Foreign Tourists in Bali – Tax & Discipline
Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Bismar Pandjaitan, is fed-up with foreign visitors acting up and misbehaving in Bali and recommends new policies and regulations to rein in unruly foreigners upsetting public peace and order in Bali and the rest of Indonesia.
As reported by Balipost.com and Kompas.com, Minister Luhut recommends instituting a special tax on foreign tourists to finance infrastructure upgrades and tourism promotion.
The Minister’s latest “get tough” stance towards foreign visitors was announced after he viewed a video made on 15 March 2023 showing a shirtless and helmetless American tourist on a motorcycle abusing a group of policemen conducting roadside vehicle inspections. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
“I am asking a tourist tax soon be implemented for foreigners visiting Indonesia,” said Luhut during a coordination meeting on controlling international visitors in Bali held on 03 April 2023. Posting on his Instagram Account, the Coordinating Minister said the proposed tax, as similar taxes imposed in other countries, would be helpful in financing destination development and tourism promotion.
Continuing, Luhut recommends the Government soon create “disincentives” for specific foreign nationalities known to act in a problematic way. He sees such disincentives as necessary so that Indonesia can be more selective regarding foreign travelers they welcome to the Republic. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Elaborating further, Luhut described Bali as an inexpensive tourist destination. Because of this, he feels foreign low-income tourists are encouraged to come to the Island and disobey local norms and rules.
The Minister alluded to data from the Travel Tourism Development Index for 2021 that he claims foreign tourism expenditures in Indonesia are lower than other destinations promoting “quality tourism.”
“This problem increasingly persuades me that Bali must return to a more transformational map steering away from mass tourism to quality tourism,” said Luhut. In the meantime, the Coordinating Minister calls on all ministries and related agencies to urgently take stern action against foreign tourists who insult national institutions.
Adding: “We cannot allow anyone to ridicule Indonesia. We cannot remain quiet in the face of law violations, especially when this is augmented by insults leveled at national institutions. Soon, we will focus enforcement against violations of public order.” [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Luhut continued saying that if foreign tourists wish to enjoy the beautiful panoramas of Indonesia’s nature, these visitors must first understand and respect Indonesia’s cultural values, traditions, and the rule of law.
Before the call for a crackdown by the Minister, he viewed a video showing a foreign national verbally abusing a policeman working a roadside traffic check trying while ticketing the man for several violations of traffic laws. The video was uploaded to the Twitter account of @niluhdjelantik on Wednesday, 15 March 2023.
The foreigner, later identified as an American, was driving a motorcycle while failing to wear a helmet or a shirt. In the 45-second video, the American repeatedly screamed at the policeman: ”You wanna steal my money.” [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Tourists Following the Rules Can Drive
As reported by Kompas.com, the Bali Provincial Police have announced that they will not forbid foreign tourists from driving a motorcycle or other vehicle during an Island holiday, providing Law Number 22 of 2009 on Traffic and Transport is obeyed. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
The announcement from the Bali Police follows a statement by Bali Governor Wayan Koster forbidding foreign tourists from renting self-drive motorcycles or cars in an effort to improve public order and road safety.
The Head of the Bali Regional Police, Inspector General Putu Jayan Danu Putra, told the press on Friday, 17 March 2023:” Tourists can drive as long as traffic laws are obeyed. For instance, those driving on Bali’s roads must have a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration (STNK), and a matching license plate. If you follow all the rules, you can drive.”
It is assumed that the Police General meant a valid driver’s license for a tourist would be an international driver’s license.
General Jayan Danu Putra explained that the prohibition for tourists renting self-drive motorcycles is being advanced to enhance the future quality of the Island’s tourism industry. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Referring to Gubernatorial Regulation Number 28 of 2020 on Tourism Management, General Danu Putra said, “(In that regulation) proper tourists will always use vehicles provided by (formal) tourism service providers.” Bali’s top policeman said improving tourism quality requires time and all parties’ cooperation.
As reported by Balidiscovery.com earlier, the Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, had forbidden foreign tourists from renting and self-driving a motorcycle. The Governor is expected to follow up his pronouncement with a formal provincial regulation soon.
Koster announced the prohibition after numerous reports in the press and social media of disorderly behavior and traffic violations by foreign tourists in Bali. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Caution Urged: Plans to Revoke VoA Facility
The Indonesian Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna H. Laoly, is quoted by the State News Agency Antara, saying that the recommendation by Bali’s Governor for the Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) facility to be revoked for Ukrainian and Russian visitors to Indonesia.
