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Wiratha Says Government Both Deaf & Blind

Bali's Outspoken Hotel & Restaurant Association Chief Says Government Neglects Tourism.

(12/9/2001) In a report carried in the Saturday, December 8, 2001 edition of the Indonesian language Bali Post, Indonesian Hotel & Restaurant Association Bali Chapter (PHRI) Chairman, Mr. I Gde Wiratha, said it was "ironic" that the Government has no budget for the promotion of tourism - despite that sector's position as the second leading source of foreign exchange.

Insisting that it was the responsibility of the Provincial Government of Bali and the Minister of Culture and Tourism to fight for such funding - especially for Bali, which is overwhelmingly dependent on tourism earnings, the outspoken local tourism leader depicted the Government as being both "blind and deaf" when it comes to tourism matters. He added that while the private sector has undertaken various efforts to restore the Island's tourism industry, the Government has failed to allocate a special promotional budget in the face of the worldwide crisis in tourism in the aftermath of the events of September 11.

Mr. Wiratha described the suddenly greater role played by Asian markets in Bali's tourism mix as a new opportunity for the island. With Asian travelers looking for new tourism destinations closer to home, he said, Bali must increase its efforts to preserve its unique culture while at the same time opening up "new destinations" away from Bali's traditional tourism centers in the southern part of the Island. He explained how a more geographically widespread and equitable distribution of tourism revenues on the island would provide an automatic incentive for people in remote regions to preserve their local cultures. He added, "Invite tourists to Lovina, Tulamben and other remote areas, stop telling (tourists) to pile-up in south Bali. To achieve this, these (remote) areas must be opened for tourism."