Indonesia’s sex ban deters visitors, but residents are at risk

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indonesia's sex ban deters visitors, but residents are at risk

The recently passed Indonesian criminal code will not endanger visitors to Bali, according to the island’s governor, who dismissed worries that amended regulations criminalizing sexual activity outside of marriage may deter tourists from visiting the island.

The Indonesian parliament enacted the contentious measure prohibiting cohabitation between unmarried couples last week.

In an effort to reassure tourists, Bali’s governor Wayan Koster stated in a statement on Sunday that the new regulations, which will take effect in three years, will only be enforced if a parent, spouse, or kid files a complaint.

Those who “visit or reside in Bali” will not be affected by the implementation of the Indonesian Criminal Code, he claimed.

The governor stated that the criminal code’s rules on this matter had been modified from an earlier, tougher version so as to “give a better guarantee of everyone’s privacy and comfort.”

Wayan stated that the government of Bali will ensure there is no marital status check during check-in at any tourism accommodation, including hotels, villas, apartments, guest houses, lodges, and spas.

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Wayan also refuted what he described as “hoax” reports of cancellations of flights and hotel room bookings, adding that data from travel agents, tour and accommodation operators, as well as airlines, indicated an increase in the number of people scheduled to visit Bali from December 2022 to March 2023.

The tourist organization aims for international visitors on the mostly Hindu island to achieve pre-pandemic levels of six million per year by 2025. Bali is the tourism hub of Indonesia. Legislators lauded the passing of the criminal code as a long-overdue modernization of a relic of Dutch colonial control. Officials assert that it seeks to protect “Indonesian values” in the largest Muslim-majority nation in the world.

Maulana Yusran, deputy chairman of Indonesia’s tourist industry board, stated last week that the new rule was “completely counter-productive” as the economy and tourism were beginning to recover from the epidemic.

The United Nations has also raised worry on dangers to civil freedoms posed by the penal code, which includes rules that make insulting the president, the national flag, and state institutions illegal.

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