The Bali Post reports that representatives of major tourism stakeholder organizations have listed seven "sicknesses" afflicting Bali tourism threatening the island's largest industry. The problems, if left unaddressed, the tourism figures warned, will reveal Bali to be crowded and noisy; an image in stark contrast with the peaceful and idyllic image presented in the current Hollywood film "Eat, Pray, Love."
This dire outlook was put forth by representatives of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Association of Indonesian Travel Agents (ASITA)and the Tourism Transportation Association (PAWIBA) in an exchange of views with the Bali House of Representatives on Monday, August 16, 2010.
The tourism figures cited 7 chronic diseases suffered by Bali:
• Traffic congestion, particularly at the Simpang Siur intersection and in Legian, both in Kuta. While plans are being discussed to alleviate the problem at Simpang Siur, the traffic deadlock in Legian is largely due to cars parking along the sides of already narrow roads.
• The presence of illegal tourism transportation operators in Bali. Authorities have proven themselves reluctant or unable to move against the thousands of illegal taxi and transport operations on the island using vehicles lacking tourism operating permits and the required safety certification.
• A declining level of service by the immigration department. Despite numerous complaints, including pleas for relief addressed to the Vice-president and the Minister of Justice and Human Right, and promises of more immigration officials to work at Bali's airport, the tourism sector spokespersons claim little has been done to improve visa-on-arrival service at Bali's sole air gateway.
• The need for an adequate supply of alcoholic beverages for visiting tourists and the frequent interruptions in supply occasioned by maneuvering among powerful groups in Jakarta vying for control of the island's lucrative liquor trade.
• The failure to introduce an effective moratorium on the building of new hotels in Bali and the continuing announcmenet of new hotel projects. Despite general agreement that the carrying capacity for new hotels, both in terms of market demand and infrastructure, is under severe strain, new permits for hotels in Badung continue to be issued.
• The need to place the hotel and restaurant tax (PHR) reporting and collection system for Bali on-line. An automated tax system would lend credibility to the taxation process. The CEO of the Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC), Made Madra, postulates that tax revenues would increase by a factor of 3 if the on-line system were introduced.
• The 500% increase in charges for well water exploitation in Bali which is placing a very heavy financial burden on small and medium-sized hotels.
After hearing the complaints of Bali's tourism leaders, the DPR-Bali promised to create a special committee to examine the areas ofconcern raised during the recent exchange of views.
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