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Ineffective Overseas Tourism Promotion?

Local Tourism Experts Suggest Strategic Planning Missing in Bali Government's Tourism Recovery Plan.

Bali News:
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According to a report carried in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, several leading tourism experts are questioning the effectiveness of overseas promotion currently carried out by the provincial government, suggesting that the current approach to recovery lacks strategic thinking. Citing recent overseas tourism recovery trips to Vietnam and Japan as examples of a lack of strategic planning, critics are calling for the government to develop keener crisis management skills for the future.

According to Yos WK Amerta, the Chairman of the Association of Water Sports Operators (Gahawisri), Bali tourism is at a critical juncture. Amerta suggests that those who downplayed the negative effects of Bali's most recent bombing as being lest severe than the aftermath of the 2002 attacks are guilty of self-delusion. He claims that cancellations continue to escalate, tourism arrivals continue to decline, and a number of companies have closed or on the verge of doing so.

Underlining that while he does not wish to trivialize the contributions made by the government of Bali to date, Amerta feels that what has been done thus far is far from adequate. While the visit to Japan by the Governor of Bali and a group of tourism leaders in the weeks after the October 1st bombing to explain security measure being put into place was a positive step, Amerta questions why similar trips to other key markets, such as Australia, have not been undertaken. "With all due respect," he said, "this (approach to recovery) can leave the impression of discrimination in how we promote Bali."

Similarly, Amerta expressed shock that the Government has chosen Vietnam as a target for exhibitions and overseas promotions in the period following the terrorist attack. While such promotion is necessary, he suggests that a scale of priorities in choosing markets for overseas promotion is necessary, especially when funds for such activities are severely limited.

Echoing Amerta's sentiments were comments made by Ida Bagus Lolec, the Managing Director of Pacific World Nusantara, a leading destination management company in Bali. Calling for more thorough preparations in connection with overseas promotional program, the veteran travel professional says that a successful overseas promotion is dependent on 90% preparation and planning, and only 10% on the actual execution of the activity. Elaborating on his comments, Lolec explained that preparation includes deciding who will participate in an overseas promotional trip, what materials will be presented, and who will be targeted in the promotion. Lolec questioned whether the government's current helter-skelter program of overseas promotional trips have been preceded by preparations that are thorough and professional?

Based on his shared experience with others in the travel industry, Lolec insists that overseas promotions have to be linked to specific, achievable targets, adding that promotional activities undertaken abroad must be productive with less emphasis placed on ceremonial programs. Wishing to blame no one in connection with the conduct of current promotional trips, Lolec warned "it is better to meet with only two or three key individuals than to gather together with a hundred people of no consequence and little influence."

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