Virtually every local paper in Bali is carrying news of the long delays being experienced by arriving passengers at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport where new Border Control Management (BCM) requirements have made an already long customs and immigration process even longer.
I Wayan Puspa Negara, a member of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), complained to the Bali Post of the numerous steps in the clearance process confronted by passengers entering Bali's arrival terminal. In addition to paying for and securing a 30-day visa-on-arrival (VOA) and presenting their passport for inspection to immigration officers, Bali visitors must now submit to a fingerprinting and photo session before making their way to the Custom's area where each piece of baggage is x-rayed before being subject to possible hand inspection.
Puspa said the entire process can take up to two hours from the door of the airplane to the airport's greeting area. Some tourists complain that the process can, in fact, take four hours for those arriving at peak traffic times.
Puspa told the press that such long delays are in contradiction to the tourism concept of a safe and convenient trip. He has called on the relevant authorities to re-evaluate the entire BCM process in order to deliver an efficient and uniform level of service to arriving tourist visitors. Explained Puspa: " Tourists need service of a high standard that is both efficient and effective. The complaints of tourists (about the BCM process) must not be dismissed. Because of this, I call on the leader of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung) through the Chairman of Commission B which oversees tourism and transportation to convene a working meeting with immigrations and other stakeholders to discuss these problems."
Radar Bali covers the long delays for arriving passengers on the front page of its Monday, May 3, 2010 edition. Quoting Gede, a Balinese Guide, who said: "This is really inhumane, come on, why do people who wants to holiday in Bali have to wait around for hours?
Gede cited how passengers arriving on an 11:00 pm flight are only clearing the airport at 3:00 am. In another example, he told of how some passengers arriving on a 7:00 am flight only manage to clear the procedures at 2:00 pm.
On Sunday, May 2, 2010, officials were forced to come out to the Custom's exit to explain the delays to the hundreds of tourism workers and friends waiting hours on end for greet arriving passengers.
While Gede acknowledged the need for BCM procedures, he was not happy with the lack of equipment to handle Bali's visitors. Referring to the new fingerprinting and photographic equipment, he said: "If we can, add more equipment. How is it possible that thousands of tourist arrivals are handled with only a few machines?"
Efforts by the Radar Bali to obtain comment from officials in charge of the airport were unsuccessful, with immigration supervisors unavailable for comment.
According to Radar Bali one passenger was so frustrated by the process that he sent a message through a social-networking short message service (SMS) saying, "We will never, ever (come) back to Bali again."
Immigration officials told NusaBali that the long delays is due to the large number of airplanes landing in close time proximity discharging a large number of passengers that overwhelm the fingerprint and photography equipment. The officials claim that the entire fingerprinting and photography process should take no more than 1.5 to 2 minutes, but the number of machines in operation require the hundreds of passengers arriving within a short time span to wait in line.
[Fingerprinting for Bali's Visitors]
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