Last updated: 02:01 PM ET, Tue August 16 2016

Indonesia Proposes New Nationwide Law Banning Alcohol

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | August 16, 2016

Indonesia Proposes New Nationwide Law Banning Alcohol

Photo: Padang Bai, Bali (Photo via flickr)

A new law proposed in Indonesia would ban production, distribution and consumption of alcohol throughout the country, including the popular tourist destination of Bali.

According to, the bill was introduced by two Islamic political parties (the United Development Party and the Prosperous Justice Party) and would ban all beverages with an alcohol content of over one percent.

While the bill is already being contested in the Indonesian House of Representatives, there are caveats in the legislation. The ban on alcohol may feature exemptions for travelers, customary activities and religious rituals.

The Southeastern Asia country already has two areas where alcohol is banned, the province of Papua and the port city of Surabaya in Java. The possibility of a ban for the rest of the nation has raised concerns from the tourism and hospitality industry, with officials believing the new law would devastate tourism.

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“There are a lot of people in Indonesia right now taking the view - and they might not be wrong - that if you look at the Western world, and what alcohol is doing to young people, we don’t want that in Indonesia and we want to ban alcohol,” Indonesia Institute president Ross Taylor said in a statement.

“But in Bali, especially, there’s a very strong feeling that it’s the last thing you’d want to do, because if tourists can’t have a beer or wine on the beach, the potential consequences for tourism are going to be very severe indeed.”

On the other hand, there are strong objections to the possibility of banning alcohol.

“If the bill is passed, our business will be done,” Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association head Hariyadi Sukamdani said. “The tourists ... drink alcohol all the time. It will be very inconvenient for them if they can’t find alcohol.”

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