As authorities crack down on unruly tourists in Bali, the government is stepping up enforcement of an existing rule applying to all travellers.
When renting out motorbikes in the popular holiday destination tourists must have an International Driving Permit (IDP), as well as a driver's licence from their own country.
It’s a pre-existing law, but up until now enforcement on the island has been lax with police often turning a blind eye to tourists renting a motorbike without the permit. Transportation officials say the law will be enforced to stamp out reckless behaviour on Bali's roads.
“In terms of international [law], people can drive vehicles but they must have a licence," Head of the Bali Department of Transportation, Samsi Gunarta, said at a recent conference, Coconuts Bali reports. "This is what needs to be ensured. If they don’t have [a driver’s licence] then they can’t [rent motorbikes].
“We have a problem of the many foreign tourists only wearing bikinis while driving rented motorbikes and driving them without understanding how to drive. Even if it’s difficult to fix this habit, we are trying to handle it.”
Statistics from Bali Police show that between February and March this year, 171 foreign nationals were fined for violations such as not wearing a helmet or not having a driver's licence, local media reports.
In March of this year, Bali Governor Wayan Koster initially threatened to totally ban tourists from renting motorbikes, however it seems things have now eased up a little.
Discussions around motorbike regulations for tourists will continue with Mr Gunarta saying the government is keen to hear from local motorbike rental agencies to get their thoughts, Coconuts reports.
Bali considers big change for tourists to clean up image
Another way Bali is considering cracking down on illegal behaviour is through a controversial 'tourist tax' — an idea floated previously.
Tourism bosses believe a tax of between US$30 and $100 ( $45 and $150) would allow Bali to deter badly behaved tourists or those who seek to work or stay illegally on the island, the Australian Financial Review reported last week. The Bali Tourism Board said the tax would prevent Bali from being known as "a cheap destination".
“Cheap destinations bring in cheap tourists who tend to cause a lot of problems," chairman Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana said.
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