Bali, a small island in Indonesia, has proven to be one of the biggest tourist hot spots in the world over the past decade or so. Its stunning beaches, breathtaking jungles, and warm climate have attracted tourists from all corners of the globe.
Unfortunately, when you have so many tourists coming in, the chances are that a fraction of these tourists will be disrespectful and misbehave. This problem has recently impacted Bali, and the Indonesian government is now beginning to do something about it.
One issue that has become obvious in 2023 relates to how tourists in Bali conduct themselves in traffic. Most visitors to Bali hire motorbikes to get around the island, but some drive so recklessly that traffic accidents are commonplace.
In February and March this year, over 170 foreign nationals broke traffic laws in Bali, according to local media. The most common offenses were drunk driving, speeding, and using fake license plates.
As a result, the Governor of the Island, Wayan Koster, has said that a ban on motorbike rentals for foreign visitors will come into play later this year. He said:
“As tourists, you should act as tourists. This means using vehicles prepared by travel agents, instead of roaming around with motorbikes, without wearing t-shirts and clothes, with no helmets, violating traffic rules, and even without a license.”
The news of the motorcycle ban is likely to go down well with Bali locals, who have been getting increasingly fed up with the behavior of tourists since Indonesia re-opened its borders after the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s a catch-22 for the government, as the island relies heavily on tourism, so they don’t want to turn tourists away completely. Still, they also have a duty to look after the well-being of people who live permanently on the island.
The issue was amplified recently when 12 tourists filed an official complaint against a local resident because they had crowing roosters that kept them awake at night. Roosters are commonly reared on the island, so to say that the complaint went down badly with locals would be an understatement.
Fortunately for them, Koster was on their side, saying:
“If they do not like the crow of roosters, then they don’t have to come to Bali. We have no business dealing with such people.”
Speaking to Vice, Ravinjay Kuckreja, a Ph.D. candidate studying Balinese culture on the island, has said that many tourists don’t understand that Bali is “a home for people.” He added:
“I think Bali has always been seen as the last paradise on earth. The community is very welcoming and hospitable, but sometimes foreigners see it as this Disneyland that’s there for their enjoyment and their pleasure.”
New Laws Announced in Jakarta
New laws announced in Jakarta could also push tourists further away from Bali. Both Indonesia and Bali are deeply religious places, and new laws were announced in December that stated it is now illegal for non-married couples to cohabit or have intercourse.
Although Governor Koster has confirmed that these rules won’t affect visitors or foreign residents, it may be enough to make people think twice about traveling to Bali.
Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment in Indonesia, has suggested that he won’t mind if tourists are put off from traveling to Bali in light of the new laws. He said:
“We do not need naughty tourists in Bali. With careful research from the police and relevant authorities, we can make them persona non grata here.”
This article was produced and syndicated by The Impulse Traveler.