BLOWING THE WHISTLE
Graham Hornel CEO of The Questbay Group wrote to comment on our ATF Editorial to say: "GOOD FOR YOU, MATE on blowing the Buyer Whistle!"
ALSO, OUT OF POCKET
Bali Hai Diving Adventures added the following comment on misbehavior at trade shows, "The problem is also compounded by the organizers of such events, and ATF is not alone in this practice. In often final hour efforts to boost buyer numbers, and hence attract additional sellers, the travel industry is targeted in selected regions, with very little vetting of the invitees... Many of whom have never sent a customer to Bali and are not likely too... The Golf courses are the only ones who benefit from this practice... Since when do travel professionals travel to Trade Exhibitions and on Famil's for that matter, with their children??? Bemused and out of pocket, again..."
COMPLAINTS LEVELED AT ONE MAJOR INDONESIAN PLAYER
Several readers wrote to comment on the the behavior of one of Indonesia's major tour operators who reportedly organized an evening function on the same night as the offical Cambodian Reception and took a group of buyers on a golfing expedition during the last day of scheduled meetings. One reader suggested that such behavior, if proven, should result in a ban of several years against that operator from participating in future ATF's.
POOR ADMINISTRATION LOST ATF THIS BUYER
Meanwhile, Bonnie Braga of Braga Travel Consulting in Miami, Florida (USA), wrote to explain why she didn't attend this year's ATF: "I had planned to attend this event since January 2001 while in Brunei. For the 2001 event buyers were sponsored a ticket from the nearest gateway of Malaysian Airways, which in my case was New York to Brunei. I only had to purchase a ticket from Miami to Newark and back, besides an overnight in Newark due to the weather (winter / snowing).
This year, last minute (mid December), after having continuously been asking about the possibility of a discount ticket, I received an email suggesting I contact Singapore Airlines for a 50% discount ticket which in this case would have to be from San Francisco. Singapore Airlines never replied to the secretariat email, and since I had some last minute projects coming up (pre and post tours for World Cup Soccer participants to Asia), and would also have had to purchase a ticket from Miami to San Francisco (at least additional USD 1,200.00), I was not able to attend.
My sales to Asia should amount to over USD300K this year, and I was really looking forward to visiting Indonesia for the first time.
Please note I was a registered buyer but was never offered any discount or partial complimentary ticket to participate in ATF 2002 this year. Had I known that I would have to purchase a normal ticket in advance, I would have planned for this."
And, finally, a piece of fan mail from Daniel Collins for Bali and Bali Update:
"As a frequent visitor to Beautiful Bali, I wait each week to receive your "Bali Update", it is informative and full of interesting articles.
Having made numerous trips to Bali over the years, I have had the opportunity to make many close friends with some of the wonderful Balinese people. It saddened me on my last trip (Dec 2001), to find many places business closing their doors due to the dramatic downturn in tourism from across the globe, and in particular Australia.
Many Australians now consider Bali to be pricing itself out of the market, with destinations such as Thailand and Malaysia proving to be cheaper for the family pocket. This of course may be true as far as the cost of flights and accommodation goes, however Bali is overall, in my humble opinion, still better value for money overall.
The associated costs involved in a holiday, ie; food, drinks, tours and shopping, are by far less intrusive on the hip pocket in Bali than other Asian destinations, were the cost of a drink can be as much as triple that of Bali.
So to all those tourists who consider Bali to be over pricing itself, remember the associated costs involved and not just the cost of flights and accommodation.
Bali Update, keep up the good work, we are true friends of Bali and have never failed to travel to this magical island destination, even during the tough times of the past few years."
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