Laoly reminded the future of the VoA for Russians and Ukrainians can only be determined after discussions with several interested parties.
The Minister’s comments were made during a visit to Nusa Dua on Friday, 31 March 2023. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
During his Bali visit, Yasonna H. Laoly said: “The Governor (Bali) has sent a letter, and any decision must be jointly made with several ministries and related agencies. Soon, I will invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Tourism, The Minister of Transportation, the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment, the Provincial Government of Bali, the Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA), and the Association of Hotels and Restaurants (PHRI) to consider a joint decision.”
The Minister said he could not unilaterally set VoA policy for Russian and Ukrainian citizens. Any decision to revoke this facility will affect the tourism sector and Indonesia’s bilateral relations with many nations. Adding: “Indonesian (tourism) is not only about Russia and Ukraine, and there are many other tourists, such as Australians. Because of this, we need to jointly discuss (any policy change) comprehensively.”
Addressing reports of many violations of the law by foreigners in Bali, Yasonna said that immigration officials, provincial police, and provincial authorities are participating in monitoring teams (Timpora) and supervising and taking action against problematic foreigners. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Earlier, Bali Governor Wayan Koster recommended to the Minister of Law and Human Rights and the Minister of Foreign Affairs the revocation of the VoA facility for Russian and Ukrainian tourists.
Bali authorities have claimed that many Russians are actively evading the military draft in their homeland by extending their stay on the Island.
Governor Koster also insists that many Ukrainian and Russian visitors to Bali use the VoA to work illegally and violate other local laws. Koster alleges that law violations by Russians and Ukrainians far exceed those committed by nationals of other countries. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
]Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice for Russia, Konstantin Anatolievich Chuychenko, has separately stated that the availability of the VoA for Russian visitors to Indonesia not only eases tourist travel but also facilitates international cooperation, especially in areas such as law enforcement actions against international crime.
The Russian state minister pointed out that the number of Russian tourists now visiting Indonesia is less than that in the pre-pandemic period.
Pledging he was ready to help promote Russian tourism to Indonesia, Chuychenko said the close friendship between Russia and Indonesia obliged his Country to do all possible so tourism visitor numbers could be soon doubled. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Rapid growing list of reports of Russians misbehaving in Bali
Adding to the growing list of reports of Russians misbehaving in Bali is news of a group of more than seven foreign tourists who climbed to the volcanic crater of Sacred Mount Agung on the morning of Saturday, 18 March 2022. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Major national news sites and Bali websites, including detik.com, report that a Russian tourist marked the occasion of his successful climb by pulling down his trousers and raising his arms in a victory salute.
His naked “triumph” was photographed and posted to social media.
The peak of Mount Agung is an active volcano and the highest point in Bali, measuring 3,031 meters above sea level. A stratovolcano, Mount Agung is held sacred by devout Balinese who view the Mountain’s peak as the central axis or umbilical of the universe. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Bali’s most sacred religious site – Pura Agung Besakih, is a temple situated high on the slopes of the Mountain.
The 1963-64 eruptions of Mount Agung directly killed between 1,500 – 2,000 people while also precipitating widespread starvation in the months that followed.
The 16 May 1963 cataclysmic explosion added to the mystic regard in which Mount Agung is held when pyroclastic flows claimed 200 lives, many of whom were praying at a mountainside religious ceremony and were covered by molten ash. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Miraculously The lava flow diverted at the last moment and made a detour around Puri Agung Besakih.
While lesser temples abound in every area of Bali, Pura Agung Besakih is inarguably the “Mother Temple” of all Balinese Hindus who visit the sacred site at least once yearly.
I Wayan Widi Yasa, the coordinator for climbing and trekkers at Mount Agung, said the errant group ascended the volcano without the required company of official guides via the Pengubengan Trail in Desa Besakih. Due to their failure to enlist a local guide’s mandatory services, the tourists’ names were not recorded in the official climber registration book. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
“Based on reports from traders working on the Pengubengan Trail, a group of foreigners estimated to be more than seven climbed the mountain on Saturday, 18 March 2023, when no guards were on duty to enforce climbing protocols,” explained Widi Yasa.
The climbers are believed to have camped on the top of Mount Agung and descended the Mountain on Sunday, 19 March 2023. Widi Yasa, referring to postings on social media, said he thought the group comprised Russian tourists.
Balipost.com confirms that the Criminal Cybercrime Division of the Bali Police is gathering information on the climbers pursuant to any eventual criminal complaint.
