‘Send them to Bali’: Poor tourists shouldn’t visit East Nusa Tenggara, governor says

Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat. Photo: NTT Provincial Government
Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat. Photo: NTT Provincial Government

Have you got enough money? Well, it seems that the answer to that question will determine whether or not you can go to East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), if a recent comment from the province’s governor is anything to go by. 

NTT Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat yesterday said poor tourists should not be visiting the island. 

“Poor tourists shouldn’t come to NTT, because [the island] has been designed for tourists with money,” Viktor said, as quoted by state news agency Antara

According to Viktor, NTT is rich with natural beauty and cultural attractions that cannot be found elsewhere in the country, or even the world. He also highlighted how NTT was recently crowned as “Best Value” destination by Lonely Planet on their 2020 Best in Travel recommendations.

“This shows that our region is expensive. Therefore, tourists who come should be rich, if they have no money and they come here to bargain, let them go to other places. Please send them to Jakarta, Bali or Lombok,” Viktor said. 

Ouch. 

In case you don’t recall, Viktor is the same governor who said only people with “deep pockets” should be allowed to see the komodo dragons, previously suggesting that visitors should be charged US$500 to see the endangered species. (Yes, Viktor is the governor of the island where the Komodo National Park is located.)

However, Viktor might have a valid point when we consider how Bali has seen more than a fair share of problematic tourists, especially in the last couple of months. Many of them do seem to get into trouble once they ran out of money, that it has prompted Bali immigration to warn that they will be reported and sent to their respective embassies should problems occur.

The NTT governor also added that he’s touched upon this issue with President Joko Widodo. 

“I told the president that when poor tourists come, many of us in NTT are already poor, so it’s boring. If possible, let only the rich come, those with money, we are bored with the poor ones,” Viktor said. 

Read also: Indonesian gov’t scraps plan to close Komodo Island next year

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