Paradise lost: how Bali is losing its appeal for Australian tourists

Bali has long been a top vacation spot for Australians, but the tide could turn as stricter rules are introduced on the party island.

Australians flock to the island every year for cheap food, affordable accommodation and stunning scenery.

Bali is the second most popular tourist destination for Australians, just behind New Zealand but well ahead of the United States in third place.

More than 2.1 million tourists visited Bali last year, shattering forecasts of over half a million visitors.

The laid-back island, known as a carefree paradise where anything goes, has been attracting tourists for decades.

But that laid-back atmosphere may soon be a thing of the past, as the local governor works to crack down on bad behavior.

Bali Governor Wayan Koster has asked national authorities to ban all foreigners from renting motorbikes “to ensure quality and dignified tourism”.

The move comes after the launch of a campaign targeting tourists wearing skimpy clothing and the announcement of a ‘bonk ban’.

While the willingness to crack down on bad behavior may come as a surprise to some, Indonesian authorities have been cracking down on unruly behavior for a few years.

The Bali Tourism Board shared a social media post last week with the caption: “Enjoying Bali?”

What followed was a list of polite reminders to tourists on how to “show respect” for their rich culture.

“For everyone’s safety, comfort and mutual respect, we ask that you follow a few common sense rules,” the poster read.

Many tourists are unaware that Bali is a conservative island in a deeply religious country.

Indonesia’s parliament last year approved a law banning sex outside marriage and cohabitation of unmarried couples.

Draft new laws state that while sex outside marriage would be prohibited, it could only be reported to authorities by a limited number of parties, such as close relatives.

This warning may provide some protection to Australian citizens visiting or living in the country.

The way tourists dress is also under scrutiny on the island, with a new education campaign on how to dress and act appropriately in Bali launched in March this year.

Vacationers often wander the streets in next to nothing, but there are areas where this shouldn’t happen, especially around sacred temples.

“The aim is for tourists to respect the cultural customs of the Balinese by dressing well … and being orderly in the conduct of traffic activities,” said Bali Tourism Board Chairman Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana .

The Bali tourism board is in the “socializing” phase of the campaign, which involves billboards.

The latest initiative targets tourists renting motorbikes and scooters.

Under the plan, which was revealed this week, visitors would be banned from renting scooters and bicycles.

Mr Koster wants travelers to only use transport provided by travel agencies after a number of incidents, such as foreign passengers abusing the police, not wearing helmets and using fake license plates. registration.

Footage emerged this week of a tourist in a heated argument with a local cop after being arrested for not wearing a helmet.

The shirtless tourist, who has a North American accent, was forced to stop in the middle of a busy road with officers.

He then accuses them of harassing him for money.

“Wanna steal money, wanna steal money, wanna steal?”

A police officer who filmed the exchange then replies: “Too much talk, you.”

“I’ve seen Balinese people riding again and again without helmets and you don’t stop them, you don’t stop the Balinese,” replies the tourist.

When the officer attempts to seize the bike and move it off the road, the man responds, “Don’t touch my stuff. Do not touch me.

The clip then ends. We don’t know what happened next.

The tourist’s behavior has been called rude, with some even calling for him to be deported.

“Bali doesn’t deserve foreigners like this,” one person wrote.

New rules for Bali tourists

1. Always wear a motorcycle helmet

2. Avoid drunken and indecent behavior in public

3. Don’t post offensive and vulgar photos on social media

4. Confine skimpy beachwear to appropriate places

5. Working without a visa is strictly prohibited

6. Respect local people and our culture

Australians react to new guidelines

Members of the Bali Bogans community Facebook group reacted to the new guidelines with a range of emotions.

“I totally agree,” one member said.

“Most of us tourists are fed up with the behavior of some of these people. More respect please.

“While I agree with the message, I think it’s hypocritical to tell tourists what to do when their own people don’t even follow the rules, lead by example, right?” says another person.

“All of these things are not laws but common sense…and there is no punishment for stupidity other than karma,” said a third.

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