The World Today for May 01, 2023


Victims of Success


Author Elizabeth Gilbert embraces romance and finds a partner in Bali after a life journey that she chronicled to great fame in her 2006 memoir, “Eat Pray Love.” Now residents of the Indonesian island are fed up with the increasingly large numbers of tourists who have been inundating the magical isle in search of similar transformative experiences – or at least some fun.

Indonesian officials are considering a new tax on tourists with the goal of keeping out so-called bad elements and shifting Bali from a “low-end holiday destination to a quality tourism hub,” wrote Time Out magazine. The island’s governor has banned tourists from renting motorbikes, too. Balinese folks have complained of tourists driving recklessly, flouting immigration rules, committing indecent exposure, and disrespecting local culture, including religious events and customs, reported the Washington Post.

The proposed tax and other rules would not necessarily stop foreigners, on the other hand, from purchasing and owning properties or shares in resorts along Bali’s amazing beaches, the South China Morning Post added, illustrating how the tourism industry is and will remain vital to the local economy. For example, after potentially putting off tourists with a raft of new laws that ban adultery, cohabitation before marriage and apostasy, or renouncing one’s religion, officials made a point of telling CNN that these draconian laws would not apply to tourists.

Indonesia is not alone in wanting to control tourists. Bulgaria, where tourists flock to Black Sea beaches and Balkan ski slopes, the happening Spanish cities of Barcelona and Valencia, paradisiacal Thailand and a handful of others have also imposed fees on tourists, Euronews wrote.

Recently, officials in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam – the destination for 20 million tourists annually – released a statement saying that visitors coming to the city solely for sex and drugs were not welcome. As Politico explained, the marketing campaign included ads that said: “Coming to Amsterdam for a messy night + getting trashed = €140 fine + criminal record. Stay away.”

Meanwhile, tourists visiting the majestic city of Venice will now pay $10.50 for the pleasure under new rules to manage the millions of visitors who visit the Italian city every year, the New York Post reported. Officials in Hawaii wanted to charge tourists a fee to enter the state – but feared such a measure would run afoul of the US Constitution, noted the Associated Press. Instead, they might charge higher fees at state parks and trails to generate funding for environmental restoration and remediation efforts.

These locales are arguably victims of their own success. The question now is whether they will kill the golden goose that has paid them dividends many times over.

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