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A Sampling of Some of the Emails has Received on the State of Bali Tourism, the Unethical Buying and Selling of Tourists Names, UNWTO Green Designation for Bali, Candy Change and Long Lines at the Airport.

(12/14/2009) Bali Tourism Has Lost its Bearings

The recent warning from Indonesian elder statesman Prof. Dr. Emil Salim that Bali tourism is placing quantity before quality [See: Bali Tourism Has Lost its Bearings] caused many to write it.

- Steven Simicich said:

"I completely agree with this article as it brings up very important points. My wife and I just spent our honeymoon in Bali this past August, the elements of this wonderful island which impressed us the most and make us yearn to return are the people's culture and spiritual nature. We look forward to returning for another long stay not merely because of beautiful beaches and party atmosphere because these elements can be attained at numerous locations. The reason why we would fly back again from our home in New York City to visit Bali is because of the elements this article discussed. I just wanted to express that point of view because this article spoke to our own experience. "

One more thing, we did feel that pollution on the island threatens its very nature and was a shame. On all our tours we witnessed filth in waterways and roadsides which put the worst slums in America to shame. I hope this issue can be corrected because it does not reflect well on the people's supposed connectedness with nature. Being one with nature does not just entail leaving offerings but it also means refraining from polluting and keeping your landscapes clean."

- An Australian reader, Greg Roberts, contributed :

"What a wonderful story and spot-on in its message. . . I have been a regular visitor to Bali for the past 13 years and what keeps me coming back are the qualities Prof. Dr. Emil Salim identifies plus the warmth and compassion of the Balinese people themselves."

Bali, please do not fall into the hole where so many tourist destinations have gone before you by forgetting why people from across the world were attracted to you in the first place. I am sure many others are drawn to Bali because it holds onto rich life-values that are now lost or slowly been suffocated in our own societies."

- Christie Mckee had this to say :

I couldn't agree more. . . I came here 2 years ago to live and I am now looking for a new home base in Asia. I love much about Bali, but I feel like everyone has their hand out without providing anything. I don't mind paying, but I want something for my money. I can travel and buy merchandise much less expensive in other countries, even sometimes the US for the quality I am looking for. I have not spent money shopping here except for food because every store has the same things and to get quality, you have to pay big prices. Do they think they have become a western country just because they have so many tourists? Western countries provide infrastructure, care of the people and services. When I shop here, the money goes into someone's pocket. Please get back to the roots. WE came for the humble, beautiful community that was not dictated by the $$$."

The Buying and Selling of Names of Tourists in Bali

Coverage of unethical time share practices in which sales people reportedly now purchase visitors' names from airport officials [See: The Buying and Selling of Names of Tourists in Bali] earned some spirited feedback.

- Lynette Sawyer in Australia wrote:

"We are sick and tired by the phone calls we received in our hotel by timeshare scam. We go for a holiday not to be harassed by these people. It puts you off going to Bali. They know your name and hotel should be kept private."

UNWTO Designates Bali as a Green Tourism Destination

An announcement of the UNWTO's intention to give Bali a special "green" designation [See: UNWTO Designates Bali as a Green Tourism Destination] elicited the following comments:

- Jimmy Roland of Bali Tennis said:

"That could be a project for the next hundred years the way locals treat their environment. Trash is found almost everywhere on the island. Perhaps Bali will be renamed to "Island of Trash". Would be too nice if I was proven wrong."

- Bruce Wyder added"

"Bali was once the most beautiful place. In most areas it still is, however the rivers around Denpasar and Sanur are basically open sewers with garbage and plastic bags, many areas have been desecrated by graffiti. Kuta beach is now getting cleaned up which is a good thing, but Islanders and Tourists alike must make a concerted effort not to litter or degrade the environment."

Dangers of Accepting Candy from Strangers

The explanation by a local retailer on why he is "forced" to make change in candy [See: The Danger of Accepting Candy from Strangers] obviously struck some readers as incredulous.

-Graham James in Bali wrote:

"Hardy should talk! Can't escape his Sanur 'joint' without lollies in lieu of metallic money. Reminds me of the Bintang supermarket, Legian customer who 5 yrs ago failed to turn the tables by trying to pay for his purchases with candy. They're bloody lucky it wasn't me!'

-A reader named Simon had this to say :

"What utter nonsense from Pak Hardy. Firstly, his stores are notorious island-wide for short changing customers in what seems like company policy. Secondly, they give sweets regardless of whether or not they have coins. Two days back they offered me a sweet instead of Rp500 coin. The till was overflowing with coins. The girl told me that it was policy not to give coins to tourists!"

"Hardy's are less than honest in their dealings with their customers."

- Brigid of Hemisphere Design said:

"What rubbish! Pak Hardy's stores are some of the biggest culprits of this 'habit'! I have never once been given candy as change in Bali Deli or Carrefour! - I shopped twice in Hardy's this weekend and both times was given candy. When I refused it strangely enough there was correct change in the till! These candies are so obviously a money making ploy... if they do not have the change why not use the Swedish rounding system like supermarkets in the rest of the world! Greed I suspect!"

- An Indonesian reader wrote:

"Personally I keep those candies and use them to pay with at Hardy's that has become my weekly entertainment! And, when I am short of their own candies I offer them a Mentos. If we all do to them as is done to us, it soon will be over is my guess as the line-ups it creates are worth watching."

- Bob Hobman had this to say on "candy change:"

What nonsense. The stores make a huge profit (not in lollies) with this heinous practice which is only in place because they price their shelf items to be out of step with the circulating legal currency. How easy is that? Good 'ol Hardyiwan didn't invent the ploy but is naturally a strong supporter. Best to just up the prices of everything to fit in. The steadily growing number of supermarket consumers won't complain. And the consistently embarrassed checkout girls- bless them all - will be very much relieved. Me too......"

Immigration at Bali's Airport

Against current news of pending criminal charges against some of the immigration officers at Bali's airport, Don Johnston wrote to share his experience:

"Upon arriving in Bali on September 2009 and asking immigration the fine per day for overstaying my visa limit I was told Rp. 100,000. per day. Due to years of previous experience, I subsequently inquired again ahead of my departure, and was told Rp 200,000. per day. Upon departure the latter was charged and an additional day was erroneously added. When I complained about the added day was told that if I didn't need a receipt the officer would accept my day count, but if a receipt was required he would have to leave his post and accompany me to the office to procure the receipt. Wanting to get to my gate I paid the fine without receipt and went on my way. Always a scam!"

And a Light Onto Your Path

Our article on a new rule by the Bali police requiring motorcyclists to "turn on" their headlights both day and night [See: And a Light Onto Your Path] cause Simon to write in to endorse the move:

"This is some good news. It's great to see the police making positive steps to reduce the awful and needless death and injury rates on Bali's roads. Now if we can just get them to tackle staying in lanes, indicating, looking before pulling out and red lights....But still, it's a start (and it's a nationwide thing, not Bali.)"