Indonesian Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, has warned tourism operators to respect domestic tourists. His statements come just days after an incident of reported discrimination where a local moped rental provider did not allow a domestic tourist to hire a scooter. The incident went viral on Twitter, though those involved denied that the incident was a case of internalized racism.
Sandiaga Uno and his delegation visited Nusa Penida over the weekend. He visited the island to congratulate them on the return of mass tourism and to give a stern warning to the province that domestic tourism is not to be snubbed. Speaking to tourism providers via the media, he said, “All tourists must be treated equally, not Caucasians, not domestic, or local, don’t be picky, all pay, all have the same rights.”
Minister Uno was joined on his visit to Nusa Penida by the Regent of Klungkung, I Nyoman Suwirta. The pair visited popular destinations on the island, like Kelingking Beach. During the visits, Minster Uno confirmed that he was aware of the issue regarding the moped hire. He said that this kind of behavior could tarnish the image of the tourism sector and goes against the level of hospitality that Bali and Indonesia, more broadly, are so famous for.
Speaking to reporters, Minister Uno said, “Indonesia is famous for being friendly and friendly, don’t let it fade. Outside parties will also judge this, especially Bali, before I just entered the island all were friendly and stay like that.”
He went on to confirm that domestic tourism will always be of benefit to tourism operators across Bali province. He explained that the country is strengthened by over 550 million domestic tourism trips annually, including in 2022. This running total has already surpassed the nationwide target set for this year, much to Minister Uno’s delight.
Minister Uno and Regent Suwirta also spoke about the development and infrastructure for tourism in Nusa Penida. Regent Suwirta said, “Infrastructure development, although I have boosted the maximum, but [it’s] still lagging behind, for that we need the intervention of the central government to build an adequate road, water, electricity, and internet network here.” The Regency is hopeful that more funds will be distributed during the 2023 budget and that the tourism levy will continue to contribute positivity to development in the area.
According to reports about the moped incident in Bali last week. It was suggested that the moped rental provider chose not to rent his moped to a domestic tourist, not because of discrimination but because he had been stung in the past. The version of events that circulated online suggested that the moped owner, and others like him, had had their moped stolen in incidents of organized crime.
They claim that it is more secure to rent moped out to international tourists since they can take a copy of their passport and driver’s license, which they can report to the police and immigration should anything happen to their bike. The moped owner suggested that there have been cases where Indonesian thieves have posed as domestic tourists, paid a daily rental fee, presented a fake driver’s license or ID card, and driven away with the moped, never to be seen again.
Nusa Penida is now welcoming over 3,000 visitors every day. Most travelers visit for a day, though there are hundreds of different accommodation options on the island. Tourism providers are encouraging both domestic and international travelers to stay a little longer if they can. Once a penal colony, Nusa Penida is now one of the most popular areas for tourism within the province of Bali. The island is famous for its rugged clifftop views and marine biodiversity.
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