This year has seen more deportations of tourists from Bali than any other year. In previous years, tourists have been deported due to visa overstays or organized criminal activity.
In 2023, an increasing number of tourists deported from Bali this year have been sent home due to disrespecting local culture and public decency laws.
Speaking to reporters, the Head of the Badung Regency Civil Service, I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, outlines how his teams alone have recommended the deportation of forty foreigners between January and the end of September 2023.
The Civil Service Units (Saptol PP) are often the first to attend call-outs regarding foreigners behaving badly in Bali.
The Civil Service is equipped to deal with foreigners disturbing public peace, experiencing a mental health crisis, or violating cultural customs.
Police and Immigration teams, as well as officials from the Tourism Task Forces also attend incidents as frequently as possible, though they focus more on criminal cases. The crackdown on badly behaved tourists in Bali is a seriously big team effort.
The Badung Regency Civil Service has issued recommendations for the deportation of forty foreigners over the last nine months due to incidences that have occurred in the jurisdiction.
Bali is managed as nine regencies and Badung Regency is the busiest of them all in terms of tourism. Badung Regency includes resort destinations like Canggu, Seminyak, Legian, Kuta, Jimbaran, and Uluwatu.
Suryanegara told reporters, “We recommend [incidences] related to violations of regional regulations. Meanwhile, foreigners who are involved in criminal acts are the domain of the police.”
He added, “It is not impossible that this number will increase because the data still leaves several months until the end of the year. It is possible that the recommended number will still increase until the end of this year.”
He concluded, “We also hope that the community will participate in reporting foreigners who are acting up in their environment so that action can be taken immediately.”
As of the end of August, a total of 213 foreigners were deported from Bali, with more already in process. The tourists in question originated from countries including Australia, the UK, the USA, Russia, and Nigeria.
Suryanegara’s statements come as the Bali Civil Service has confirmed that they will be establishing a dedicated Tourism Saptol PP Team to conduct security and surveillance at key tourist attractions across the island.
This is in addition to the Bali Becik Tourism Task Force which is already in operation, this unit is mostly comprised of officers from the Bali police and immigration departments who deal with criminal acts.
The Tourism Saptol PP Team will be modeled on an existing unit in Surabaya. The team will be deployed to keep an eye on tourists in key areas where criminal and cultural violations have been taking place.
They will be tasked with communicating with tourists about what is and is expected of them and also be on hand to offer any assistance if needed.
The Tourism Saptol PP Team will be made up of civil service officers who have a good command of English and have a solid understanding of tourism in Bali.
Speaking last week at the announcement of the new team, the Chairman of the Badung Regency DPRD, Made Ponda Wirawan, explained why this approach is the best way forward, starting early next year.
He explained, “The 2024 plan can already be implemented in each region. We will assign people to each Tourist Attractions (DTW), and we will utilize the staff we have.”
Wirawan added, “We will prioritize busy tourist attractions first, for example Kuta Beach, Pandawa Beach and Pecatu. This means that there are at least two in South Kuta, two in Kuta, and two in North Kuta.”
So, do tourists planning their trips to Bali need to be worried about all these extra boots on the ground? In reality, not really!
As long as tourists respect both the law and local customs, they have nothing to worry about. Tourists may find themselves approached by members of the tourism task forces just for a chat.
Officers will be tasked with simply communicating and socializing with tourists to ensure that everyone is on the same page about behavior so that the island can continue to thrive as one of the world’s leading vacation destinations.