Australian tourists returning from Bali could be bringing home more than cheap souvenirs.
They could find themselves with a new pair of flip-flops, courtesy of the country’s farmers.
So worried is the National Farmers’ Federation about the outbreak of highly-contagious foot and mouth disease among cattle in Indonesia that it is asking travellers returning to Australia from Bali to throw away shoes they have been wearing during their visit.
In return, tourists will be a given a voucher entitling them to 30% off a new pair of flip-flops – or any other casual footwear.
“I never thought we’d be helping people buy new shoes to keep my cattle safe, but here we are, said National Farmers Federation president, Fiona Simson.
Farmers in Australia fear that the Balinese way of walking their cows to and from pasture, often passing holiday villas on the way, exposes tourists to the possibility of picking up the foot and mouth disease on their shoes and taking it back to their home country.
Foot and mouth disease is deadly for cattle. They stop eating and waste away.
Biosecurity checks have been stepped up at Australian airports, including the use of detector dogs, but the government is taking a wait-and-see approach for the time being.
There are currently no direct flights between Indonesia and New Zealand, but frontline border staff are giving special attention to goods and any travellers arriving in the country with Indonesia as their point of departure.