Immigration officials in Bali are looking into ways in which they can crack down on the apparent rise in badly behaved foreigners on the island.
In the last few days, officials have announced the launch of a new hotline for concerned citizens to report incidences of violations by tourists. Officials want complaints to be followed up with haste.
The Director General of Immigration at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Slimy Karim, has launched a new hotline and specialist task force both aimed at eliminating illegal and culturally inappropriate behavior by foreigners in Bali.
The new task force, known as the Bali Becik Task Force, comprises 25 dedicated officers who will work in partnership with teams at the Immigration Division of the Bali Regional Office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, in addition to Ngurah Rai Immigration Office, the Denpasar Immigration Office, and the Singaraja Immigration Office.
The Bali Becik Task Force has been given a clear set of objectives and goals in order to ensure that the operations are effective and do not disturb the tourism industry.
One key objective, as outlined by Director General Karim, is to conduct one hundred ‘control operations’ on suspected badly behaved tourists every single month.
The Task Force is already at work, and their mission will continue until the end of the year when the situation will likely be reevaluated.
Speaking at the press conference launch, Director General Karim explained, “We hope that with the formation of the Bali Becik Task Force, the level of violations of laws and norms by foreigners in Bali will decrease. Following the issuance of 12 Obligations and 8 Prohibitions for Foreigners by the Provincial Government of Bali.”
Director General Karim is also clear that he wants to see complaints and reports about foreigners violating the law or customary norms to be followed up with quickly.
This will be welcome news to many local communities, especially those in resort towns where incidents of tourists disrespecting the island were becoming increasingly common.
Many local residents and community groups have been taking to social media in order to escalate the issues amongst public consciousness.
Reports suggest that many local people, including ex-pats and long-term international residents, feel frustrated that the authorities were sometimes slow to follow up on reports of unruly foreigners in Bali.
In light of his Director General, Karim has said that immigration teams and the Bali Becik Task Force must follow up on all reports against tourists within 72 hours.
This includes reports of tourist breaking their visa conditions, violating traffic law, disrespecting local culture, or disturbing public order.
Director General Karim explained to reporters that a cross-party approach is needed, a coordinated approach from immigration, police, transportation officials, and other community stakeholders.
He said that with the new policies in place, “the public can now easily report if a foreigner is found disturbing public order. Apart from that, I have instructed immigration officials in the regions to respond quickly, a maximum of 3 x 24 hours.”
He revealed that moving forward, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights will be working to establish policies that ensure that Indonesia will only ‘accept’ and welcome foreigners who are “of benefit to Indonesia”.
Director General Karim alluded to more changes to immigration policy for tourists in the near future.
He explained he and his team are exploring “how in the future we check whether a foreigner is a good quality traveler or not. Then we will also continue to work on improving immigration services.”
What constitutes a ‘good quality’ or high quality’ tourist is yet to be clearly defined by officials across Indonesia.
One attribute that is being referred to unanimously is that high-quality tourists will also be high-spending tourists.
Speaking at the announcement of the Bali Becik Task Force, Director General Karim explained, “The main problem regarding foreigners in Bali is the large number of foreign tourists with low spending who often make trouble.”
He added, “Because Bali is included in the category of cheap tourist destinations, so it attracts thin-pocketed tourists.”
This is a sentiment also felt by Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster, who has publicly shared that he is exploring tourism quotas to limit the number of tourists visiting the island, as well as enforcing financial background checks on potential visitors.
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