Widi Yasa, reflecting the view and mood of many area residents, said he was extremely disappointed by the actions of the group of climbers on the peak of sacred Mount Agung. He underlined his comments, saying the official guides of Mount Agung have steadfastly tried to preserve the sanctity of Mount Agung, particularly by preventing acts by climbers that disregard the sacred status of the Mountain.
“We feel these climbers tricked us. We hope the authorities will soon locate the perpetrators and depart them from Indonesia,” said Widi Yasa.
Meanwhile, bali.tribunenews.com quotes the chairman of the Hindu High Council (PHDI), Nyoman Kenak, who characterized the incident as both insulting Bali and disrespectful of the sacred nature of Mount Agung. Adding, “Foreigners, or anyone who cannot value Balinese culture, must experience a strong rebuke. If these people are foreigners, deport them!” [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Kuta Beach Bali to Reduce Beach Traders
NusaBali.com reports that the Traditional Village Authority on Kuta Beach in Bali has concluded that too many traders working on the seashore detract from tourists’ enjoyment of the iconic beach area.
Village authorities plan to substantially reduce the number of traders on the beach. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
New rules to regulate the number of beach traders are now being finalized. I Wayan Wasista, the Traditional Village Chief for Kuta (Bendesa), said he is targeting the new rules to be in place by April-May this year.
Speaking on Sunday, 19 March 2023, Wasista explained that all beach traders had been assigned numbers; only traders able to show their official numbers would be allowed to work on the beach. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
The Village Chief said reducing the number of traders on Kuta Beach is necessary due to overcrowding and the reduction of the beach area due to natural erosion of the shoreline. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Wasista said the total number of traders working on Kuta Beach is around 1,168. “The current number of traders is not conducive. If these numbers increase, we’ll have traders fighting over clients,” said the village chief.
When asked what represents an ideal number of traders on Kuta Beach, Wasista suggests the number should be at most 800. That number, he said, can be adjusted further due to observations in the field. Crowding on the beach, he said, is made more acute by the large number of surfing lesson purveyors working the shoreline. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
The local village administration is promising sanctions against traders who fail to follow the rules or exhibit unethical behavior towards beach visitors. Sanctions can include simple warnings or losing their “seller registration,” that allows traders to work the beach.
“If the image of Kuta Beach is damaged, who will come? Therefore, firm action is needed,” said Wasista. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
A formal announcement from FIFA on Wednesday, 29 March, dashed Indonesia’s ambitions to host the U-20 World Cup 2023, scheduled from 20 May until 11 June 2023.
The announcement to cancel Indonesia’s hosting of the World Cup was made following a meeting between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and President of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Erick Thohir, in Doha, Qatar.
According to FIFA, the decision to remove Indonesia as host of the 2023 World Cup was taken “due to current circumstances.” FIFA plans to retain the original dates for the World Cup 2023, with a new host location to be announced in the coming days. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
FIFA indicates that possible sanctions against the Indonesian Soccer Federation (PSSI) ” may be decided at a later stage.”
Bali has placed itself at the epicenter of global controversy after Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster issued a letter on 14 March 2023 calling for Indonesia to ban the Israeli U-20 Team from participating in the World Cup in Indonesia and, by extension, rejecting the Israeli players from playing any matches in any World Cup matches in Bali.
In October 2019, Indonesia won an international hard-fought bidding competition to host the games at stadia in Jakarta, South Sumatra, West Java, Central Java, East Java, and Bali. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo subsequently joined the Bali Governor’s rejection of the U-20 World Cup Matchplay on the pretext of their rejection of participation by the Israeli Team. Pranowo and Koster are PDI-P politicians, a party led by Indonesia’s former President Megawati Soekarnoputri.
Despite Indonesia’s failure to fulfill the terms of its hosting sponsorship of the U-20 World Cup, FIFA says it “remains committed to actively assisting the PSSI, in close cooperation and with the support of the government of President Widodo, in the transformation process of Indonesian football following the tragedy that occurred in October 2022.” [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
FIFA’s President said members of the FIFA team would continue to be present in Indonesia in the coming months and will provide any required assistance to PSSI under PSSI President Thohir.
The sudden cancellation of the U-20 hosting will cost Indonesia both financially and in terms of its national reputation.
Regional governments have invested substantially in creating match venues and other facilities. A global sporting event, the now-canceled World Cup, was anticipated to aid Indonesia’s recovering tourism sector by drawing thousands of athletes, officials, and eager spectators to the 3-week-long support.
