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Bali tourists could be jailed for drinking alcohol if proposed law change goes ahead

Tourists to Bali could face jail-time for drinking alcohol if a proposed law change goes ahead.

Indonesia’s House of Representatives continues to mull over a draft bill that would ban booze and threaten those found producing, distributing and storing it with jail sentences of two to 10 years.

There would be less severe sentences for those caught consuming alcohol.

The proposal is being mooted by 21 politicians from conservative Islamic parties, who are citing parts of the Koran indicating that Muslims should not drink alcohol.

Officials from the Indonesian island of Bali, a hugely popular holiday spot, have made it clear they are not in support of the restrictions.

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“It is too superficial; Bali will definitely reject it,” said AA Ngurah Adi Ardhana, chairman of Bali’s regional legislative council, reports the Daily Mail.

“We are a unitary state built on diversity, and the potential economic impact involved is unacceptable.”

Bali relies on tourism for much of its income. The number of international tourists to Bali grew by 3.6 per cent in 2019 to 6.3 million, according to annual Bali Province Tourism Development Statistics from Badan Pusat Statistik Provinsi Bali.  

The industry has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Despite initial hopes that Bali would be able to reopen for international tourism from September this year, the island confirmed in August that it would remain closed until 2021, along with the rest of the country.

“After considering all the current factors that are of serious concern, it can’t be done,” the governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, announced at a press conference, reports the Bali Sun.

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