About to head off to Bali, Surabaya or elsewhere in Indonesia? The Australian Government has just issued a new alert for Indonesia-bound travellers on account of the upcoming presidential election on 14 February 2024.
The current advice for travellers is to “exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia overall due to security risks”, so the government does not recommend Australians reconsider their need to travel.
But it does warn visitors to “expect traffic delays and restricted access to locations if protests occur”. This includes to holiday hotspots like Bali, Lombok and the capital city Jakarta.
“Frequent political rallies and possible protests are likely to occur in the lead-up to the election,” the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) says on its Smartraveller website.
“Public protests and events that draw large groups of people occur regularly and can turn violent with little notice. Most events are announced before they happen; however, protests may occur with little or no notice.
“Protests and events are often held near major government buildings and embassies in Jakarta, including the Australian Embassy.
“Protests may also occur at any of Australia’s Consulates-General in Surabaya, Bali and Makassar, at government buildings, or the offices of international organisations in Indonesia.”
To help Aussie travellers navigate any potential problems in the country, the government urges Australians to “avoid protests and demonstrations and monitor local media for the latest updates”.
It also recommends visitors “phone or email ahead for an appointment before going to the Embassy or the Consulates-General”.
Additionally, it advises Australians to plan their activities to avoid potential unrest on significant dates and to be prepared to change their travel plans.
Business as usual for Bali?
According to The Bali Sun, Balinese leaders are hoping for a peaceful election period and smooth sailing for visitors.
“Our hope is that we will work together to maintain Bali tourism; this is also the hope of all parties,” Bali Tourist Transport Association Chair Nyoman Sudiartha said at the beginning of the election campaigning period.
The last national election in Indonesia was held in 2019, when nearly 160 million voters took to polling booths across the country.
The Australian Government continues to advise Aussies to “reconsider” their need to travel to the provinces of Papua (Papua), Papua Highlands (Papua Pegunungan), Central Papua (Papua Tengah) and South Papua (Papua Selatan), where “conflict between different communities can sometimes occur”.
“Our ability to provide consular support in these provinces is limited,” DFAT states.
It also urges visitors to ensure they are fully covered by comprehensive travel insurance before departing.
“Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including emergency treatment and medical evacuation.”
Indonesia officially ended visa-free travel to Bali for all but ASEAN nations in 2023.
Last week, the latest new service to Bali was launched, from Canberra to Denpasar flying Batik Air.
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