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Jeepers! Creepy, Crawlies in Bali

Bali Top Tourism Official Insists Infestation of Caterpillars Under Control.

(4/23/2011) Tempo Interaktif reports that Bali's provincial chief of tourism, Ida Bagus Subhisku, says that foreign tourists are beginning to ask questions and express concerns about the growing inundation of caterpillars affecting Bali and other parts of the County [See: Bali Plagued by Caterpillars].

On April 18, 2011, Subhisku told the press that he had been called directly by a French journalist who was concerned that the caterpillars represent a threat to foreign tourists holidaying in Bali. Subhisku was quick to explain that Bali's caterpillar infestation was less severe than that being experienced on the neighboring island of Java and that efforts to eradicate the pest in Bali were proving largely successful. Added Subhisku, "there have been no caterpillars identified in the areas surrounding tourist objects in Bali."

The man in charge of tourism in Bali said questions from foreign tourists about the caterpillar infestation demonstrated the keen interest the public has in developments in Bali. Because of this, Subhisku said all elements of the public must be prepared to respond to developing situations in Bali, such as was the case during recent reports of Legionnaires disease in Bali. At that time, public statements by a group of Australian visitors, saying they felt safe in Bali, did much to help defuse the situation.

Subhisku went on to say that a damning article about Bali in the April 1st edition of Time Magazine [See: A Very Matter of Fact Governor in Bali] has not had a significant impact on the island's tourism. Tourism arrivals continue to average as much as 7,000 foreign visitors each day.

Joining Bali's governor in viewing the TIME Magazine article as a bitter, but ultimately useful, dose of constructive criticism is the head of the department for Tourism Development at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, I Gde Pitana, who sees the article as a lesson for those in charge of Bali's tourism. "This was a shock treatment with is effective for all of us," said Pitana, adding that criticism from sources closer to home is often ignored.