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Missing Wind Beneath Our Sails

North Bali Officials Lambasted for Failure to Adequately Promote Sail Indonesia Event.

(9/28/2009) Radar Bali reports a brewing controversy between the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) and the Tourism Office for the Regency of Buleleng (Disbudpar) in North Bali over the poor promotion of the recent Sail Indonesia yacht rally visit.

Suardipa, the owner of the Rangon Sunset Restaurant and Chairman of the Buleleng's chapter of PIHRI, has leveled strong criticism of the Buleleng officials in charge of tourism protocol and publicity whom he claim only publish press releases on official visits and the installation of local officials while failing completely to promote international events, such as Sail Indonesia 2009. Saying that the regency's government should play a proactive role in promoting Buleleng's tourism, Suardipa pre-empted officials claim of financial limitations, saying: "whatever the budget (for promotion) this cannot become the reason for failing to promote this event (Sail Indonesia). Even if the budget is reduced to only Rp. 60 million (US$6,000), promotion must carry on. We don't want to hear about (how little) budget they have."

Suardipa's comments were echoed by Nyoman Priti, a local official of the Democratic Party, who expressed his shocked at the lack of synergy in Buleleng's tourism office. He maintains that the promotion of an event like Sail Indonesia should be carried out at a minimum of one month in advance of the event, "not like the current situation, which gives the impression of 'last minute' with no promotion at all."

The Head of the Buleleng Tourism Office, Drs. Putu Tastra Wijaya, reacted to the strong criticism of his office by holding a press conference at a beachside restaurant in Lovina. At that conference he claimed his office was limited by a lack of budget in support of Sail Indonesia. While the allocation for Sail Indonesia in 2009 was Rp. 60 million (US$6,000), the budget in 2008 was substantially more at Rp. 172 million (US$17,200).

He also told the press that this year's Sail Indonesia event held between September 30 October 4, 2009, was expected to attract 165 yachts from 20 countries carrying crews totaling 165 people. While the sailing crews are visiting Bali's north shore they will be entertained with cultural performances, local sporting activities, painting and handicraft exhibitions and a colossal dance performance.