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Government Not Proactive in Dealing with Tourism Issues.

Local Travel Leaders Criticize the Lack of a Coordinated Response to EU Aviation Bans and Renewed Negative Travel Advisories.

(8/6/2007) An article in the Indonesian language Bali Travel News Image describe the EU aviation ban and recent travel advisories as two "hot" topics currently affecting the national tourism industry. Seeing the damnation of Indonesian aviation by the European community and renewed travel warnings for Bali as fundamentally damaging to Bali's tourism, the publication solicited comments from local tourism professionals and island visitors.

The Coordinator of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), I.B. Ngurah Wijaya said: "Certainly, these two incidents hurt Bali tourism. Tourism stakeholders and the private sector have worked hard to revive the tourism sector. Promotional activities and workshops, both domestically and outside the country, have been conducted."

Condemning the government response to the latest crisis, Wijaya added: "We have struggled to restore the tourism sector; but the government tends to only be reactive, rather than proactive, resulting in the current confused state of affairs."

Wijaya suggested that as members of the World Aviation Association (WAA) Indonesia should proactively question the EU's aviation policies and, if necessary, launch a protest regarding the EU's recent aviation announcements detrimental to Indonesian travel.

In the same page-one article, balidiscovery.com president director, John Daniels, supported Wijaya's comments, claiming that national tourism leader had failed to "jemput bola" (greet the football) and were not acting proactively to restore Indonesia's damaged tourism image. Daniels warned, "if this attitude continues, Indonesian and Bali tourism will become increasingly chaotic."

The article warned that recent renewed travel advisories from Australia will eventually have a negative effect on Bali's tourism industry, although there were no immediately discernable downturn in bookings.

That travel warnings are not the final word for Bali visitors was reflected by an Australian tourist, Allan King, who said the travel advisories did not prevent him from visiting Bali and only caused him to be more vigilant in matters of personal safety. Separately, an Australian honeymoon couple, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Hastings, told Bali Travel News that anything can happen anywhere and they felt safe and secure honeymooning in Bali.