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Bali Tourism Promotion Budget Reduced for 2009

Less Money and a More Selective Approach to Promoting Tourism on the Cards for Bali in 2009.

(12/20/2008) The Bali Tourism Authority (BTA) has revealed that Bali will have only Rp. 4 billion (US$360,000) for tourism promotion in 2009, 20% less than the Rp. 5 billion allocated in 2008.

Bali officials are blaming the reduced promotional budget on the worsening global financial crisis and the need to prioritize spending on health services and poverty eradication.

The move to curtail promotional funding has been labeled as "unwise" by the Bali Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA), Al Purwa. Purwa told The Jakarta Post that, in fact, the government needs to increase promotional budgets to counteract the expected downturn in tourism markets in 2009: "Promotions are a necessity regardless of the given economic conditions. In a time of financial crisis, we must strengthen promotional efforts and not weaken them."

Purwa also warned that his members were reporting cancellations and reduced levels of new bookings for the coming year.

The Chief of the BTA, I Gede Nurjaya, said he remained optimistic that a 2.1 million target for foreign visitors was achievable for 2009. He explained that total, higher than the 1.9 million plus visitors expected to be in hand by the end of 2008, will be achieved through targeted promotions; coordinated visits by the press, travel agents and foreign officials; and cooperative programs with international airlines flying to Bali.

Quoted separately in Beritabali.com, Nurjaya said promotional efforts would be reduced in "markets deemed to not have great potential such as Russia" and instead see marketing concentrated on more promising markets such as Japan, Australia, China and India.

The total budget of the BTA is Rp. 6 billion (US$540,500) with two-thirds of that amount dedicated to promotional activities and the remaining one-third for the daily operations of his office.