, Tjok Gde Asmara Putra Sukawati, called on Koster to reconsider his plans. According to this, tourists should be allowed into the mountains, but only if they hire a local mountain guide. Travel guide Ade Firmasnyah told dpa: "There are many people who work in mountain tourism. If this is banned, then there will be big protests." Instead of a ban, he calls for prices for trekking tours to the volcanoes to be increased, clear rules to be set and tough action against those who nevertheless misbehave. (bk/dpa)