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Tougher Standards for Foreign Travel Agencies

Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents Proposes Restrictions and Controls on Foreign Travel Agents.

(10/4/2004) The Vice-Chairman of the Indonesian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (ASITA), Rudiana, has urged the Government to impose a number of restrictions and conditions on foreign travel agents establishing businesses in Indonesia.

Quoted in the October 1, 2004, issue of the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Rudiana suggested the following changes be considered by the Government on foreign tour operators:

Foreign tour operators establishing agencies in Indonesia be required to post cash guarantees.

Foreign tour operators be prohibited from selling outbound tours for at least the first three years of their operations and required to promote only inbound tour programs.

That foreigners employed at foreign-owned tour operators be required to possess a fluency in the Indonesian language.

That new permits for foreign tour operators pass through a single door, ending the current practice where permits may be granted by either the Foreign Investment Coordinating Board or the Tourism Service.

While admitting that the information and management systems of foreign tour companies are often faster and more efficient than existing domestic operators, Rudiana insisted it is not inappropriate for the Government to protect domestic enterprises by imposing the standards and restrictions he suggests.

The total number of travel agents operating in Jakarta is estimated at more than 1,600 while the number in Bali is approaching 360.