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Bali to impose new rules on travellers, says ‘quality of tourists’ is declining

Tourists take photos by an arch on the Lempuyang Temple grounds as Mount Agung volcano is seen obscured by clouds in the background in Karangasem on Bali island on Oct. 4, 2017.
Tourists take photos by an arch on the Lempuyang Temple grounds as Mount Agung volcano is seen obscured by clouds in the background in Karangasem on Bali island on Oct. 4, 2017. Sony Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images

Bali officials are planning on imposing new rules for those visiting sacred sites after a series of unfortunate events.

The Indonesian island’s deputy governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Sukawati, usually referred to as Cok Ace, told regional council members earlier this month that the “quality of tourists” visiting Bali is declining.

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Ace cited several recent incidents where he said tourists disrespectfully posed with sacred Hindu temples and monuments.

“It is because we are too open with tourists, so too many come, and indeed the quality of tourists is now different from before,” Ace said during the meeting, according to The Guardian.

Ace said Bali, which attracted more than five-million visitors in 2017, will be evaluating whether tourists should be allowed near the structures only with accredited guides.

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The new regulations may also place tighter watches on where tourists can step in temples, how they pose and what they can wear.

According to local news organizations in Indonesia, the move comes after one viral incident in particular, where a Danish tourist climbed atop the Linggih Padmasana shrine at Puhur Luhur Batukaru temple for a photo.

The shrine is typically left empty and only meant to be occupied by Hindu deities, news outlet Coconut Bali explained.

Another case cited by the newspaper was of a bikini-clad Instagram blogger who did yoga in front of a Balinese temple.

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Several other tourist hubs around the world have also recently tightened tourism rules amid growing concern over preserving local culture.

Venice, Italy, recently placed fines on visitors who sit in undesignated spots. Tourists in Venice also can’t do things like ride bikes, stand or lie down on benches, place “love locks” on bridges and feed birds.

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Diver’s video captures garbage-filled waters off Bali coast
Diver’s video captures garbage-filled waters off Bali coast

Beyond bad behaviour, a spike in tourism numbers has also contributed to a myriad of other concerns at popular destinations.

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Bali, which is known for its beaches, had to declare a “garbage emergency” last year after closing off sections of water when the amount of trash washed ashore became dangerous to tourists.