Bali mulls rock climbing ban, tourist harassment spate –

Bali mulls rock climbing ban, tourist harassment spate –

A drone’s view of Bali’s northern coast / joakimbkk/E+/Getty Images

Published Wednesday 2023.06.14 18:48 JST

(CNN) The governor of the Indonesian island of Bali has announced his intention to immediately ban mountaineering to protect the holy mountain after a series of incidents of nuisance by tourists visiting the holy mountain.

“Mountains are regarded as sacred, and if their sanctity is destroyed, it is tantamount to weakening the sanctity of Bali.” Bali Governor Wayan Coster emphasized at a press conference on May 31 that, apart from religious Apart from ceremonies and natural disasters, not only domestic and foreign tourists, but also local residents are not allowed to climb or trek.

Twenty-two mountains in Bali will be closed to climbers indefinitely.

While the governor did not mention penalties for violators, a group of foreigners in the area were deported and banned from entering Indonesia for six months.

Bali, known as the “Island of the Gods”, is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, but residents are frustrated by the constant harassment of foreigners.

Police have confirmed that a pornographic video was filmed in 2021 at Mount Batur, one of Bali’s holiest sites.

This year, a Russian tourist posted on social media a topless photo taken on top of Mount Agung, Bali’s tallest mountain, which is also considered a religious site. The man apologized and participated in the ritual, but on April 12, he was expelled from Bali and banned from entering Indonesia for at least six months.

Rock climbing and volcano tours are popular with travelers to Bali’s beaches, jungles and countryside. Jeep safari and volcano sunrise tours are particularly popular and provide a source of income for locals who act as drivers and guides.

While local residents welcomed the crackdown on the nuisance, the climbing ban erupted amid anger from guides, drivers and residents working in the tourism industry, including the management of accommodation facilities.

“I can understand and support the authorities to crack down on nuisances, but the governor should also think about us residents who are engaged in tourism. If strict bans prevent tourists from coming, it will be a disaster.” A local guide who runs mountaineering tours told America Cable TV News Network, “Bali is just starting to recover from the corona crisis, so now is not the time to choose tourists. Instead, I hope to introduce police patrols and fines.” Appeal.

For the governor’s proposed climbing ban to take effect, the local legislature must approve and enact the law.

The Indonesian government stated that the ban on mountaineering is still in the “deliberation” stage. Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said at a press conference on the 12th, “Several chiefs in Bali are still discussing the issue of banning mountaineering. Area. We are discussing This issue,” he said, adding, “Once a final decision is made, the governor of Bali will announce it.”

At the same news conference, the head of Bali’s tourism bureau stressed that he supports a ban on climbing. He said local mountain guides would become “contract workers” if the ban came into effect, adding: “We will not stop their adventures. We will provide solutions.”

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