Internet Agents in Tourism Spotlight

DENPASAR

Bali’s legislature is worried about travel agents from outside Bali operating services here via the internet, unlicensed tour guides and unauthorised sale of artefacts.

Chairman of a DPRD committee examining business travel services, Tjok Raka Kertiyasa, said there were many fundamental problems with tourism services in Bali but the chief concern was the ease with which unlicensed operators could work through the Internet.

“Travel agents are now wandering Bali because there are no rules,” he said.

The problem is also recognised by the vice-chairman of Commission IV in the legislature, Ketut Kariyasa Adnyana.

“Many shadow travel agents promote via the internet. They can easily contact foreign tourists. When the tourist comes to Bali, it is these unlicensed people who offer a villa,” he said.

Adnyana said the committee had not been able to answer fundamental problems of tourism. It contributed to economic growth in Bali but also took fertile land for development of hotels and villas. Balinese frequently preferred to sell their land rather than continue to work it.

Meanwhile, Tjok Kertiyasa raised further issues. He said work on administrative sanctions against illegal guides was still under way because of interagency problems; difficulties with unofficial publications promoting Bali; and issues over illegal taxis overcharging tourists.

Another problem was the number of foreigners working as travel agents, which was detrimental to local workforce opportunities.

As well, the question of whether Indonesian travel agents from other parts of the country needed permission to work here remained unresolved.

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