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ASITA Calls for Closure of Unlicensed On-Line Bali Agents

Purwa: Travel Packages Can Only Be Sold by Licensed Travel Agents.

(12/26/2009) BisnisBali has focused on how illegal travel agents operating over the Internet are damaging the image of Bali tourism and bona fide tourism operators on the island.

The Chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), Al Purwa, told the press how his organization plans to use IT experts in cooperation with the Provincial Tourism Authority to identify and catch rogue travel agencies. It is Purwa's opinion that only licensed tour operators in Bali should be allowed to sell tour packages over the Internet. Insisting that Bali visitors must be handled professionally by guides, accommodation providers, transportation companies and other tourism service providers, Purwa underlined that only licensed travel agents with transparent management structures are allowed to package and sell travel in Bali.

Purwa wants the government to close down unlicensed travel agencies operating over the Internet. The ASITA chairman, however, has no bone of contention with licensed hotel operators who sell rooms over the Internet.

Saying it's time that the Provincial Tourism Authority (Disparda) had staff who were experts in Internet technology (IT), Purwa said ASITA is prepared to work with the government in helping to identify illegal travel agencies operating over the Internet. He also told the press that tracking down illegal operators and identifying those behind illegal travel sites was not that difficult to do.

Waiting to see how the government will respond to his call for the shutting down of illegal operators, Purwa told how those wishing to open a legal travel agency must meet a number of operating requirements and pay taxes.