Earlier this year, the Provincial Government of Bali, along with the Bali Tourism Board and Wonderful Indonesia launched an education awareness campaign to help eliminate bad behavior by tourists on the island.
Three months after the launch, reporters have been seeing how visits feel about the new rules.
Reporters interviewed a dozen tourists around Bali and asked for their feedback about the list of dos and Don’ts that foreigners must adhere to.
The educational awareness campaign and rules were introduced after a shocking rise in the number of tourists behaving illegally or in a culturally disrespectful way on the Island of the Gods.
One tourist from Russia, Micheal, told reporters that he received the do’s and don’ts pamphlet when he arrived at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International.
He explained, “I’ve been in Bali for two months. I’ve got the do’s and don’ts book. What I remember is, I can’t work in Bali, because I’m just a tourist.”
He shared his positive attitude towards the campaign, noting that the guide is of benefit to many tourists. He disagrees strongly with much of the behavior reported on foreigners acting up on the island.
He added, “Yeah, I think [the campaign] is good. So I think as long as we don’t do that (make trouble) we’ll be fine.”
Another tourist, Vicky from the United States, explained that she also received the do’s and don’ts booklet on arrival.
For her, the stand-out rule was about dressing modestly, especially in places of worship and sacred spaces.
She shared, “Our tour guides also often remind us of what we can and cannot do.”
Noting the amount of drunken behavior she had seen during her say she explained, “That shouldn’t be allowed. They should follow the rules. You have to respect other people’s culture of course.”
Deborah told reporters that she feels more should be done to make the list of do’s and don’ts obvious to tourists throughout their stays.
She believes that more billboards and signage should be in place so that foreigners have no excuse not to obey the law and cultural rules.
She said, “I think it’s been effective so far, but it could be even more so if it were installed in public places.”
Authorities in Bali are implementing a two-pronged approach to the issue.
They are both working to better educate tourists about what is and isn’t acceptable and are working to crack down hard on bad behavior by establishing better reporting mechanisms.
Earlier this week the Directorate General of Immigration launched a new smartphone app that allows tourist accommodation providers, tour guides, tourist attractions, and the general public to formally lodge reports against tourists violating the rules.
The app will also help immigration officials keep a closer eye on tourist movements. It is technically already the case that all accommodation providers must log the details of their guests for legal purposes.
But with so many illegally operating lodgings on the island, it is hard for immigration to get an accurate account of where everyone is all at the same time. Bali is currently welcoming over 18,000 people per day.
The Head of the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office, Ngurah Rai Sugito, explained that the Foreigner Reporting App (APOA) will help to improve the level ‘of supervision’ of tourists and expats on the island.
Sugito explained, “Thanks to reporting in APOA, we can quickly deal with foreigners who commit violations.”
Reports made via the app will be sent to the relevant authorities, whether that be the Bali Becik Tourism Task Force, Immigration Officers, the Police, or the Civil Service.
The app is just one of a number of ways concerned residents and tourists can make reports about foreigners breaking the law on the island. A newly launched hotline is another dedicated space for complaints, which can be reached on 08 139 9679 966.
It must be noted that while all efforts are going ahead to eliminate the small minority of badly behaved foreigners on the island, the vast, vast majority of visitors adhere to the simple rules and regulations and have a memorable and immersive experience on the Island of the Gods.
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