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(6/7/2004) Bali Tourism School to be Closed
The Bali Update #403 report [Bali Tourism School to be Closed] brought comments from readers.
• Regular contributor Andrew Sivijs from Brisbane Australia had this to say:
"The Indonesian Government has an uncanny knack for not understanding the fundamentals of tourism and the delivery of quality visitor experiences. These experiences are forged by a visitors interaction with hosts both formally (e.g. hotels, tours) and informally (e.g. cafes, shops and local adventures). To close a valuable training and development environment such as the Tourism School is short sighted and does not bode well for the tourism industry or Bali's youth. In Australia, we are placing increased emphasis on personal development and up-skilling as the foundation of a quality visitor experience. The Government need not sacrifice this 'essential service' merely to provide bureaucrats with an alternative meeting place. From the foundations of education and training emerges our future industry leaders and human capital. Let's hope the Government is wise enough to re-consider this situation. Invest in your youth."
• Mr. Robin Findlay, who heads a major U.K. incentive operator, added :
"As one of our Companies takes students from STP Bali and finds them work at hotels in the UK, we are dismayed at this news! The students from STP Bali are confident and well-trained and to close this school would be nonsense. Who do we complain to?"
• A reader from Spain, Mr. Antonio Peregrin, also wished to join the chorus of those opposed to the closing of Bali's tourism academy.
"I would like to know what can we do to avoid STP closure? Tourism is a key activity, (for the) economy and development of the Balinese people ... Who wants to hurt the Balinese people more than they have already suffered? Please, we have to do something good and profitable for Balinese."
Travel Advisories – Variations on a Familiar Theme
Our editorial discussing recent U.S. and Australian travel advisories [Travel Advisories – Variations on a Familiar Theme] received unanimous support from the many readers who wrote in commenting on that article. Here's a sampling of those letters:
• Ms. Sue Painter wrote to say:
"Your article is true and correct. We were in Bali last September and never felt a moment's worry. We would return to Bali today, and will return when we can. Your article rings true and makes good points about political positioning of governments. Thank you for your voice of reason."
• Dominic Cafini of Australia had kind words for Bali Update and this to say about media coverage of Bali:
"I have been receiving the Bali Update for over 1 year now and have found it to be a good form of information and advice on what is happening in my most favorite place in the world to go. Since I can lay claim to having traveled to Bali on 12 occasions (3 times already this year and again in August) this is not just any statement. I agree with your Editor that these travel warnings are a bit over the top, blown out by certain media types and that it will definitely not have any effect on me traveling to Bali to see the many, many good local friends in the living village of Jimbaran and Kedondongan. Looking forward to seeing those warm and friendly smiles once again ... Keep up the good work with the Bali Update."
• Adrian Martin in Australia offered the following comments:
"Just wanted to let you know that I haven't come across anyone here in Oz who has regularly visited Bali in the past, and doesn't want to go back.
Sure, many of us now avoid the rubbish on Pantai Kuta and go elsewhere, but folk are still planning to visit. The Balinese people are too nice to just forget and leave."
• Yunus and Sylvia Sujud in Australia offered enthusiastic support for our editorial, saying:
"This was a great article ... and oh so true. We have been back to Bali three times since 911 and have never felt unsafe or threatened. Wish I could say the same about being here in Australia. If for no other reason than 'your times up when your times up' - so what better place to be than Bali. Looks like the terrorists win when people are scared of their own shadows and stay at home. I'll be forwarding this article on to all the fools who won't travel! We will be back in Bali in two weeks ... can't wait."
Seeking a Local Share of the Visa Fees
Our coverage of calls by local officials in Bali for a share of the revenues collected from the recently introduced visa-on-arrival program [Seeking a Local Share of the Visa Fees] brought pointed commentary from one reader:
• Goanna had this to say:
"Bali is, let's face it, a cash cow for the Jakarta folk. It's always been a cash cow, bring in plenty of revenue, reaping a huge share of the multi-billion dollar industry of tourism - yet returning little or none of that money to Bali. I am thinking of infrastructure, electricity supplies, garbage collection and disposal, clean water supplies, adequate roads, schools and hospitals ... god know the government. Collects plenty, starting with the 20% tax that all hotels have to pay, and many restaurants. There is also the Rp. 100,000 per head departure tax, (and) now the visa tax ... Where do all these billions go?
The Government ought to be careful. When you have a cow as productive as Bali has been you look after it, and care for it. Personally I think I shall skip Bali this year: not because of terrorist warnings, but because of the bad water, the pollution and the hopeless traffic problems. When you have a milk cow you treat it RIGHT.
All take and no give will have its repercussions, as tourists start to choose other destinations."
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