Bali has long been a favourite holiday destination for thousands of Aussies who are drawn to the island's laidback lifestyle, cheap beer and partying. But officials are cracking down on inappropriately dressed travellers and wild behaviour from tourists who continue to disregard local rules and customs.
Last year, Australians made up the largest proportion of arrivals to the Indonesian island with 352,000 visitors from January to September, according to Statista. But increasingly, Aussies have become notorious for causing chaos and disrespecting locals.
So much so the term 'Bali Bogans' was born, which often describes Aussies seeking a cheap and carefree holiday, with travellers usually chasing happy hour rather than sunsets. But the Bali Tourism Board is hoping to put an end to badly behaved tourists, announcing a new campaign designed to crack down on how foreigners act and dress, particularly around sacred and religious areas.
The plan was announced on Tuesday by Balinese officials and will involve using billboards to build awareness among visitors and educate tourists on how to behave in cultural settings. Bali Tourism Board chairman Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana said billboards would be distributed throughout popular locations including 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 manner, carrying out traffic activities and not doing things that are outside the provisions," he told The Bali Sun.
The billboards will have instructions and advice written in English, with campaigns in foreign languages likely to follow. Mr Adnyana explained the campaign will help develop Bali into a country that is not considered a destination for tourists to do whatever they want.
"Indeed, we are welcoming and accept everything. Guests are king but don’t abuse," Mr Adnyana said.
The tourism board said it will collaborate with influencers, tourism stakeholders and e-commerce businesses to help spread the message. The proposal has been tabled and officials are now awaiting public feedback.
Expert weighs in on changes to Bali
Travel expert Quentin Long said the move is not surprising and is a "logical step" as authorities try to "clean up" Bali and its image, with a particular focus on the "type of tourists it's attracting".
"Now they’re trying to make sure the tourists that are coming are behaving in the most appropriate way and culturally sensitive to Indonesian and Balinese cultural ways and more," he told Yahoo News Australia. But he predicts it may not have a huge impact on Aussie travellers just yet — not until, or if, officials decide to enforce it as a rule.
"Hopefully it will improve some behaviour of Australians who tend to get a bit loose in Bali, but I don’t think it’ll have a big impact just yet," he said. "Bali has always had a reputation for being a relatively free place to go and have a great time and that rep has been around since the 70s."
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.