Bali Authorities Raise Concerns That Digital Nomads Are Overstepping The Line


Key Takeaways

  • Bali officials are developing new protocols to ensure proper behavior among tourists and digital nomads.
  • Concerns arise over digital nomads using tourist accommodations as offices and conducting business on inappropriate visas.
  • A collaboration between Bali Police, ASITA, and Bali Immigration aims to tackle these issues and implement existing laws.

In the wake of a growing digital nomad community in Bali, officials are keen to uphold laws and local regulations.

According to The Bali Sun report, The Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies Board (ASITA) highlighted that several digital nomads and foreign business owners may risk breaking the law.

The main issues include using tourist rental accommodations as office bases and potentially exploiting tourist or socio-cultural visas to engage in business activities.

ASITA has witnessed some digital nomads even partaking in roles such as organizing tours and travel experiences for profit.

Law and Order

Indonesian law states that individuals on tourist or socio-cultural visas are prohibited from conducting income-generating work there.

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ASITA representatives have engaged with the National Police Public Relations team to address these concerns and requested further action to combat this problem.

The report noted that Police Commissioner Pol Harry Sindu Nugroho confirmed a joint effort with ASITA Bali to issue sanctions on those not adhering to proper permits.

This initiative aims not to indiscriminately crack down on digital nomads but to enforce existing laws, ensuring the legitimacy of travel agencies and safeguarding local livelihoods.

The Digital Nomad Perspective

While Bali remains a popular destination for digital nomads due to its cost-effective living and serene environment, the reality of living and working there is not always a vacation as some might perceive.

According to an Insider blog post, Digital nomads like Olumide Gbenro, who ran a successful digital nomad agency, shared the challenges of obtaining the appropriate visa, alongside other logistical and social challenges experienced during his stay in Bali.

Gbenro has since moved to southern Europe, citing the emerging digital nomad-friendly policies in several European countries as a more viable option for remote workers like himself.

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Initiatives Underway

In November 2022, an initiative by the Indonesian Ministry for Tourism and Creative Economies sought to promote Bali as a prime destination for digital nomads and remote workers in collaboration with Airbnb.

The ‘Live and Work Anywhere‘ campaign was launched to showcase less explored destinations in Bali to digital nomads and promote the B211a socio-cultural visa as a suitable option for a six-month stay in Indonesia for foreign online workers.

What Do We Think

The growing appeal of Bali to the digital nomad community is undeniable.

However, the concerns raised by local authorities underline a necessary dialogue between digital nomads, local authorities, and businesses to ensure a harmonious co-existence.

While Bali continues to be an attractive destination, European countries’ emerging digital nomad-friendly policies might also beckon these modern-day wanderers seeking a blend of adventure, work, and compliance with local laws.


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