Tourists can carry on bonking in Bali says govenor

The Bali Governor says tourists can carry on bonking when visiting the island and will not be prosecuted under a new law which criminalises sex outside of marriage in Indonesia.

Bali Governor Wayan Koster yesterday moved to ease concerns that Indonesia’s revised criminal code will damage the resort island’s lucrative tourism industry, reported Al Jazeera.

Koster said that people can only be prosecuted for sex outside of marriage following a complaint by a parent, spouse or child, a provision added to a stricter draft of the legislation to ensure “everyone’s privacy and comfortableness.”

The governor of Bali added that the authorities would not check the marital status of tourists and they can carry on bonking.

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“Bali is Bali as usual, which is comfortable and safe to be visited. Visitors will not be required to prove their marital status when checking into accommodation, and local officials will not carry out checks.”

Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, Indonesia’s Deputy Justice Minister, also promised foreigners would not be prosecuted.

“I want to emphasise for foreign tourists, please come to Indonesia because you will not be charged with this article.”

The 60 year old Bali chief also slammed scaremonger reports saying thousands of travellers had cancelled flights and hotel bookings because of the new legislation.

The new legislation has concerned Indonesia’s tourist operators while Australia, the biggest source of foreign tourists, is “seeking further clarity” about how its citizens could be affected.

Bali is mainly a Hindu island in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. The island, like Thailand, is seeking to lure back tourists after the Covid-19 pandemic which caused arrivals to plunge from 6.3 million in 2019 to just dozens in 2021.

Gary Bowerman, director of Kuala Lumpur-based travel and tourism research firm Check-in Asia, believes the new legislation will have a negative effect on tourism because tourism is heavily dependent on perceptions.

“That’s why destinations spend millions of dollars on campaigns to promote their attractiveness and uniqueness to visitors. The new criminal code could instil a negative perception, not only for fear of personal safety but also for travellers concerned about the rights of local people.

“The important thing to remember is that tourists have choices. If they feel that the new criminal code provides reasons not to visit Indonesia, they can book to go elsewhere. This is not a luxury shared by local people affected by the new criminal code.”

The United Nations and human rights groups have criticised the code, arguing it violates basic human rights and will disproportionately harm women, religious minorities, and LGBTQ+ people.

In addition to outlawing sex outside of marriage, the code also bans apostasy and makes it a crime to insult the president, state institutions, the national flag and the state philosophy of Pancasila.

The law is set to take effect in three years but could face legal challenges.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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