Over the last few weeks, there have been some big changes for tourists heading to Bali. The provincial government has doubled down on its commitment to create sustainable and cultural-based tourism.
As a result, Governor Wayan Koster announced a list of rules that all tourists must adhere to during their stay on the island.
The list of rules, touted as the Good Tourist Guide, consists of twelve obligations and eight prohibitions by tourists in Bali.
After much public discussion, officials launched the Good Tourist Guide at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in the form of a small info card that was to be slipped into the passports of arrivals as they pass through immigration.
However, less than two weeks since the first info cards were handed out, the list of do’s and don’ts in Bali has already evolved into a new form. Tourists will now be encouraged to scan a QR code on arrival at Bali Airport. The QR code will then link to a series of Google Docs, which contain the infographics in English, Hindi, and Mandarin.
As of Wednesday morning are now 32 QR-code scanning points at the international arrivals hall at Bali Airport.
The Head of Immigration Office Class I TPI, Ngurah Rai Sugito, told reporters that “After an evaluation, we chose to make it in the form of a barcode. The rules can be read at any time because they are in their cellphones.
Sugito said that over 1000 info cards had been distributed to arrivals in Bali but that the QR code system would be more effective in the long run.
He added, “These three languages are because many of the tourists from there go on vacation to Bali. That’s why we provide it in the three languages.”
Immigration in Indonesia is working to establish a ‘gold standard’ approach to their public services. This includes improving digital infrastructure for tourists.
The decision to move the good tourist guidelines over to a QR code is just one small way Indonesian Immigration is looking to make its communications accessible and easy.
Other digital improvements to immigration services include the e-Visa on Arrival, which allows tourists to apply for their 30-day VOA before they touch down in Denpasar, making the arrival process that bit quicker.
While there has been much conversation online about the introduction of the new do’s and don’t for tourists in Bali, for the most part, tourists have been on board with the new guidelines.
After all, the guidelines aren’t asking anything new of tourists, nor stipulating new laws, but rather a reiteration of laws and cultural norms that have been disrespected by a small minority of international visitors on the island.
The rules are straightforward; the first is to respect the local religion and its sacred place. This includes respecting Balinese wisdom traditions, especially during ceremonies.
Although Indonesia is the world’s largest majority Muslim nation, Balinese Hinduism is the most practiced faith on the island. All faiths must be respected.
In fact, many of the rules center around respecting the unique cultural heritage and spiritual practices of the Balinese people.
On the list of don’ts, tourists are reminded not to enter the main area of temples and other sacred places without wearing proper attire and to never take pictures around sacred places when dressed immodestly.
The rules also remind tourists to adhere to the conditions of their tourist visas and not partake in any work or business-related activities illegally.
This reminder comes as the provincial government has created a Tourism Task Force to crack down on foreigners working illegally on the island.
Immigration officials found that not only were some foreigners operating businesses and business services in Bali without the correct visa or business permits, which led to a series of rapid deportations.
For the vast majority of travelers, the new behavioral guidelines are simply kindly reminders to embrace and immerse in all the wonders of the Island of the Gods.
As tourism leaders in Bali look to establish a more diverse experience for tourists, all visits have to do is be open-minded!
As the Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, said last week, Bali’s “tourism tagline is now: quality and dignified culture-based tourism.”
Whether it be visiting the rice terraces in Tellalagang or catching a traditional cultural dance, there is so much to explore around every corner of Bali.
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