Bali Governor Proposes Ban on Tourists Renting Motorbikes and Lifting Visa-on-Arrival for Russian and Ukrainian Nationals
Bali’s tourism industry has recently been in the spotlight due to social conflicts and controversies involving foreign tourists. To address these issues, Bali Governor I Wayan Koster has proposed a ban on tourists renting motorbikes in Bali and lifting visas-on-arrival (VoA) for Russian and Ukrainian nationals who wish to visit the Island of the Gods.
The proposed ban on renting motorbikes is a result of the many instances of tourists riding on two-wheeled vehicles without following the rules. Many tourists do not wear helmets, do not have driver’s licenses, and wear inappropriate clothing. The governor believes that tourists must travel on the road using cars from travel agents and not use vehicles that are not from travel agents. In this way, the governor hopes to improve the tourism system by promoting a better tourism culture.
The lifting of visas for Russian and Ukrainian tourists is a response to reports of abuses committed by foreign nationals in the two countries. Some foreigners visit Bali under the guise of a tourist visit but instead stay and work illegally. Governor Koster attributes this to the conflicting situation in their countries, forcing them to seek comfort elsewhere.
The potential impact of the VoA repeal on Russian and Ukrainian tourists is significant. The number of tourists from Russia and Ukraine has steadily increased since March 2022, with Russian tourists being the second-largest contributor to tourist visits to Bali in January 2023, behind Australian tourists. Meanwhile, Ukrainian tourists also showed significant growth, with 2,633 visitors in January 2023, up from zero visits in January 2022.
However, concerns have been raised about the misuse of visas by some foreign nationals from Russia, who have opened businesses in Bali despite their visit visas. Governor Koster believes that the proposed ban on renting motorbikes and the lifting of the visa on arrival for Russian and Ukrainian nationals are necessary steps to improve Bali’s tourism system.
In conclusion, the proposed ban on renting motorbikes and the lifting of VoA for Russian and Ukrainian tourists are the Bali governor’s efforts to promote a better tourism culture and address the social conflicts involving foreign tourists. While the number of Russian and Ukrainian visitors to Bali is significant, the governor’s concerns about the misuse of visas and illegal work activities by some foreign nationals cannot be ignored.