Bali has long been a favorite holiday destination for thousands of Australians, drawn to the island’s laid-back lifestyle, cheap beer and parties. But officials are cracking down on improperly dressed travelers and wild behavior by tourists who continue to flout local rules and customs.
According to Statista, Australians accounted for the largest share of arrivals to the Indonesian island last year, with 352,000 visitors from January to September. But Aussies are increasingly notorious for causing chaos and disrespecting the locals.
Thus was born the term ‘Bali Bogans’, often used to describe Australians looking for a cheap and carefree holiday, with travelers typically chasing happy hour rather than sunsets. But the Bali Tourism Board hopes to put an end to badly behaved tourists and announces a new campaign aimed at cracking down on foreigners’ behavior and dress, particularly in sacred and religious areas.
Announced Tuesday by Balinese officials, the plan involves the use of billboards to raise visitor awareness and educate tourists on how to behave in cultural settings. Bali Tourism Board Chairman Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana said billboards would be distributed in popular spots like Kuta, Seminyak, Legian, Canggu, Ubud, Sanur, Nusa Dua and Uluwatu.
“The point is that tourists respect Balinese cultural customs by dressing well and neatly, following in an orderly fashion, engaging in traffic activities and not doing things that are out of regulation,” he told The Bali Sun.
The billboards will provide instructions and advice in English, with foreign language campaigns expected to follow. Mr Adnyana explained the campaign will help develop Bali into a country that is not seen as a destination for tourists who do as they please.
“Indeed, we welcome and accept everything. Guests are king, but don’t scold them,” Mr Adnyana said.
The tourism association said it will work with influencers, tourism stakeholders and e-commerce companies to spread the word. The proposal has been submitted and officials are now awaiting public feedback.
Expert weighs changes in Bali
Travel expert Quentin Long said the move was unsurprising and a “logical move” as authorities seek to “cleanse” Bali and its image, with a particular focus on the “type of tourists it attracts”.
“Now they are trying to ensure that the tourists who come behave in the most appropriate manner and are culturally sensitive to Indonesian and Balinese culture ways and more,” he told Yahoo News Australia. But he predicts it won’t have a major impact on Australian travelers just yet – not until or when officials decide to enforce it as a rule.
“Hopefully it will improve the behavior of Australians who tend to loosen up a bit in Bali, but I don’t think it will have a big impact just yet,” he said. “Bali has always had a reputation for being a relatively free place to have a great time, and that reputation has existed since the ’70s.”
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