UPDATE: Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said that news of him suggesting to make Bali more Muslim-friendly was a misreporting. Read our update on this here.
Indonesia’s new Tourism and Creative Economy Minister looks set on developing the country’s halal tourism, explaining this week that top destinations such as Bali will undergo changes to accommodate more Muslim tourists.
“Many parts of Indonesia are not Muslim [majority]. Such as [Lake] Toba and Bali. There we will provide places of worship and wudhu (ablution) so that they will be comfortable,” Wishnutama Kusubandio said on Tuesday, as quoted by Sindo News.
Bali is a Hindu-majority province, where Hindus make up more than 80 percent of the population, according to 2010 census data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS). Meanwhile, Lake Toba, a popular tourist destination located in Toba Samosir district of North Sumatra, is a Christian-majority region.
It isn’t very clear just yet what entails the government’s plan on transforming Bali into a more Muslim-friendly destination, but Wishnutama’s comment this week is already eliciting diverse reaction on social media.
One prominent comment came from Bali punk rock icon Ari Astana, who is more commonly known as Jerinx of the band Superman is Dead and for his controversial and outspoken activism.
On Instagram, the musician indicated his support for the idea of making Bali more friendly towards Muslim tourists, citing his disgust over the bad behavior of many foreign tourists on the island recently.
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Kali ini saya dukung karena sangat muak liat bule berantem tiap malem di depan Lavavela. Mereka rata-rata ras sok superior yg ke Bali ngandelin kurs mata uang, badan gede but zero attitude. Sekalian juga regulasikan agar semua club di Bali tutup maksimal jam 2. Resistensi harus dimulai dari sekarang sebelum Bali beneran jadi toilet-nya para wisman. https://ekbis.sindonews.com/read/1455846/34/wishnutama-dan-angela-bakal-sulap-toba-dan-bali-ramah-wisman-muslim-1572953308 Yuk rame rame tag @wishnutama @giri.prasta @gubernur.bali
“Resistance must begin now before Bali turns into a toilet for foreign tourists,” Jerinx wrote on Instagram.
One user also pointed out that Bali has always been a friendly destination, while another said that the hospitality should extend to people of other faiths as well.
“[As if] Bali’s not friendly enough,” a user commented.
“It should be made friendly for Hindus, Buddhists, Confucianists, Catholics, Christian [Protestants], Javanism, etc… Why should it be divided? Such a tendency for exclusivity,” another said.