Clarification sought over Indonesia’s sex outside marriage ban, which includes tourists

Bali tourist tax
By Lisa James
07/12/2022
Home » Clarification sought over Indonesia’s sex outside marriage ban, which includes tourists

Operators that sell Indonesia are awaiting clarification after the country said it will introduce jail sentences for people who have sex outside of marriage – including holidaymakers.

Politicians agreed to make sweeping changes to Indonesia’s criminal code on Tuesday, including criminalising adultery, banning unmarried couples from living together and banning sex outside of marriage.

The laws apply equally to people living in Indonesia, as well as those visiting holiday destinations such as Bali and Lombok.

Legal experts and civil rights groups have criticised the move as a ‘huge setback’ for the destination.

According to reports, sex outside marriage will carry a jail term of up to a year under the new laws, which take effect in three years’ time.

Experience Travel Group Managing Director Sam Clark said he and other AITO operators are awaiting clarification on the laws.

Sam said: “In reality, these so-called ‘morality laws’ are not aimed at tourists – it requires a family member to denounce you for adultery.

“Interpretation of laws varies widely from island to island, with predominantly Hindu Bali a very different proposition to say, Banda Acheh in northern Sumatra.

“We believe Indonesia will remain a welcoming destination for tourists, married or unmarried.

“We do, however, understand the concerns and would like to hear specific clarification from the Indonesian government on this matter.”

Australian TV breakfast news programme Today dubbed the new rule the ‘bonk ban’ and said there are serious concerns about its effect on tourism.

Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono told the programme that many hotels, including in tourism areas such as Bali and metropolitan Jakarta, will risk losing visitors.

Tourists in Bali told Today they were ‘terrified’ to hear of the new rules, with one telling the network: “I don’t want to be in an Indonesian prison for 12 months because I slept with someone I don’t know.”

Travel Gossip has contacted Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism for a comment.

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