HomeNewsLocal Tourism Chiefs Expect Indonesian 'Bonk Ban' to Hit Visitor Numbers

Local Tourism Chiefs Expect Indonesian ‘Bonk Ban’ to Hit Visitor Numbers

Indonesia’s tourist industry chiefs have slammed the country’s ban on unmarried couples having sex as “counter-productive”, warning that the ruling could damage visitor numbers.

Indonesia’s government, this week, passed a law banning sex outside of marriage, ruling it punishable by a year in prison. Unwed couples living together could also be jailed for 6 months.

While some have pointed to the loophole that complaints can only be formally reported by family and people close to the couples and that the laws won’t come into effect for another three years, others have said the news is enough to scare off tourists from the country.

The laws cover everyone from residents to in-bound holidaymakers.

The deputy chief executive of Indonesia’s tourism industry board, Maulana Yusran, told Sky News that the ruling would damage the country’s tourism offering, which is only starting to recover from the Covid pandemic.

He described the ruling as “totally counter-productive”.

“We deeply regret the government have closed their eyes. We have already expressed our concern to the ministry of tourism about how harmful this law is,” he told Sky News.

The fresh ruling is a revision from laws voted in three years ago, which resulted in violent protests.

Back then, Australians – a huge proportion of Indonesia’s annual visitor numbers – were warned not to travel to the country.

The new laws have been christened “the bonk ban” in Australia.

A record 1.23 million Australians visited Indonesia – particularly Bali – in 2019.

Indonesia’s in-bound visitor numbers have slowly recovered this year, back up to nearly half a million by mid-summer.

However, Human Rights Watch has warned that the new laws will “blow up Bali’s tourism”.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.
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