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We Get Mail - Visa Fees and Ape Planets

Bali Update Readers Write to Tell Us What's on Their Minds.

Bali News:
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Planet of the Apes?

First, a light-hearted reader's suggestion concerning the flight by South Africa's Space Tourist:

When Mark Shuttleworth (the very rich space tourist) returns from space, everybody should dress up in ape suits.

This will only work if we all do it.

Editorial: Make it Ticket Inclusive, Please!

Ms. Alene Freidenrich, from Phoenix, Arizona (U.S.A.) wrote to share her comments on the Bali Update Editorial discussing how to apply the proposed visa fee:

If the Indonesian Government feels that it is important to insist on this visa fee, please make it inclusive in the ticket price and then make the visa as easy to obtain as the Australian Visa.

In obtaining an Australian Visa, the pertinent details of one's passport are input into the airline PNR computer information. It is user-friendly and makes visa issuance a snap.

Please Indonesia, come into the 21st Century!

Is Indonesia Making it Too Hard to Sell Tourism?

Mr. Peter Lyndorf, a reader from Denmark wrote to add his comments on the same subject:

First of all, thanks for your outstanding reports from Bali.

I visited Bali first time 1996. After 40 years in the travel industry in Europe, I saw the great potential of not only Bali, but all of Indonesia after having visited several of the other islands too.

Since then I have had 16 groups in Indonesia with me as tour leader, in most of the tours I had included Bali. My guests are mostly retired people from Denmark and Sweden, all well established and well educated. I arrange these tours for people who are "young enough to have the guts, old enough to have the time, and money enough to pay the price".

We have visited Bali, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Komodo, Sumba, Biak and,recently, West Papua.

On my most recent tours I noticed how few tourists I saw compared with the situation only one year before. Bali was very bad. During 10 days in West Papua we met 6 other foreign visitors, one from Japan, five from the United States.

I also noticed the rise in the airport taxes. My incoming agent had told me Rp. 50.000 for international flights from Java. A few days before our departure it was raised to Rp. 100.000 with very short notice.

Several of my guests stay for a longer time after the group goes home, mostly in Bali.

It is very difficult to collect a group for destination Indonesia. Most people have a negative impression of this tourist destination, and the reasons for this you know better than I do. Furthermore Indonesia has no tourist representation in the Scandinavian countries anymore. Garuda only has one small office in Stockholm. There are no brochures available, and a request for marketing material from tourist offices in Indonesia normally results in nothing.

Indonesias competitors in the region like Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam do very good business here in Scandinavia. Thailand alone has more than 200.000 tourists a year from here.

Well, back to the visa fee and shorter duration of stay. If Indonesia wants to implement suicide in tourism, then go ahead with this.

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