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Pitana Says Guides Must Know Balinese Culture

Chief of Bali Tourism Issues Ultimatum to Culturally Ignorant Tour Guides: Shape Up or Ship Out!

Bali News:
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Bali Tourism Authority (BTA), the Government Body charged with safeguarding the island's culture and tourism, has recently cracked down on guides without proper licenses or whose guiding permits have expired. In past weeks some 400 illegal guides have been rounded up during sweeping inspections carried out by police and tourism officials. Of that total, 195 cases have been forwarded to the Courts, 14 cases are still in legal process, and the remainder were given guidance to prevent future infringement on the guide rules.

Speaking at a guide training course held in Denpasar on December 12, 2003, the Chief of the BTA, Dr. Professor I Gde Pitana, called for the quality of Bali guides to be continually enhanced, both in terms of the number of foreign languages spoken and in terms of their understanding of Balinese culture. "Guides working in Bali must know Bali's Culture," cautioned Dr. Pitana, adding "those who don't know (Bali's culture), should get out of Bali!"

Dr. Pitana quickly explained that his statement in this regard should not be misinterpreted as cultural hegemony by the Balinese, but rather as a matter intrinsically tied to maintaining the quality of the Bali tourism product.

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