Bali tourism faces yet another major hurdle

Fresh from opening up to tourists after years of COVID isolation and surviving threats from some Australian politicians to ban travel on agricultural grounds, Bali now faces a brand new threat to its tourism industry.

THE so called ‘bonk ban’ is set to be ratified by the Indonesian Government over the coming weeks, three years after being shelved in 2019 following wide-spread protests.

Ramifications of the proposed law for Australian tourists could be significant, with any visitor found to have had sex outside of marriage in the country to face up to one year in prison.

The move has once again fuelled fears that it could negatively impact the outbound travel market to Bali, which despite being majority Hindu, would fall under the jurisdiction of the nationally actionable laws.

One possible saving grace for the industry however, is the likelihood that prosecution will only be brought by authorities in instances where the morality charges are instigated by select groups such as close relatives, providing some level of protection for leisure travellers.

Another positive is the timeline, with the laws unlikely to be drafted into formal regulation for at least a couple of years yet, providing a window for unfettered holidaymaking.

Only a few months ago, Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton called for a ban on all travel to Bali in a bid to curb the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, which is reportedly rife among livestock in Indonesia – including Bali.

However, the Federal Government opted for a more managed approach to the threat, increasing biosecurity measures at Australian airports, as well as boosting the quarantine messaging at airports and in the air.


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