Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, has spoken to the media about why he feels bad behavior by tourists in Bali continues to play out.
Minster Uno says that ignorance is to blame.
Minister Uno told reporters that many tourists are ignorant of both the law and cultural norms on Bali before they arrive on the island.
He explained, “Many violate these regulations, acting because of their ignorance. We must firmly convey that Indonesian tourism especially in Bali is tourism that is based on local culture, dignified, sustainable, quality, and cultural.”
He added, “So I emphasize that quality, dignified, cultural and sustainable tourism is what we have conveyed to foreign tourists, and we have coordinated law enforcement officers to be firm but polite in conveying regulations including the cultural wisdom and local wisdom of the Balinese people.”
Minster Uno is clear that a crackdown on tourists behaving badly will not have a negative impact on the tourism sector and will bring benefits to both tourists and tourism businesses.
He explained, “I received a lot of appreciation that our firmness, instead of reducing tourist visits to Bali, actually increased the number by 17% year on year.”
According to Minster Uno, the educational campaign launched earlier this year that focuses on the do’s and don’ts of Bali for tourists has been effective in raising awareness about cultural respect and the law.
He explained, “It is very effective to do and don’t in Bali and gets appreciation from tourists.”
He added, “So tourists are increasing but the number of violations is actually decreasing, this is one of the effects of our massive socialization of the do’s and don’ts.”
While the number of violations is decreasing, violations are still present and occurring regularly.
Over the weekend, footage emerged online of a group of foreigners brawling on what is believed to be Berawa Beach in Canggu.
Last week, there was a huge amount of attention put on a foreigner who posted a video of himself ‘meditating’ naked in front of a Balinese Temple.
These kinds of violations are now being looked into by the Bali Becik Task Force, a dedicated team of officers from Bali Immigration, Bali Police, the civil service, and traditional village leadership teams to help respond to reports and bring badly behaved tourists to justice as quickly as possible.
An official hotline number has been set up, and the task force has set the target of conducting one hundred immigration control operations every month.
These missions have already resulted in tourists getting deported from the island.
Yet, for the vast, vast majority of tourists visiting Bali, nothing has changed. With over 18,000 tourists arriving in Bali every single day, the number of respectful and engaged tourists hugely outweighs the badly behaved.
The list of do’s and don’ts issued earlier this year outlines respectful behavior that not only helps tourists obey the law but also has a more immersive experience.
The list of do’s and don’ts includes guidance on how to dress when visiting a Balinese Temple and states that tourists must hire an official tour guide when visiting specific attractions.
Many of the do’s and don’ts also help keep tourists safe. The guidelines remind tourists to only stay at formally registered accommodation options, to hire vehicles only from licensed businesses, and to comply with traffic regulations when driving.
These educational campaigns for tourists have certainly not deterred visitors from booking their trips. Indonesia wants to see high-quality tourists coming to the island, by which they mean they want to see visitors who are staying longer and spending more.
Bali has been voted as the best island in Asia by travelers and readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Bali came top place in the best islands in Asia category at the awards last week, beating equally iconic destinations like Palawan in the Philippines and Koh Samui in Thailand.
In the coming months and years, tourists planning their trips to Bali can expect to see Balinese culture woven into tourism experiences in even more ways.
From the promotion of cultural experiences at the island’s most significant landmarks to more Balinese produce featuring on menus and more Balinese-sourced products in tourist shops and throughout accommodations.