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No Art in Selling Cheap

Marketing Expert Calls for New Directions in How Bali Promotes Tourism

(10/6/2012) One of Indonesia’s leading marketers, Herman Kertajaya, has warned Bali’s tourism professionals to refrain from selling Bali cheaply by offering too many discounts. Kertajaya said that as a world tourism destination Bali must abandon giving discounts that have a negative effect on the destination.

Quoted by Bali Post, Kertajaya said: “Promotion must be ongoing, but it should be more focused on the human spirit, not merely on discounts that attract tourists intent on low price but lacking in quality.

The marketing expert was speaking at a gathering of tourism professional held in Renon, Denpasar on Thursday, October 4, 2012.

Kertajaya insists that Bali still has opportunities to develop its tourism. But, he believes, that development cannot be solely focused on the island’s south. Both the government and tourism stakeholders must work together for a more equitable distribution of development to all areas of the island.

“Bali is not just South Bali, there are also Bali East, West and North. It would be unfortunate if Bali were satisfied with only 1.7 million (foreign tourists). Phuket, Thailand which is quite small, manages 1.7 million foreign visitors, while Thailand as a whole achieves 20 million tourists visitors,” he explained.

He believes a more equitable development covering all geographical areas of Bali can be accomplished by taking leave from the old methods of promoting the island. The antiquated means of the past – such as horizontal promotion using advertisements, according to Kertajaya, only needlessly wastes money. He also took the opportunity to admonish the wasteful and destructive practice of “selling tourists” that is prevalent in the Chinese market.

“The promotion of tourism in Bali must be done in a truthful way. Bali tourism stakeholders are obliged to study the theory of marketing in order that we can humanize the visitors. Through mobilizing the communities living in Bali, promotion will not be only through the media but be from human to human.”

Explaining his “new approach,” Kertajaya said tourists visiting Bali must not only be pushed to buy souvenirs, but must also be taught to make those souvenirs. This, he believes, will result in a brand that will give Bali a lasting place in the minds of tourism visitors.