Bali Is My Gripe
To everyone involved in Bali’s tourism industry, read these words: “Bali is so nice, but the first impression is the worst I’ve had anywhere in the world.”
This shameful summation from an Australian visitor (see letter below) is not new, but what continues to shock and mystify is that the inexcusable handling of tourists arriving here is getting worse.
Tourism officials and executives should be mortally ashamed and humiliated at Bali’s increasingly bad overseas impression, one created by officials here. There is no reason for celebration, but that’s exactly what we are seeing.
Last week leaders of Bali’s tourism industry – the only sector of real value to the Balinese and the local and central governments – were clapping themselves on the back at an event where a marketing slogan for Bali was re-launched.
Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik was all smiles as he officiated at the event, where the slogan Bali Is My Life – a flat catchphrase conjured up by the Bali Hotels Association – but instead of attending to fluff, he would be better employed addressing the myriad real problems besetting the island’s tourism.
And that starts right at the arrivals hall of the airport.
s our Australian correspondent points out, it is among the most off-putting places in the world. Surely, people ask, the Immigration Department could adequately staff the visa-on-arrival counters, to oil the flow of thousands of incoming passengers at peak times in the late afternoon? They could, if many of them had not been fired or transferred elsewhere in the country amid ongoing corruption revelations. So reassign others into those empty counters, and do it now, to relieve the hours-long, sweaty burden on those arriving.
Regrettably, foreign tourists do not get a smiling welcome to our island. What they get are scowling officials who are more interested in turning a trick than warmly ushering arrivals through. We do not know what message Bali Is My Life is intended to impart, because it is a hollow line, but we do know this: Treating foreign holidaymakers with contempt will lead to a Bali with no life.Filed under: Editorial