The Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA) is suggesting that the category of "travel agents" be placed on the negative investment list in order to stem the uncontrolled promulgation of travel companies now underway in Bali.
Quoted in Bisnis Bali, the vice-chairman of ASITA Bali, Bagus Sudibya, says the number of illegal travel agents in Bali is worrying. These rogue operations, according to Sudibya, threaten the image of Bali tourism and create an unhealthy competitive environment.
Because of this, he supports current steps by the provincial government to survey travel operators in order to determine the number of working and viable agencies from among the hundred of licenses on the book.
"We will count how many the ideal number of travel agents are needed in Bali," said Sudibya. Comparing the situation among travel agents with the business situation of hotels, Sudibya complained that 40-50% of all hotel rooms in Bali are vacant due to oversupply.
Subidya further explained, once the current survey of travel agents is completed, ASITA will consider writing to both President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the Investment Coordination Board (BKPM) asking that new investments in new travel agencies for Bali be black-listed."
Blaming the current confusion and oversupply of travel agents on the uncertainty of the law and regulatory environment, Sudibya cited how illegal travel operations feign ignorance of the laws governing the operation of tour and transportation companies. He also said the growing role of on-line travel companies also warrant close scrutiny by officials.
Earlier, Bali's top tourism official, Drs. Ida Bagus Kade Subhisku, the chief of the Bali Tourism Authority (Kapdiparda), explained how his office encounters agencies with licenses but with uncertain operations. When inspected by his office, the actual address of agency was undefined or the business location had moved.
A July survey by the Bali Tourism Authority completed in July showed 351 licensed travel agents with an unclear current status; 91 of which were not operating.
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