Police in Bali have disclosed the details of the sheer volume of reports they are receiving about the behavior of some tourists on the island.
The news comes as officials on the Island of the Gods are cracking down on lawless and disrespectful behavior by foreigners on holiday.
Speaking at a press conference in Denpasar, the Head of Immigration Technology, Information and Communication (TIKIM) at the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office, Sandro Bobby Raymon Limbong, shared details of his team’s work over the last few months.
Data revealed that Ngurah Rai Immigration has received 4,366 formal complaints against foreigners in the first quarter of 2023 alone.
This resulted in 85 foreign nationals being deported.
Of those who were deported during the first quarter of 2023, 36 were due to violations of law, order, or cultural disrespect, and the other 49 people were deported due to overstaying their visas. In terms of a demographic breakdown, there were 26 Russian nationals deported from Bali, 12 US passport holders, 11 people from France, and 8 Australians.
Limbong explained, “In addition to providing immigration administrative measures in the form of deportation to 85 foreigners, and we also carried out detentions (restrictions on movement) to 61 foreigners.”
“In addition, throughout Q1 of 2023, Ngurah Rai Immigration has carried out pro-Justicia in 2 cases, namely the alleged use of fake passports.”
When asked about the impact of the island-wide effort to crack down on illegal activity on the island, Limbong suggested that the tides are turning.
He noted that arrivals from Russia have dropped to the tenth most frequent arrivals, with travelers from Australia still claiming the top spot.
He added, “Currently, the trend of increasing visits is from Indian foreigners. The character of these citizens is almost similar to ASEAN countries. They usually take a week’s vacation, and it’s really a pure holiday. They very rarely create problems.”
While there have been just under 100 deportations related to this current campaign by Ngurah Rai Immigration, there were still thousands of potential violations reported.
Data does show that 2,033 complaints about foreigners were made via Instagram media, 1,392 via call center, 745 via WhatsApp, 93 via Google Review, 31 via Twitter, 2 via SP4N Lapor, 35 via Facebook, 30 via Email, and 5 via immigration counters.
According to Limbong, the number of formal complaints against tourists has risen by 18% compared to the same period in 2022.
Earlier this year, at what felt like the height of the backlash against tourists, especially on social media, officials called on local residents to report violations by the correct channels.
It was getting to a point where many Bali residents felt that their complaints and observations of unruly tourists were not being taken seriously by officials.
This led to a surge in social media ‘vigilantism’ whereby residents were sharing videos online of tourists behaving badly so that the content would go viral and catch the attention of officials.
Eventually, officials were able to calm the situation. They released a statement to encourage residents to stop sharing videos of potentially criminal activity online and created a ‘no wrong door’ policy whereby residents could file formal reports at every level of island governance, whether at a village level, through to municipal and regency level and ultimately to the provincial authorities.
In light of the 18% increase in reportedly bad behavior by tourists in Bali, officials have implemented a series of educational and awareness campaigns to help stop bad behavior from happening in the first place.
This includes new rules and regulations information that is required reading for all international arrivals in Bali. Tourists must now scan a QR code on arrival.
The link takes tourists to an infographic containing the new famous do’s and don’ts of Bali, as outlined by Governor Koster.
It must be remembered that while there has been an 18% increase in reported bad behavior by tourists, this makes up a tiny fraction of the huge number of respectful and well-behaved tourists that arrive on the island every single day.
Currently, Bali Airpot is serving over 65,000 passengers every day, and the island is well on track to not only hitting but surpassing ambitious tourism targets for 2023.
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