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Putting it On the Line

Indonesian Association of Travel Agents Threaten Boycott of Bali Hotels Doing Business with Illegal Accommodation Websites

(2/1/2013) The Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post) reports that the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) is threatening to black list hotels and other accommodation providers in Bali know to be working with illegal online travel agencies.

The chairman of ASITA – Bali, Ketut Ardana, defended such a move as necessary to stem the growth in illegal on-line agencies selling Bali accommodation and to compensate for the lack of active enforcement by the provincial government.

The deputy-chairman of ASITA-Bali, Putu Widastra, said: 

“We will blacklist hotels and other accommodation businesses that are proven to have cooperated with illegal travel agencies, be they operating online or not.”

The Bali members of ASITA number 352 tour and travel agencies. ASITA is seeking to halt the activities of illegal travel agencies – both operating on-line or in other manners in Bali, who are seen as often acting unethically, destroying the tourism reputation of the Island and avoiding to take up their fair share of the tax burden.

Ardana complained: 

“The government places many rules on travel agencies that already have licenses from the province. We have to pay greater taxes, too, but for those illegal travel agencies that are operating online, the government does nothing.

 If the hotels stop using these illegal travel agencies’ services, they would not have grown to the level they are at today. We have to continue to approach hotels, to urge them to only use our services, which are licensed.”

Ardana called on Bali’s governor, Made Mangku Pastika, to keep good his promise to take action against illegal tour operators. Past reports detailing illegal tour operations filed with the Tourism Department of Bali have received neither acknowledgement nor any action from the provincial government.

Legally registered Bali tour and travel agents, according to ASITA, are reporting a 10% drop in foreign market share, blamed in part on the intrusion of unregistered travel operators.