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Indonesia’s “island of the gods” plans to enact some rules that may make it feel a bit less heavenly for foreign travelers.
Bali governor Wayan Koster said in a March 12 press briefing that his government plans to crack down on foreign tourists who work illegally on the island – which could potentially include “digital nomads.”
In addition, Koster said tourists will no longer be allowed to rent motorbikes, which are a popular way to get around the island.
He told reporters from multiple outlets, including CNN Indonesia, that tourists would be restricted to using cars for travel around the island.
Koster said that foreigners riding motorcycles without valid paperwork and helmets, driving recklessly, using fake Indonesian ID cards or abusing residence and work permits would be targeted.
Bali, a predominantly Hindu island within a majority Muslim country, has long been a popular destinations for backpackers and beach lovers.
But local-versus-tourist relations came to a head during the coronavirus pandemic.
Two self-described influencers and content creators, Josh Paler Lin and Leia “Lisha” Se, ran afoul of Balinese officials when one painted a fake blue face mask on the other for a YouTube stunt.
The video went viral and quickly generated backlash from locals and foreigners alike.
In April 2021, the pair made an apology video featuring their attorneys, but were deported to their native countries.
In another development, controversial new laws were announced by the national government in Jakarta in December that will makes it illegal for non-married couples cohabit or have sex, however Koster has said they will not affect visitors or foreign residents.
In his speech this week, the governor blamed the pandemic for slowing down progress on the island, which is heavily reliant on tourism.
The island reopened to vaccinated tourists from 19 countries, including China, France and New Zealand, in October 2021. Currently, citizens of 86 countries are eligible for visas on arrival on the island.