Keep bonking in Bali: Indonesian tourism officials downplay sex-ban bill

Bali tourism officials are urging visitors to remain calm after Indonesia was poised to pass a new penal code that would criminalise consensual sex outside marriage.

President Joko Widodo on Friday ordered a delay in a planned vote on the controversial bill - originally slated for Tuesday - and said 14 articles needed further review before it was deliberated by a new parliament, whose term begins next month.

Students rallied on Monday in the capital Jakarta - where some climbed the gates of the parliament to hang banners - and cities including Yogyakarta, in central Java, and Makassar, on Sulawesi island, to oppose the bill.

Now tourist officials in Bali - a popular holiday spot for young people, are saying there's no need to panic.

"The recommendation of the full regulations, including what is commonly mentioned as the 'Adultery Act' is still a recommendation and has not yet formally issued and cannot be enforced," a statement from the Bali Hotels Association said.

The association says tourists were encouraged to "stay calm" and continue their "activities" as usual.

"Bali Hotels Association is monitoring the issue and will update its members if there is any further information in regards to this matter."

Australia updated its travel advice earlier this week, warning citizens of risks they could face from extra-marital or gay sex should the law be passed.

Bali, a Hindu enclave in mostly Muslim Indonesia and the country's most important tourism destination, is especially popular with visitors from Australia, where one newspaper greeted the news on Friday with the headline: "Bali Sex Ban."

Newshub/Reuters