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Nyepi a Holiday to Cherish, Not Package

Balinese Travel Leaders Criticize Hotels and Travel Agencies that Promote Nyepi Packages

(3/10/2013) The Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA) has called into question hotels that  promote “Nyepi Packages” over the mandatory day of silence that marks the Bali Hindu New Year.

The Balinese leadership of ASITA are questioning if the promotion of Nyepi Packages detracts from the true meaning of the Balinese sacred holiday.

Quoted in Bisnis Bali, the chairman of ASITA Bali, Ketut Ardana, said that Nyepi, which falls on March 12, 2013, is a sacred day that must be honored by all parties.  In his view, hotels and travel agents should follow government and religious authorities recommendations not to promote “Nyepi packages.”

Continuing, Ardana said: “If there is a hotel or a travel agency outside of ASITA that is offering Nyepi packages, this is because we have failed to socialize or these hotels and agency have failed to understand the information we have provided.”

Ardana is of the further opinion that there may be hotels that are aware of the recommendations not to promote Nyepi Package but, nonetheless, promote such packages in order to fill their rooms in the currently competitive market. “So, (thee hotels) creatively construct Nyepi packages that in fact violate the rules.”

Earlier the chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association for Bali
(PHRI-Bali), Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, considered a number of the Nyepi packages offered by Bali hotels failed to capture the true meaning of Nyepi. “They are mostly offering dining and recreational programs at their hotels, showing that the true meaning of ‘Nyepi’ has somehow been lost,” said Sukawati.

Sukawati, who is also the former regent of Gianyar, says he thinks Nyepi should be promoted as a uniquely Balinese event that happens only once a year. Adding, “For instance, tourists should be given explanations in simple language on the meaning and uses of Nyepi in terms of its environmental and other impacts. These are the values that should be advanced.”