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Indonesian Tourism Minister Refutes Accusation That Bali Has Been Colonized 

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Following a high-profile drug bust, more viral videos of tourists misbehaving, and the resort of Canggu being renamed on GoogleMaps as “New Moscow,” the Indonesian Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, refutes comments that Bali has been colonized. 

Minister Sandiaga Uno.jpg

In a press conference held on Monday, 27th May, Minister Uno issued statements regarding the lay of the land in Bali when it comes to foreigners behaving badly.

Minister Uno responded to comments made by many Bali lovers that the island is rapidly becoming colonized, if not in the sense of being politically colonized, but economically colonized.

Minister Uno once again doubled down on his commitment to hold foreigners to account if they break the rules; this goes for foreign tourists, foreign investors, and foreign business owners.

Minister Uno said, “Everyone has to follow, referring to the regulations that we have that these businesses must comply with the laws and regulations. They are also not allowed to take portions that are not allowed to be taken by foreign nationals, but they must be given work opportunities by local residents.”

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He continued to give assurances that the government would create comfortable conditions for local residents in Bali to be able to connect to their economy.

Nevertheless, Minster Uno acknowledges that there needs to be clearer, definite steps to strengthen business regulations for foreigners. He said, “So the key is enforcing the rules and enforcement or following up on findings if there are irregularities. So I don’t agree at all [with the narrative colonization].”

Minister Uno added, “The concrete step is strict enforcement of the law against law violators; there will be no tolerance, especially regarding employment opportunities, misuse of residence permits, and so on.”

“If he violates, and there have been several violations, the immigration authorities have coordinated with us. So we will not hesitate to deport them.”

The Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, Tjok Bagus Pemayun has also issued statement regarding dialogue online that Bali has become colonised. He told reporters that Balinese people also have a responsibility to protect their futures and their culture. 

Pemayun said, “Bali has a culture that we show in quotation marks to tourists so that we, the Balinese people, really look after Bali.”

“It’s not like we said we were colonizing, but those terms often appear. What is clear is that foreign tourists) must follow the regulations in Indonesia, and Bali in particular does not disturb the local community.”

While many have condemned and shared their frustrations that Bali would even be in a position where a beachside village such as Canggu could be branded as ”New Moscow’ many leaders agree with Sandiaga Uno’s previous comments that this should be used as an opportunity for growth. 


Minister Uno has previously said of Russian citizens in Bali, “They invest and carry out activities here; we want to ensure that everything has a positive economic impact and safeguards national interests.” 

Tourism lecturer at Bali’sBali’s Udayana University, Prof. Dr. Drs. I Putu Anom, told reporters, “This is a normal phenomenon because there are a lot of Russian tourists in Canggu; that’s why New Moscow was created there. But if you look at it now there is no change in the name, it still says Canggu Village. That’s just an illustration that there are a lot of Russian tourists in Canggu.”

Ariel View Of Canggu Bali

He added, ” In my opinion, this phenomenon can actually have two possibilities; it can be an opportunity and a threat. How tourists behave, if they obey the regulations it, will create an opportunity, if otherwise it will become a threat.”

Prof Anom continued, “The most important thing for this phenomenon to become an opportunity is from a monitoring perspective. The government must monitor documents so that foreign tourists do not overstay and have to stay in licensed accommodation. This must comply with the rules.” 


He concluded, “If his behavior likes to break the rules, it could damage relations between countries and make citizens uncomfortable. If local residents feel threatened, it is because the behavior of foreign tourists does not comply with the rules.”

“For example, opening a business will take over local residents’ business opportunities, while tourists are not allowed to do business. So it becomes a threat.”

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Mr Bear Snr

Sunday 2nd of June 2024

Someone is benefitting financially from all these Russian criminals. How have they been allowed to clear protected jungle areas and build small "Russian Only" villa villages? Our long time Balinese friends can't get any explanation from anyone.


Saturday 1st of June 2024

Ai, one day when he opens his door of his cave and hear native people only english speaking, then he realises that’s too late.


Friday 31st of May 2024

Always read the Bali news with interest - some with sadness at the various changes which are occurring - some which were needed, but others not so. The path being taken now is unfortunately not like the one taken in the 20-odd years (twice per year) we experienced with great enjoyment on each visit. Being so, we have decided not to return to Bali again, but instead will continue to enjoy those happy memories of those past visits and our association with so many of our Balinese friends - Terima kasih banyak

Ibu Dale


Friday 31st of May 2024

This is an example of extreme gentrification. As a foreigner, I believe there are too many foreigners who are allowed to do whatever they please simply because they have a lot of money. Again, money is more powerful than national sovereignty.

Aris P

Thursday 30th of May 2024

So our tourisn minister does support money laundering and blood money? We never forget this Pak Sandi. When you meeting with Russia developer at their seminar and take their money - remember you contribute to destroy Bali. We never forget this. You are a servant of Bali, of Indonesia. You serve us the people and now we make complain that your service is bad. We need change, if you not do it we make it happen. We say no to ilegal russia business, we say no to ilegal villa rental by WNA, it will stop - maybe you not stop it. We will and we will making sure we remember you do nothing.