Bali is looking for a new kind of tourist after kicking out 136 unruly visitors this year

(Bloomberg) – Indonesia’s island paradise teeming with beaches and lush rice paddies wants to refocus its tourism away from misbehaving guests and instead attract talented nomads, retirees and health enthusiasts.

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The local government has deported 136 foreigners since the start of the year for various wrongdoings, including indecent exposure, rowdy behavior and breach of rules, according to Bali’s immigration office.

Last month, a German tourist took part in a show at a temple in Ubud by walking naked on stage, while a Danish woman was arrested for exposing her genitals in public. A Briton is on trial after assaulting a police officer after he refused to pay his bill at a bar.

The incidents left Governor of Bali I Wayan Koster with a dilemma; either continue to accept all tourists or be more discerning while risking the island’s nascent recovery. Then there is another option: to reinvent the island into a health center and a research center.

Indonesia is seeking to partner with the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic to build a medical center in Sanur, a quiet town on the east coast, which will also include luxury hotels and care facilities for the elderly. In Serangan, Bali will develop a research hub to join the Southeast Asia Center at Tsinghua University, according to the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Like neighboring travel destinations, the tourism-dependent island has been devastated by the pandemic as many hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops have closed. While overseas visitors rebounded to 2.16 million last year, from less than 60 in 2021, that’s still only a third of the more than 6 million who came in 2019.

As foreign customers return, Koster seeks a new tourism plan that will limit the entry of undesirables and attract those who tend to spend more, boost the local economy and do well.

“Tourism remains a mainstay, but it will be in a much different position than before,” Koster said in an interview. “This push will encourage the transformation of Bali from mass tourism to quality tourism.”

Bali is rolling out the red carpet for would-be investors, offering tax breaks as well as easier employment rules and licensing, to generate 477 trillion rupees ($32 billion) in foreign exchange revenue until 2052. A law recently passed grants the island more autonomy to let Koster plan its economic development.

Misbehaved tourists will not find the same welcome. Bali plans to impose an entrance fee and quota on visitors, while banning them from climbing mountains, touching sacred trees or renting motorbikes.

The island now requires licensed tour guides to accompany foreigners who must wear modest clothing and follow the rules.

Foreigners skilled in the digital, health, research and technology sectors could benefit from “golden visas” that allow them to own assets and gain rapid access to citizenship. Customers with the equivalent of at least 2 billion rupees in their bank accounts could obtain a “second residence” visa to stay for up to 10 years.

“Many countries have issued golden visas because they provide many benefits by increasing investment.” Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said Monday. Rules on long-stay visas will be published soon, he added.

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