Alcohol Shortage on Bali May Impact Tourism

Beautiful landscape? Check. Stunning beaches? Check. Amazing culture? Check. Booze? Nope, sorry. Wait, no booze? Forget it. I’ll just go to Thailand.

This checklist is what Indonesian trade ministry officials are worried is going through your mind as you consider a trip to the tropical island of Bali. Due to an “import problem” (read: discovery of an alcohol-smuggling ring and a subsequent customs “reorganization”) there’s been a major shortage of wine and spirits on the island. All-inclusive resorts are suffering the most, since their selling point tends to be, naturally, all-inclusive bars.

Despite the lack of ambiance-enhancing drinks, however (and really, does Bali need any artificial ambiance?), the numbers are up. Tourist arrivals rose a whopping 34% in the first half of 2007 from a year ago.