Governor Koster defended his letter, which precipitated the cancellation of the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia, insisting his actions were “holistically considered” and “everything had been calculated” before the letter was sent.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has tried to “walk back” Governor Koster’s statement via a televised address in which he emphasized that the hosting of the World Cup, including the participation of the Israeli Team, does not detract from Indonesia’s condemnation and rejection of Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinian people.
The President stated that the Indonesian Constitution rejects colonialism in any form. At the same time, he rejected the action of Bali’s Governor, insisting that politics and sports must not be mixed.
The President also pointed out that the Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia, Zuhair Al-Shun, had given his blessing to Indonesia’s hosting of the U-20 World Cup with the Palestinian Ambassador stating that he did not doubt Indonesia’s support for Palestine remains “firm and strong” and would not be detracted the hosting of the sporting event.
Just hours after The Indonesian President Issued his assurances, FIFA decided to end PSSI’s hosting of the U-20 World Cup. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
U-20 World Cup Fiasco: Insight & Analysis
Kompas.com, Indonesia’s leading news portal, has published a devastatingly insightful analysis of FIFA’s dramatic cancellation of the U-20 World Cup from Indonesia under an article published with the headline “When Political Gimmicks Get out of Hand Resulting in a Blunder some Cancellation of the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia.”
While the International Football Federation’s (FIFA) Governing Board did not explicitly state the reason why Indonesia’s hosting of the prestigious U-20 World Cup was canceled, the withdrawal of the games coincided with a much-publicized letter from the Governor of Bali calling on the Central Government to ban the Israeli U-20 Team from their rightful qualification to participate in the Indonesian-based World Cup. Governor Kosters move received the immediate backing of Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
While several regional leaders, political parties, and public organizations (ormas) have joined the hardline anti-Israeli stance on Indonesia’s hosting of the U-20, the lion’s share of the media’s spotlight is now focused on the Governor of Bali Wayan Koster, the Governor of Central Java Ganjar Pranowo, and the PDI-P Political Party headed by former Indonesian president Megawati Soekarnoputri.
Political posturing? The Executive Director of the Institute for Democracy and Strategic Affairs (Indostrategic), Ahmad Khoirul Umam, speaking on Friday, 31 March 2023, said he suspects there are parties trying to play politics in the planned hosting of the U-20 World Cup.
These efforts, Uman postulates, were pursued for political profit on a personal level by specific individuals. Adding: “Yesterday, President Jokowi said that sports should not be linked with politics; that is a naïve stance. Obviously, some want to play politics.” [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
The Kompas.com article alleges that FIFA’s decision did not reflect the political agenda of certain political provocateurs who were perhaps only seeking to ban Israeli athletes from Indonesia. Instead, their actions have precipitated widespread public anger against those seen as having cost the Nation the hard-fought bid to host the U-20 World Cup.
Umam, The Indostrategic Director, concludes that the “provocateurs were careless, too engrossed in playing political tricks, failing to anticipate FIFA’s reaction and persuade them to embrace their domestic political aspirations.” Continuing,
Umam said that Ganjar Pranowo and Wayan Koster need help to understand the dilemma’s context but prefer to play gimmicks to prevent the Israeli team from participating in the U-20 World Cup.
Umam characterized Central Java Governor Ganjar as trying to portray himself as a PDI-P loyalist embracing the political philosophy of Indonesia’s first president Soekarno.
The Chief Executive for Central Java wants to show he cares about Palestine’s struggle and humanitarian issues. He hoped that the U-20 World Cup Competition would continue in Indonesia, but with Israel excluded from participating. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
FIFA’s reaction, however, was quite different from that sought by Indonesian politicians. Suddenly, Indonesia was removed from hosting the U20 World Cup by FIFA. Umam depicted FIFA’s response: “Not only a slap in the face to the Jokowi government, but Ganjar’s public stance also left the Central Java Governor branded by some as a ‘gimmicky leader’ who does not understand the strategic context of the Jokowi government’s policies.”
Despite widespread online public mockery being heaped on Governor Ganjar and Governor Koster, Umam said President Joko Widodo has refrained from criticizing the two Governors. The President has seen their acts as not reflective of their attitude but as something done at the urging of the PDI-P political party. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Umam continued, “If this is the case, it is unlikely that Jokowi will take revenge on Ganjar because the maneuver seems little more than a gimmicky political strategy.” Although Indonesia is a democracy, Umam does not rule out the possibility that Ganjar and Koster’s public posings are part of a larger political agenda operated by the party whose logo is an angry bull with a white snout (PDI-P), led by Megawati.
