Bali Grits Its Teeth as Tourist Hotspot Closes to Foreign Visitors

Another Middle Eastern country has emerged as a hot tourist spot; the Indonesian island of Bali in South-East Asia is now open again to foreign visitors after it was closed by government officials last week.

Dubbed the “safest island” on the planet, Kuta Beach, which attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world, was re-opened after it had been closed for more than a week. Reports of an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack on the tourism hot spot surfaced last week that resulted in the closure of Kuta Beach and the nightlife area of Barung Bar. At the end of the day, 23 victims were killed and 39 wounded in the attack. Authorities said an additional 28 people, both tourists and locals, were in a critical condition.

Indonesia president Joko Widodo said that the country has seen many factors which could lead to it becoming a dangerous place to visit.

“We’ve seen Indonesia becoming more dangerous,” Widodo told reporters before introducing his new security cabinet, suggesting tighter immigration controls. Widodo is also trying to implement plans to create a minimum standard of living for the people of Indonesia, with the government going to far as to ban foreigners from owning luxury cars that cost more than $30,000.

According to the Washington Post, the way forward for Kuta is quite stark; instead of opening Kuta to tourists, it will instead be used as a naval base, with Indonesians and locals relegated to using it as a tourist hotspot while government-sponsored construction crews work to raise the coral reefs.

“The main tourist beaches of Bali will now have military forces working on their defense, not tourists,” Widodo said. “We have made Bali the best tourist destination in the world. This is the result of concerted efforts. The more you reduce that [foreigners], the better, because there is a lot of petty crime.”

The issues could be somewhat easier to address for another country. Besides Kuta Beach being closed to foreign visitors, Saudi Arabia has now imposed a new travel ban on many European countries including France and Germany. The ban came after Washington’s special prosecutor handed down an indictment against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in connection with a multi-billion dollar money laundering case against the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). After the indictment and the United States decision to sanction the Saudi crown prince, Riyadh began carrying out a nationwide crackdown on Saudi dissident citizens who threaten the country’s stability. Since the unrest began, Saudi Arabia has executed at least 60 people for nonviolent crimes.

In addition to the rest of the world, Saudi Arabia’s American allies have imposed economic sanctions against the kingdom. A bipartisan group of senators called on President Donald Trump to intervene and prevent the crown prince from becoming the Crown Prince, effectively calling for the American government to intervene over a matter concerning our ally. Trump remains focused on his current agenda and vows to let the internal affairs of the country run their course.

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