Will Indonesia’s new criminal code adversely impact its tourism sector?

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Bali
(IO/Muhammad Hidayat)

Jakarta, IO – Tourism is an important sector for Indonesia, especially Bali as the country’s premier tourist destination. With the passage of the new criminal code (KUHP), controversies have sprung up, especially with regard to the extramarital sex ban provision. Many are calling it to be reviewed.

“Anyone who lives together as husband and wife outside of marriage is subject to imprisonment for a maximum of 1 (one) year or a maximum fine of category II,” reads Article 412(1) which bans cohabitation.

Many feared that the new criminal code will repel foreign tourists, especially from Australia, which tops the list of countries with most travellers to Bali. Already, the passage of the law has been widely reported in Australia, where a number of media cheekily dubbed it the “Bali bonk ban.”

Bali Hotel General Managers Association (IHGMA) chairman Yoga Iswara expressed his concern that foreign tourists would misinterpret this regulation. According to him, this will harm the national tourism sector which is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. In October, Australian tourists visiting Bali has reached 88,660.