After several cases of bad behavior by holidaymakers on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, the local governor wants to have the holy mountains closed to tourists. According to his plans, ascents will soon be completely banned - not only for foreigners, but also for Indonesian visitors. In a statement, Governor I Wayan Koster described vacationers dancing naked on Mount Batur and posing half-naked on Mount Agung. Both mountains are volcanoes that are sacred to Balinese culture.
"These are no ordinary places," emphasized Koster. "These are places that must be preserved and protected in terms of their sanctity." He wants to issue a corresponding regulation for all mountains on the Indonesian holiday island. It is not known when the ban will come into force and how it will be enforced.
Especially the Batur and the Agung have been popular destinations so far. The proposal is therefore met with resistance from politicians, activists and employees in the tourism industry. They warn that a ban would deprive many Balinese of their livelihood and severely affect the important industry. "We have families, that's how we earn our money," said a mountain guide.
Deputy provincial government spokesman Tjok Gde Asmara Putra Sukawati urged Koster to reconsider the plan. He suggested not banning tourists from climbing, but making it compulsory to hire local mountain guides. They were then tasked with educating vacationers about the importance of the mountains and how to behave properly, he told local news site Detik Bali.
Just a few days ago, the regional government published a guide with the applicable rules of conduct for the island (read more here). It is handed out to all travelers at the airport and stapled into their passport together with the visa. Also known as the "Island of the Gods", Hindu Bali is known for its unique culture.