Buzzkill: Indonesia Considers Booze Ban
Indonesia’s tourism industry is bracing for a blow as the Southeast Asian nation considers passing a bill to ban production, consumption and distribution of alcoholic beverages in the country. For resort islands like Bali that cater to tourists from North America, Europe and Australia, the ban could devastating.
“If the bill is passed, our business will be done,” Hariyadi Sukamdani, head of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), told the Jakarta Post. “No matter how beautiful the country is, if [tourists] can't find alcohol, they won't want to come here."
Though Indonesia is a majority Muslim country, alcohol sales are currently legal, except in Aceh province, which enforces Sharia law. Pressure from pro-Islamic parties has led to extremely high alcohol taxes, which has in turn led to a bootlegging epidemic. Earlier this year, almost 20,000 bottles of confiscated alcohol were publicly steamrolled in Jakarta, the country’s capital.
We can only hope the needs of the PHRI prevail. There’s much more to Indonesia than its booze, but one of the main reasons we want to go to Bali is to drink a cocktail out of a coconut.