Don’t stop coming to Bali, hotel bosses plead


bali padang beach indonesia
Photo: TMFalkner/Wikimedia Commons

Bali tourism officials have urged tourists to continue their Indonesian travel plans after global outrage at proposed sex laws.

The “draconian” new laws would, among many other things, ban consensual sex outside of marriage in Indonesia, and as a result criminalise all homosexual sex.

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The proposals were unveiled last week but after global outrage President Joko Widodo quickly backed down, saying they would be delayed for further review.

Now the Bali Hotels Association is urging tourists to “stay calm and continue their activities as usual” after outcry among Australian travellers.

“Based on various feedback, the President of the Republic of Indonesia and the Indonesian Parliament have agreed to indefinitely postpone the bill with those new regulations,” the association said in a statement.

The Bali Hotels Association stressed the unwed sex law “is still a recommendation”.

“[The law] has not yet formally been issued and cannot be enforced,” they said.

More than one million Australians holiday in Bali every year, contributing millions to the local economy.

Violent protests across Indonesia over new laws

Human rights groups have slammed the proposed bill, which extensively overhauls Indonesia’s criminal code, as “disastrous” for millions of Indonesians.

The changes would ban consensual sex between unmarried adults in the Muslim-majority country. It would also make unmarried couples living together illegal.

The laws don’t mention same-sex conduct but with no same-sex marriage in Indonesia gay relationships would be effectively illegal.

But even after Widodo’s delay, the proposals have sparked violent protests outside the country’s parliament.

Last Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs upgraded its official travel advice for Indonesia. It warned Bali tourists of the future risks should the revised laws pass.

The Smart Traveller website states the laws would only come into effect two years after the government passes the legislation.

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The advice recommends travellers “exercise a high degree of caution” across Indonesia.

Homosexuality is not illegal in most of Indonesia. However over the last few years anti-LGBTIQ rhetoric and violence against LGBTIQ people has risen, rights groups say.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.