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Indonesia Seeks to Calm Tourists After Passing New Law Against Sex Outside Marriage

Indonesia's recent implementation of a law that criminalises sex outside marriage has raised concerns among tourists planning to visit the country. Known as the "Bali bonking ban," this legislation introduces the possibility of imprisonment for unmarried couples involved in sexual activities or cohabitation. Although government officials assure that tourists will not be targeted, the implications of this law on the country's tourism industry and its visitors cannot be ignored.
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Here is a short video about the law and its impact:

Reaction from the Tourism Industry

Indonesia's tourism industry, still in the process of recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, is worried that the enforcement of this law may lead to a decrease in tourist arrivals, hindering the sector's recovery.

The 'bonking ban' has the potential to discourage potential visitors for several reasons. Firstly, concerns arise regarding the enforcement of this law, which could invade their privacy, potentially demanding proof of marriage or conducting intrusive investigations into their sexual activities. Additionally, individuals may worry that if accused, it would be challenging to prove their innocence in such a private matter. Moreover, tourists who engage in sex outside of marriage, such as unmarried couples may naturally be deterred by a law that prohibits such behaviour.

Assurances from the Government

Indonesian officials have taken steps to tourists that they will not be affected by the new law. The governor of Bali, a popular holiday destination, has emphasised that authorities will not enquire about the marital status of visitors, and the law will not target foreign tourists. The goal is to maintain Bali's reputation as a comfortable and safe for travellers. The government emphasises that under the new criminal code, offences related to sex outside marriage and would require a report from a spouse, parent, or child, reducing the likelihood of tourists being reported. Indonesian officials, including the Deputy Justice Minister, have repeatedly encouraged foreign tourists to visit the country without fear of .

Additional Concerns within the Tourism Industry

Although Indonesian officials assure tourists that they will not be targeted under the 'bonking ban,' concerns persist regarding its impact on tourism. Cautious travellers may find it difficult to fully trust the government's assurances, leading them to cancel their visits and avoid potential risks.

Furthermore, some tourists may perceive that by visiting Indonesia and spending money there, they are supporting the government and its laws. For individuals who morally oppose the new laws, they may choose not to visit the country on .

Lastly, the uncertain impact of this law on tourism is likely to make potential investors cautious about investing in the Indonesian tourism sector.


Despite these concerns, Indonesia's tourism minister has stated that the country remains committed to its target of attracting 7 million foreign tourists. Only time will tell whether this goal will be achieved.