#BoycottBali? Why we’ll still be travelling to Bali

In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks (or if you’re a reader from outside of Australia), there are two convicted Australian drug smugglers on death row in Indonesia who are about to be executed.

Because of this, Australians are calling on a boycott on travelling to Bali, using the hashtag #BoycottBali on social media to publicise it.

Balinese temple Double-Barrelled Travel

Beautiful Bali. Photo by Fabio Gismondi on Flickr

The Australian government backed this up, with foreign minister Julie Bishop saying Aussies would “register their deep disapproval (of the executions) including by making decisions about where they wished to holiday”.

Personally, I think a boycott on travelling to Bali a ridiculous idea. How is a boycott possibly going to help us grant the drug smugglers clemency?

Two drug smugglers on death row

There’s been an uproar in Australia about the executions, as the men have been on death row for 10 years and have apparently rehabilitated during their time in jail. So the Australian government is making last minute attempts to try and save them, by liaising with – or dictating too, depending on your view – the Indonesian government.

Our prime minister, Tony Abbott even went so far as to make a ‘threat’ to the Indonesian government last week over the planned executions. Dave and I are divided on that one – I see it as a threat, he sees it as something that should’ve been said.

Either way, it seems that tensions between the Australian and Indonesian governments are running high right now.

Balinese children Double-Barrelled Travel

Balinese children. By Riza Nugraha on Flickr.

Why the Bali boycott is ridiculous

Dave and I have planned to fly to Bali on the 30th of March. We will still be going.


Because a boycott isn’t going to do anything except harm the lives of the everyday Balinese people – hard working citizens who are probably against the death penalty themselves.

Because there’s no doubt that the people of Bali rely on tourism for their income. After the 2002 Bali bombings Qantas cut its flights to the island by half, because of a lack of demand, and many Balinese lost their livelihoods overnight.

We really aren’t looking at the bigger picture by boycotting Bali.

Is the Bali boycott going to get under Jakarta’s (where their ministers run the country from) nose? No.

Is the Bali boycott really going to influence Indonesia into stopping its executions? No.

All that these ignorant Australians are going to do, by boycotting Bali, is to cause misery for innocents.

Balinese hawker Double-Barrelled Travel

A Balinese hawker. Photo by Earls37a on Flickr

Against the death penalty? Then you can’t be selective

Many are saying that it’s not just these executions that they’re against, it’s the death penalty in general that’s their true reason for the boycott.

If this is your reasoning, then I guess you better boycott the US. They have the death penalty there. And China, a country that executed an estimated 3,000 people last year.

In fact, you should probably boycott half the countries around the world, as 100 have the death penalty.

And if this is your argument, then you can’t believe some people deserve the death penalty more than others. There was outrage when many of the Bali bombers were let out of jail early (rightfully so, it’s a disgrace), but when the few that were executed were shot to death, I didn’t hear many Aussies complaining about the injustice of the death penalty.

So let’s not have these double standards. You’re either against the death penalty, or you’re not – regardless of the crime.

Balinese flight Double-Barrelled Travel

Photo by Christian Junker – AHKGAP on Flickr.

Don’t forget – they are guilty

I don’t believe in the death penalty, whether you’ve smuggled drugs or blown up innocent people, but there’s no doubting that the Aussie drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran knew the consequences when they decided to break the law.

I’m not sure what was running through their heads when they decided to take these steps to risk their lives, but they were obviously driven by greed and money.

Whether or not you believe they should die, they are guilty with both men having confessed to their crimes.

So these two men willingly smuggled drugs to a country which they knew had the death penalty, not only risking their lives but the lives of others who they recruited to be their drug mules.

This isn’t to mention all the other lives they’ve risked through the distribution of their drugs around Asia.

Who is speaking up for those victims?

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have since rehabilitated in jail, which is wonderful, but does this mean they’re any less guilty of the crimes they committed in the past?

Balinese airport Double-Barrelled Travel

Photo by Ting Cheng on Flickr

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think the pair deserve to die. But I do think that there’s more that we can do than simply boycott Bali – action which I don’t believe is productive.

And those that do believe they should be executed? Well, how about you go and try to pull the trigger? I doubt you could do it.

Intervening in Indonesia’s affairs

Let’s think on the other foot for a moment. What if we wanted to go ahead with our own laws and rulings, and the Indonesian government intervened?

How would we feel about another government telling us what we can and can’t do?

I’m pretty sure that we would be mighty p%^*d off.

So why do we feel that we can tell the Indonesian government how to run their country?

We should not be acting like a bully, threatening the Indonesian government and telling them how to run their country in order to get clemency for two drug smugglers. Because if the shoe was on the other foot, we wouldn’t allow it.

Balinese sunset Double-Barrelled Travel

Boycott paradise? Photo by Eustaquio Santimano on Flickr

Damage to Balinese businesses

So before you decide to boycott Bali, think again. Who is your boycott really hurting? Is it really going to influence the Indonesian President’s decision at all? Would your time be better spent writing a letter than deciding not to visit Bali at all?

Many Balinese don’t believe Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran should die, and yet it’s these innocent Balinese we’ll be hurting if we decide to boycott Bali.

Balinese business owners are already worried about the devastating effect this boycott could have on their livelihoods.

For us, we’re simply cancelling our beach holiday.

For them, it’s whether or not they’ll still be able to feed their children.

Will you be boycotting Bali? Why / why not?



About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

9 comments on “#BoycottBali? Why we’ll still be travelling to Bali”

  1. Rick Hunt Reply

    I totally agree with your comments. Traveler boycotts only hurt the Indonesians and others who’s livelihood depends on tourist and individual travelers who would miss out on a life adventure.

  2. April kadek Reply

    Thanks to you for supporting not to boycott bali because of two australian citizens sentenced to death, this not a Bali mistake, this is about indonesian rules, we have to respect that. If you come to bali with a drug you’ll be executed.the point is drug are dangerous for every body.

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Hi April, I agree, the rules are the same for everyone – that if you’re a drug smuggler than you should’ve known that there’s the death penalty in Bali. I still don’t want the two Aussie men to be executed, but I respect Indonesia’s laws.

  3. Pingback: Hubud in Ubud, Bali - Double-Barrelled Travel

  4. Amy Spink Reply

    With all the bombings and executions, I don’t feel safe going to Indonesia and will never go there.

  5. Sophia Coles Reply

    I’m planning on travelling alone for the first time to Bali in Sept. I’ve always wanted to go and I’ve always wanted to go lombok and the gillies. Ive been researching the area ans ive come across all these alerts for Aussies, but we hvent heard anything in England…i wont let that stop me from going. We have high alerts in Spain and France, basically the safest place to be in Europe at the moment is the UK and you should watch our news….

    On another note, seems as tho volcano eruptions have put a Holt on traveling at present. Do you have an update on this?


    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      You should certainly go. We don’t ever look at warnings – I mean, Australia is even being listed as a place with a high chance of a terrorist attack these days, and some countries are warning about travel there for that very reason.

      The volcano is very unpredictable. I would advise you get travel insurance before you go, and check the fine print to make sure you’ll be insured in case of any cancellations because of the volcano erupting. Unfortunately many people recently lost a lot of money when their flights were cancelled because they didn’t have adequate travel insurance.

      Enjoy Bali!

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