Bali’s Sex Ban Outside Marriage Won’t Affect Tourism Officials Say


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Bali Ubud

Authorities have confirmed that international tourists to Bali would not be affected by Indonesia’s contentious sex laws.

According to Balinese governor Wayan Koster, “based on the provisions of the new Indonesian criminal code, visitors who visit Bali would not need to worry.” This is because “no checks on marital statuses at tourist accommodations like hotels, villas, guest houses, or spas,” nor inspections by public officials or community groups will be conducted.

The global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic caused severe economic devastation in several popular tourist destinations, including Bali.

After the pandemic’s initial wave of fear subsided, tourists from across the world began returning to the island’s popular resorts, despite initial concerns that the country’s new criminal law would discourage tourists and harm the country’s international reputation.

Last week, lawmakers in Indonesia added contentious new provisions to the country’s criminal code, which dates back to the colonial era and has generated worries about rights and privacy throughout the world.

How the new code’s sex and marriage restrictions would affect foreign visitors was a topic of widespread interest, and Wayan addressed those concerns.

Comfortable and secure travel to Bali is “business as usual,” he added. “We look forwards to greeting guests with our Balinese hospitality and warn all parties not to give incorrect claims on the Indonesian criminal law that can disrupt Bali tourism,” he continued.

His comments mirrored an official explanation made last week by government spokesperson Albert Aries, who stressed that international investors and travellers “did not have to worry” about persecution under the rules.

He reassured us that “there’s really nothing to worry about” because people’s privacy is still protected by law.

The new criminal law has never mandated that businesses in the tourist industry check about a customer’s marital status, and there are no known plans to do so.

Officials had previously stated that the new law, which forbids adultery, cohabitation before marriage, and apostasy, would also apply to international residents and visitors.

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