Increasingly for one reason, or indeed cause, or another people
are advocating a total boycott of Bali. Some for the terrorism
risk (made worse by ineffective corrupt police officers),
some for a perceived or even actual anti-western sentiment,
some for health scare issues, some over court cases such as
Schapelle Corby and Michelle Leslie, others that a boycott
is the only way to rid Indonesia and therefore Bali of its
terrible judicial (police and justice system) corruption which
negatively impacts both residents of and visitors to Bali
BLTF's owner Mark Austin has been falsely accused of being
a boycott Bali advocate. Time and time again Mark / BLTF has
1) There absolutely is massive police and judicial corruption
in Bali and something needs to be done about it, as it affects
both safety for everyone and prosperity for the Balinese,
plus it is the cause of substantial civil and human rights
abuse including state sponsored or tollerated murder.
2) The problem extends past the corrupt police and court
system. It is fed by a large number of unethical businesses
(which means hotels, etc. in Bali) and business people; Indonesia
has perhaps the nastiest business community in the world.
3) Since the root of the problem, the Suharto regime, successive
Indonesian Governments have actually allowed or even been
responsible for a dramatic increase, not a decrease in corruption.
These governments who so often pay lip service to the problem
and take ineffective "actions" in attempts at domestic
and International PR damage limitation, are often highly complicit
in acts of corruption themselves.
4) A mass boycott of Bali would probably force the government
into doing something constructive at long last, as tourism
is Indonesia's third largest industry and Bali accounts for
the lion's share of that business. The problems is that such
a boycott would very much hurt in the short to medium term
the very people the advocates are allegedly saying a boycott
would ultimately help. Secondly, a boycott may also damage
an already frail economy enough to create civil unrest, with
all the misery that entails, plus potentially places this
fledgling democracy at risk of an extremist Islamic revolution.
So when you talk of boycotting Bali, be aware of the possible
consequences and the many, many lives you may end up being
guilty of helping to destroy.
BLTF believes it is best, in every way, shape and form to
continue to go to Bali but to make sure you only support the
honest pro-Balinese businesses and help stop corruption by
reporting any and all exposure to it. If you name, shame and
report the people / police officers involved in any corruption
attempts or acts you witness or fall victim to. If you make
100% sure you do not use the hotels, villas, tour services,
etc. of the people who condone, support or actually commit
corruption. If you can make the commitment to true responsible
tourism, you absolutely should go to Bali; by caring and taking
care, BLTF guarantees you will have a holiday like no other.
But if you can not make such a commitment then yes, please
stay away from Bali, as you will probably just be adding to
the problem and putting your own safety and values at risk.
How do you make sure you are helping only the people that
deserve it, thus fighting corruption and fraud and also helping
to keep yourself and other travelers safe? Simple, read the
advice on BLTF's various information pages and use the Bali
& Lombok Travel Forum itself when you have any questions!
For some words about what the poor indigenous people of Bali
have to endure at the hands of unscrupulous business people
and an inherently corrupt society, please read: Balinese