The First ever Bali and Beyond Travel Fair (BBTF-2014) at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center (BNDCC) June 11-14, 2014 failed to deliver the goods in terms of buyers promised and eagerly awaited by Indonesian hoteliers, tour operators, tour attractions and regional governments who had all invested large sums of money for the right to operate a booth at the event.
Serious, angry questions are now being raised by the Indonesian travel industry seeking to know if they were intentionally misled by BBTF organizers who claimed 601 registered buyers just two days before the event, a number later corrected to 460 with, in fact, only some 233 buyers or less actually attended the Travel Fair. Adding insult to injury, among the scant number of buyers participating at the BBTF-2014, many complained of problems with promised transportation and accommodation.
The chairman of BBTF-2014 and chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Tour and Travel Association (ASITA), I Ketut Ardana, remains apparently unfazed by the growing chorus of complaints from unhappy sellers. Ardana told Metrobali.com that BBTF must continue in the years to come, improving with each passing year.
Despite the BBTF-2014 being officially opened by the Director General of Marketing from the Ministry of Tourism and the Creative Economy and Bali’s Deputy Governor, organizers complained of a lack of financial support from the provincial government of Bali.
In response, the Deputy-Governor Ketut Sudikerta told the press that next year’s event would receive support from the provincial budget.
The date for the BBTF 2015 has been set for June 8-13, 2015. The fasting month of Ramadan will commence in 2015 on or about June 18, 2015.
The Tourism Ministry has also promised greater support for the 2nd BBTF in 2015, calling on the organizers of BBTF 2015 to be more creative in how they attract buyers and sellers,
Where do We Go From Here?
Despite the best of intentions by ASITA and the government, next year's BBTF si likely to prove a very hard sell to Indonesian tourism industry members unless the organizers make some sort of frank acknowledgement and apology for the many shortcomings of the inaugural event and and divulge firm plans run by a team of professional event organizers to set things right in 2015.
Without firm, open corrective steps Indonesian sellers might emulate the behavior of this year buyers and stay away from BBTF 2015 in droves.
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