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(4/25/2011) A damming article in TIME Magazine describing holidays in Bali as "hell" drew somewhat less attention than the remarkably nonchalant and open-minded way in which Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika received the international lambasting [A Very Matter of Fact Governor in Bali]
· Our coverage prompted a true Balinese legend credited with pioneering Bali tourism, Andre Pury, to write an open letter to the governor which we now forward to Pak Pastika via balidiscovery.com.:
· Andre Pury wrote the following to Governor Pastika from Switzerland:
"Having just very recently visited Rio De Janier in Brazil (one of the World's TOP tourism destinations), I would like to make a strong suggestion that a carefully handpicked delegation of Bali Government Officials make a visit to that City to study, examine, compare and bring back to Bali some ideas that are used there to keep their number one asset - the Beach - in absolutely top shape of safety and cleanliness for both tourists and local residents."
"FIRST: All the beaches in Rio are cleared up every night at 10 PM of all the beach chairs, beach vendors, tents and anything that is of "human activity generated". After that time, the City's Cleaning Crew move in big time and mercilessly: all the trash is removed, any left-overs are picked up, and by 5 am in the morning you can see Giant Tractors arriving to Comb the Beach from A to Z. And by 8 am, all the beaches are spotless, cleaned and combed just like a perfect lady's hairstyle! It is amazing to see how effective the system works. It is truly admirable. Bali officials ought to be visiting Rio to see and understand how a major government has paid handsome dividends to the local community."
"SECOND: in Rio, the local government has realized that their beached are worth gold to everyone and cannot be "privatized". Consequently, the local Government has taken over the control of all beachfront businesses: restaurants & bars, F&B outlets, shops, security etc. All the beach-font located restaurants & bars are being streamlined into a standard type of F&B operation, with proper kitchens, adequate support facilities for garbage management, good and well-serviced public toilets etc. The F&B outlets are concessioned-out on a public-bid basis, and whoever gets the right to operate an outlet is checked regularly for consistency and quality, while the Government collects an adequate rent from the various facilities. If an operator does not do a good job, he is ‘out' at the end of his license or rental term."
"THIRD: the beaches are patrolled by government police and security forces 24/7. The Government has a large number of police booths located every 300 to 500 meters along the beachfront. This ensures that tourists can go around freely to spend their money without any worries of being robbed or mugged at any time of the day or the night."
"With the forthcoming Football (2014) and Olympics (2016) the Brazilian Government has realized that tourist facilities must be of top quality and standards at all times, while Security is of Paramount importance to the Country's reputation and attraction as a tourist destination."
"I really encourage Governor Pastika and his responsible ministers to go make contact with the Rio de Janeiro Municipality and arrange for a study tour to get some ideas for implementation in Bali without further delay."
· Heinz Thoma from Cologne, Germany had this to say:
"I heard from people from Germany who went to Bali for holidays that Bali is not worth the long flight, as they found it dirty and uncomfortable. All I can say is I like it for its people, its climate and mainly for its culture. It is true, that infrastructure for collecting litter is at its very beginning and could be easily improved or, for that matter, just started in some places. But I must admit, I am looking at all this through well-organized German eyes. Culturally, Bali has to compete with Thailand and I don´t think that the Thai people have a better solutions for littering at the moment."
As a holiday diver, I´m aware that the pollution with plastic bags, that drift along the dive sites, in on the increases as it is on land in the streets. A ban on these thin and light polluters is a first step towards a cleaner Bali. For years, plastic bags in Germany are no longer free in supermarkets. As a consequence, customers bring their own bags or use the thicker German plastic bags several times before they are put in the waste. An Information campaign could help to make people aware of the problem. Tourism is very fragile. If the streets get worse you can compare the consequences with what happens to fish populations. If you catch too many young fish, you won't catch the adult animals in the following year. With tourists it's the same. Once you create a bad impression they won't come back the next year. So lets work on this seriously."
· Jeff Ball wrote to express a view of Governor Pastika shared by many both in Bali and abroad:
"What impressed me most about this article was the man himself. The more I read about Mangku Pastika the more I am impressed. What a response to an article that many Indonesians might rail against! Instead, Governor Pastika states the reality, that the article was in fact spot on. Add to this his obvious desire for law and order, his desire to see his people return to values that many see to have been lost and, most importantly, his heart for the needy among his people, of which there are many."
"Memang dia orang yang baik."