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Illegal Marine Tourism Operators

Gahawisri Complains that Many Marine Tour Operators are Illegally Owned by Foreign Parties with Indonesia Fronts.

(8/8/2008) Tempo Interaktif quotes the Bali Chairman of the Association of Marine Tourism Operators (Gahawisri), Yos K. Amerta, as saying that there are "tens" of illegal marine tourism operators in Bali. Many of these illegal operations, according to Amerta, are owned by foreigners and represent a number he expects to grow with the increasing popularity of "borrowing" the name of a local as a front for their businesses.

Amerta told Tempo that there are presently around 200 marine tourism operators in Bali of which 10% or 20 operators without the required operating licenses. "And these are only those we’ve detected," added Amerta.

The Gahawisri Chairman for Bali said coordinating efforts are now underway with the Provincial Tourism Authority in Bali to bring the illegal operators into line. At the same time, Amerta confessed that both Gahawisri and the government are being thwarted in their enforcement efforts due to practices in which illegal foreign operators are shielding behind local counterparts acting as business fronts.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National office of Gahawisri, Feisol Hashim freely admitted that many marine tourism operations in Indonesia are controlled by foreigners. "What's ironic," said Feisol, "is that many operate illegally. In Bunaken (Manado), for example, 90 percent of marine operations are foreign owned."

Fesiol also admitted the difficulties of controlling operation run by foreigners who have married a local resident.