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ASITA Calls for Shutdown of Illegal Bali Travel Websites

Bali Government Reluctant to Move Against Illegal Travel Website Until New Travel Law is Passed.

(3/13/2010) While Bali tourism relies heavily on the Internet to promote the island, not all companies using this medium are licensed to sell travel in Bali or are accredited members of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA).

A coordinator for ASITA for Bali, East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara – Bagus Sudibya, has judged that many companies promoting and selling travel on the Internet from Bali are illegal and do not have travel licenses from the government.

Sudibya says that it is the responsibility of the provincial tourism office for Bali to undertake enforce measures against unlicensed travel operators and illegal tour guides in Bali. To do this he called on the government to monitor travel being sold on the Internet and move against travel websites based in Bali that are not licensed.

In response to Sudibya’s call for action, the Chief of the Bali Tourism Authority (KaDiParda), Kade Subhisku, told the press that a solid team founded on the law is needed to take action against illegal tour operators. Surprisingly, the current law set out rules and regulations governing licensed travel agents, but make little mention on what to do about unlicensed travel agents. Subhisku is hopeful that new regulations governing travel agents now under consideration by Bali's legislature will address how to deal with illegal travel operations. Bali's top man for tourism also admitted that his office currently lacks personnel with competence in Internet technology. Subhisku said he would need to rely on assistance from the Bali police Cyber-crime division to track down and prosecute those selling travel illegally on the Internet.

But, again, he cautioned that action against illegal travel operators can only be taken when new travel laws have been enacted in Bali.

In the meantime, people booking travel with Bali-based operators should check for the ASITA logo on the website as proof of legal operating permits required of all members in good standing of the national tour operators association.