Popular travel destination begs influencers to behave

Bali has hosted all sorts of poorly behaved tourists and influencers during the pandemic. Now the island seems to have had enough.

When countries were shutting down borders and sending foreign travelers home at the start of the pandemic, Indonesia allowed visitors to remain. Now, politicians are wondering if that was a terrible idea.

“Yes, the foreigner brings income for us. But their action will risk the local who works to serve them as well. Can they have a little empathy?” Balinese politician and designer Niluh Djelantik told The Guardian.

Social media influencers have always been drawn to the island of Bali — travel blogs and tourism sites have literally called it as “Instagram candy.” But since stricter rules were put in place because of the pandemic, tourists have generally failed to comply with new protocols.

KOMPAS, an Indonesian news outlet, reported that there have been 346 tourists caught for violating rules, 60 of which ended up being deported from the island. Tourists are charged $70 for not obeying the rules — 10 times more than locals — because officials say “they are more likely to misbehave.”

One high-profile deportation was that of Russian influencer Leia Se, who filmed a prank video where she painted on a blue mask and then walked through a supermarket.

“I made this video to entertain people because I’m a content creator and it is my job to entertain people,” Se’s partner and co-star, Josh Paler Lin said.

Even as influencers are causing trouble for Bali, the local economy still relies heavily on tourism. In 2020, the island’s economy dropped 9.3 percent.

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