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Bali Discovery Tours
Sanur Raya No. 27
Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai,
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia
Tel: +62 (0)361 286 283
Bali Fax: +62 (0)361 286 284
24h: +62 (0)812 3819724
BALI UPDATE #034 - 14 May 1998
On behalf of Bali Tourism, I would like to thank the
many people from around the world who are sending messages of concern
and support to travel industry colleagues in Bali. This newsletter, which
is now received by hundreds of readers around the world including a number
of major publications, has become something of a forum and a mailbox for
people concerned about Bali and its people. Each and every expression
of concern is shared with my colleagues in Bali and is sincerely appreciated.
BALI - BIASA BIASA SAJA
"Bali - Biasa Biasa Saja" or "Bali Business as Usual"
best describes the current situation on our Paradise island. In the face
of the many travel warnings issued by foreign governments, hotels and
tour operators are reporting substantial cancellations. Tourists, rushing
to depart the island on recommendations from their governments and tour
operators must be confused as they leave an island where they have been
enjoying a safe and hassle-free holiday.
IS BALI SAFE?
Despite the warnings from various governments to
their nationals to flee Indonesia, I sincerely believe Bali to be safe.
In the words of the late American President, Franklin Roosevelt, "we have
nothing to fear, but fear itself."
Let me share a brief story which exemplifies my point.
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon tracing back a rumour
of "impending doom " in Bali which came to me via a Jakarta Tour Operator
who was advised by one of Germany's leading tour wholesalers that they
were immediately evacuating their clients from Bali. Reportedly, the agent's
German representative, living temporarily on the island, had relayed
to the head office a rumour heard from village boys at the local banjar
(community hall). Apparently, gossip among local boys over a pack of cigarettes
was reported by an unprofessional and inexperienced local representative
which resulted in persuading the people at head office to issue the order
to evacuate the island now.
Ignorance and an over- active imagination claimed
victims on all fronts; Tour operators who incur unnecessary costs in cancelling
holidays; tourists who are denied the holiday of a lifetime; and countless
Balinese who sadly watch their income diminish as the tourists depart.
When challenged for taking such dramatic action,
the tour operators will claim they are only "playing it safe" in light
of the very negative news from Jakarta. On one level they are certainly
right. But, at the same time, each tour operator to Indonesia bears a
certain responsibility to develop local knowledge and expertise which
should allow a more moderate, less reactionary, approach to what is "not
happening" in Bali. The truth always takes a bit of effort to uncover.
I receive no less than 10 telephone calls and tens
of e-mails every day asking me what is really happening in Bali.
The answer is the same each time: NOTHING is happening
Can I guarantee the future? No. If I could, I'd be
a stock broker not a travel professional.
At the same time, each of us involved in Bali tourism
must answer the urgent call to stand up for island in this time of crisis.
Believe in Bali and its people, make sure that your staff and your business
relations overseas know the situation remains calm.
As a point of personal commitment, I have handed
my passport to my Company's Personnel Manager and asked him to keep it
until further notice and not to bother to arrange an exit permit - a necessary
document for foreign workers wishing to go abroad. Perhaps, if other
General Manager's of hotels and attractions in Bali would consider taking
a similar step, we could create a groundswell of commitment to let our
employees and our customers know how strongly we believe in this island,
its people, and their future.
If you're considering a visit to Bali, I'd suggest
you not change your plans. There are certainly fewer tourists around which
is unfortunate for business but pleasant if you're looking to enjoy the
island to yourself. You'd best come now, the lack of tourist just won't
last. This island is just too attractive and enchanting for people to
stay away from it for very long.
If you come to Bali, look for me in the morning on
Sanur beach walking the dogs. From my perspective :
"Bali - Biasa Biasa Saja."
Editor/ Vice Chairman PATA Bali Chapter
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