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An Ipamena Boondoggle?

Badung Bali Lawmakers Want to Travel En Masse to Brazil to Promote Tourism

(5/12/2014) Members of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung) are planning a comparative study trip to Brazil at an estimated cost of Rp. 1.5 billion (US$130,000).

Seen as a privilege of office and as a reward for retiring lawmakers, such grand tours are an annual affair. Last year the DPRD-Bandung visited Thailand and Australia.

According to The Bali Post, all 40 members of the DPRD Badung will be entitled to join the proposed tour to Brazil that is also be used to promote tourism from Brazil to Bali.

One source at the DPRD-Bali told the Bali Post that the lawmakers wished to travel to a distant locale and see the preparations for the World Cup while at the same timepromoting tourism.

The plans for the visit are still loose and unorganized. The Council Secretariat (Setwan) told The Bali Post that the DPRD-Badung is still trying to arrange an agenda for the visit, admitting there were no pressing pending agenda items between Bali and Brazil that could serve as the rationale for promoting tourism to that South American nation.

I Wayan Puspa Negara, the chairman of the legislative agency (Banleg) of the DPRD-Bali defended the trip, saying lawmakers could examine football stadiums being built for the 2014 World Cup and visit Copacabana Beach to discover why it is more famous than Bali’s Kuta Beach.

According to NusaBali, one unspoken function of the trip is to serve as a farewell gift for members of the House who were not re-elected to another term in the parliament.

Puspa Negara did not explain how educating retiring legislators via an expensive trip contribute to the collective knowledge of the Badung Parliament.

In 2013, a total of 9.379 Brazilians visited Bali as tourists. As a market share of all foreign visitors Brazil comprises 0.29% and of the 170 nations tracked by Bali Tourism, Brazil ranks as the 97th most important market for the island

The secretary of the DPRD told the press that plans to visit Brazil were, at this stage, merely an aspiration of the legislators, but had yet to be finalized. Hong Kong was also being considered for the trip
For such a trip to materialize the DPRD-Badung would have to receive formal authorization for the trip from Bali’s governor and the Minister of the Interior.

Another former official said that planners of the trip were still trying to obtain an formal invitation to visit Brazil, looking for a major event to attend and justify the promotion of tourism as the basis for the legislative study-tour journey.