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Indonesian Minister refutes claims of Bali’s economic colonization

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at sunrise, Bali, Indonesia

Minister Sandiaga Uno denies Bali’s economic colonization claims, emphasizing strict regulation enforcement for tourists and businesses to protect local interests.

In response to recent controversies, including a high-profile drug bust, viral videos of misbehaving tourists, and the renaming of Canggu to “New Moscow” on Google Maps, Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, has firmly denied claims that Bali is being economically colonized.

During a press conference on Monday, May 27th, Minister Uno addressed concerns about the behavior of foreigners in Bali. He responded to assertions from many long-time Bali enthusiasts that the island is experiencing a form of economic colonization.

Sandiaga UnoMinister Uno reiterated his commitment to holding foreigners accountable for any violations of local laws, emphasizing that this applies to tourists, investors, and business owners alike.

“Everyone must comply with our regulations,” Minister Uno stated, emphasizing that businesses must adhere to Indonesian laws and regulations. “Foreign nationals are not permitted to take roles that are not allowed by law, but they should provide employment opportunities to local residents.”

He assured that the government is committed to creating an environment where local residents can thrive economically.

However, Minister Uno acknowledged the need for clearer and more robust regulations for foreign businesses. “The key is enforcing the rules and addressing any irregularities. I do not agree at all with the narrative of colonization,” he stated.

Minister Uno also highlighted the government’s strict stance on law enforcement. “There will be no tolerance for law violations, especially regarding employment opportunities and misuse of residence permits. Immigration authorities are coordinating with us, and we will not hesitate to deport violators.”

Tjok Bagus Pemayun, Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, also commented on the online discussions about Bali being colonized. He stressed that Balinese people have a responsibility to protect their future and culture. “Bali has a culture that we share with tourists, and it is our duty to preserve it.”

Pemayun added, “Foreign tourists must follow Indonesian regulations and ensure they do not disturb the local community.”

Despite frustrations over Canggu being branded as “New Moscow,” many leaders agree with Minister Uno’s view that this situation should be seen as an opportunity for growth. Minister Uno previously noted, “Russian citizens invest and carry out activities here; we want to ensure these have a positive economic impact and safeguard national interests.”

Prof. Dr. Drs. I Putu Anom, a tourism lecturer at Bali’s Udayana University, noted that the influx of Russian tourists in Canggu is a normal phenomenon. “While Canggu is nicknamed ‘New Moscow’ due to the high number of Russian tourists, the name officially remains Canggu Village.”

Prof. Anom explained that this phenomenon presents both opportunities and threats. “If tourists comply with regulations, it can create opportunities. Otherwise, it can become a threat.”

He emphasized the importance of government monitoring to ensure tourists do not overstay their visas and that they stay in licensed accommodations. “Non-compliance with rules by tourists can damage international relations and make local residents uncomfortable. If tourists engage in business activities, it can threaten local business opportunities,” he concluded.

The discussion around Bali’s economic landscape highlights the delicate balance between welcoming foreign investment and protecting local interests, emphasizing the need for strict adherence to regulations and effective governance.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Articles

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.