Dr. Ir. Pitana, Chief of the Bali Provincial Tourism Service, accepted an invitation to lunch from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Bali & Nusa Tenggara Chapter on Friday, August 25, held at Bali's Radisson Hotel.
PROBLEMS WITH AUTONOMY
Participating in an answer and question dialogue, Dr. Pitana reported that Indonesia's newfound national policy of autonomy was presenting a number of problems to the effort to maintain the quality of the Bali tourism product. Explaining that under the terms of the regional autonomy policy introduced nation-wide in January of this year, Bali is comprised of 9 Kabupatens and one municipality, each of which is empowered to make its own tourism policy with little or no coordination with the other parts of the island.
To address this problem, Dr. Pitana recently convened a meeting with the tourism policy makers from each of the 9 Kabupatens and the Denpasar City Government to discuss how power and responsibility should be shared on tourism issues. Following that meeting, it was decided that tourism promotion and licensing and other issues that had a island-wide or cross-kabupaten impact would now be the prerogative of his office.
EMPHASIS ON SERVICE TO THE PUBLIC
Dr. Pitana's pronouncement that the issuance of permits for Bali tourism enterprises would no longer be a source of revenue or corruption for his department received enthusiastic applause from the audience.
Concerned about the Island's carrying capacity in terms of tourism growth, Dr. Pitana bemoaned the fact that under the current regulatory regime he is compelled to issue permits to any new tourism enterprise that meets the basic statutory requirements. A case in point, the tourism chief revealed how he had just approved the new licenses for tour and travel operators, bringing the total number of active licenses in Bali to a staggering 307.
VILLAGE AND CULTURE BASED TOURISM
Dr. Pitana insisted that he will continue to champion culture based tourism that return tangible benefits on the grass-roots level to the people of Bali. At the same time, he acknowledged the growing power of the desa adat or traditional village in Bali. On the positive side this has provided a new voice and power to the people of Bali, while on the other hand there are indications that in some instances the power of the villages were being abused to neither the benefit of tourism or the people of Bali.
A PROMISE TO RETURN
In order to keep the lines of communication open with players in the local tourism community, Dr. Pitama accepted an invitation from the Bali & Nusa Tenggara PATA Chapter to return to address the tourism industry again in February of 2002.
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