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Latest Developments in the 911 ERS Fund Debate

Officials Striving to Distance Themselves from Controversial Fee Proposal.

(9/13/2004) As reported at balidiscovery.com [The 911 ERS Fund?] a Jakarta-based foundation is continuing in its attempts to introduce a US$ 30-40 surcharge on all inbound international passengers visiting Bali which they claim will finance an emergency safety and welfare program for the island's tourists.

Following the publication of the story in Bali Update on September 6, 2004, opposition to the proposed program has become increasingly vocal with local community and political leaders quoted in Bali newspapers sparing no effort in distancing themselves from the unpopular proposal.

In the most recent developments:

Bali's Governor has ordered the Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Mr. Gede Nurjaya to write to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) to underline that the Governor has never agreed to the proposed US$ 30-40 surcharge on inbound passengers.

The Governor's Office has explained that the endorsement letter for the 911 ERS Fund he signed in 2003 and which is now being used as the legal basis for moving forward with plans to impose the surcharge, specifically forbid any steps that would impose an economic burden on the people of Bali.

The Chairman of IATA in Bali, Yan Hastama, claimed on Tuesday, September 7, 2004, that he had no knowledge of the proposed charge or any negotiations now underway between IATA and the funds organizers the YLKMI.

The President Director of the Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC), Made Mandra, was quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post saying "If the fee is imposed, it will be the same as self-strangulation. Eventually tourists won't want to come to Bali. I think the effects of the proposed 911 surcharge could be as disastrous as the Bali bomb."