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We'll Huff and Puff, and Blow Your Villa Down

PHRI Official Wants Bali Government to Demolish Illegal Villas.

(11/20/2010) Poor enforcement of the law is blamed for the large number of illegally operating commercial villas in Bali, with half of the 1,600 villas now operating in Bali estimated to be unlicensed.

Bali Post quotes Ferry Markus, the secretary of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), as saying the government must have the courage to take firm steps to close illegal villa operations, including, if need be, the demolishing of villas, bungalows and tourist accommodation determined to be illegal. "It now depends on the government, because it is the government that has the authority to either bring (the illegal villas) into compliance or to demolish them," explained Markus.

He went on to say that in addition to enforcement against villas already in operation, the provincial government of Bali must also have the courage and the wisdom to implement at least a temporary moratorium stopping the building of new tourist accommodation in the southern regions of Bali an area covering the regencies of Badung, Denpasar and Gianyar. The moratorium, according to Markus, is needed in the face of an oversupply of rooms now estimated at 56,000 saleable keys, in the three regions of Bali.

The PHRI-Bali official also blamed the disorganized accommodation sector for causing economic hardship on Bali's formal transport sector. Registered transport operators must face competition from gypsy transport operators, oftentimes operated by illegal villas that entice clients with offers of airport transfers and vehicle charters throughout their stay. A ministerial decree of 2003 (KM 35 tahun 2003) requires vehicles used by villas to be legally registered as tourism transport. That regulation, however, is poorly enforced with roadside vehicle checks more often resulting in expedient solutions offered by enforcement personnel than via the mandated impounding of the illegal vehicles.

PAWIBA - the Association of Bali Transport Companies has estimated that every villa in Bali has at least two operational vehicles used to transport tourists resulting, on the assumption that half of these vehicles are non-registered, in at least 2,300 illegal vehicles plying Bali's roads every day. Markus says this situation has resulted in unhealthy competition within Bali's tourism transport sector that is potentially damage to the long-term reputation of the island.

The chairman of the Badung regency PHRI, IGN Rai Suryawijaya, said the general tendency of illegal accommodation providers was to provide a poor and unprofessional level of service to visitors, further threatening the Bali brand quality.