The political observer and respected academic questioned if the PDI-P miscalculated in using the incident to ward off any possible accusations that the ruling political party was pro-Israel. Moreover, the party led by former Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri also wants to show its commitment to Soekarno’s anti-colonial values.
Depicting the anti-Israeli move as intended to attract positive support from Muslims, nationalist voters, and the PDI-P electorate, Umam added: “This means that Jokowi already understands the strategy, but there were miscalculations regarding FIFA’s stance and reactive decision (to cancel Indonesia from hosting the U20 World Cup).” [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Umam, the political strategist and analyst, thinks Governor Ganjar’s future electability as an aspiring presidential candidate suffered damage from the recent political maneuverings. Umam postulates that Ganjar, the leading contender for presidential office in Central Java, is viewed, particularly by young voters and football fans, as the man to blame for Indonesia losing the precious right to host the U-20 World Cup.
Umam, who also serves as a Paramadina University lecturer, says Ganjar needs to find arguments that will mitigate his culpability in the damage inflicted on Indonesia’s football aspirations.
Ganjar has spoken out about canceling Indonesia as the host of the U20 World Cup by FIFA. The Governor of Central Java admitted he was disappointed. “Yo, I’m disappointed. Our people have prepared (for the World Cup) from the start,” said Ganjar on Thursday, 30 March 2023. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Asked about netizens who are now attacking him on social media because he is considered the reason for the cancellation of the U20 World Cup in Indonesia, Ganjar does not question this assertion. According to him, he made a risky decision. “Always, it’s a risky decision. If you want, attack Ganjar, but don’t attack my wife, don’t attack my child,” he said.
Ganjar accepts the anger of people commenting on social media blaming him for the loss of the U-20 World Cup for Indonesia. Depicting the public outcry and outrage as “a risk of any decision.” Adding: “Please attack Ganjar, but don’t attack my wife; don’t attack my children.” [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Separately, Bali Governor I Wayan Koster said he saw the revocation of Indonesia’s hosting role for the U-20 World Cup creates a new moment to build an atmosphere of safety, security, and peace for Indonesian football’s future. Although he did refuse to receive the Israeli Soccer Team in Bali, the Governor admits he had no desire to see Indonesia lose the host role for the World Cup.
In response, Ganjar is now doubling-down, calling on FIFA to expel Israel from FIFA membership ending their participation in the U-20 World Cup. “This is similar to when the Russian team was banned from World Cup play in Qatar in 2022,” explained Koster.
The Secretary-General of the PDI-P Party, General Hasto Kristiyanto, has come to the defense of Ganjar and Koster. Praising the firmness and resolve shown by the two men in opposing Israel’s participation at the U-20 World Cup in Bali, Hasto says “that within the context of choosing a candidate for a leadership in the legislature, ministers, president, and vice presidents – the people want a solid leader,” said Hasto on Thursday, 30 March 2023.
According to Hasto, his party regrets and is saddened by FIFA’s decision to cancel Indonesia from hosting the U20 World Cup. He said the PDI-P never wanted that.
However, Hasto insists that his party’s stance against refusing the Israeli National Soccer Team was based on the constitution and history. He denied that PDI-P’s stance was related to political agendas, let alone electoral interests. [Main Article: Foreign Tourists in Bali]
Bali Bans Israel from World Beach Games
Kompas.com and Beritabali.com confirm that Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster has formally refused to accept Israeli athletes scheduled to travel to Bali to participate in the ANOC World Beach Games 05-12 August 2022.
The Governor defends the rejection of the Israeli athletes conforms as being in conformance with the Indonesian Constitution and Regulations issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The decision, which places the future of the Olympic Sanctioned ANOC World Beach Games in doubt, comes after Koster’s decision to ban the Israeli team in the U-20 World Cup from playing in Bali caused The International Soccer Federation (FIFA) to remove the World Cup from Indonesia. The U-20 World Cup was originally set to be held in six Indonesian cities from 20 May until 11 June 2023.
Bali’s Governor reminds that Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with the State of Israel. Regulations issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explicitly forbid using or displaying the flag, national emblem, national anthem, or other attributes of the State of Israel.
Based on successful participation in qualifying rounds of play, Israel has earned the right to send athletes to Bali to participate in open ocean swimming and 3×3 beach basketball competitions.
With the Governor of Bali refusing to host Israeli athletes, the ANOC World Beach Games organizers must now decide if the Bali Beach Games can proceed with the Israeli national team banned from play.
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