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Agents for Change

New Study Underlines the Threat Posed to Bali Tourism by Unlicensed Travel Agents and Websites

(11/20/2011) A report in the Jakarta Post said research shows that unlicensed tour operators, lack of financial resources and too many operators have cast a dark cloud over the more than 300 registered travel agents working from Bali.

The study carried out by Bali’s Udayana University’s Center for Cultural and Tourism Research was based on in-depth interviews with agency owners and directors.

In its conclusions, the research called for an end to the issuance of new travel agency licenses in Bali and stern action be taken to close unlicensed agencies.

Al Purwa, the chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), told the Jakarta Post: “We have submitted the results of the research, including the conclusions and recommendations, to the provincial administration. We have yet to receive any response from the policy makers over there.”

The research said that many local tour operators were under major financial pressure. An over-saturated market has resulted in unfair pricing from illegal tour operators and unlicensed websites.

Agung Suryawan Wiranatha, a senior tourism lecturer and researcher said, “the government must act to ease the pressure on the local tour operators.”

The research said that 58% of local tour operators have limited financial capital with investment values of less than Rp. 500 million (US$55,000). He said tour operators handle an average of 400 tourists per month generating less than Rp. 500 million per month.

The study counted 307 registered tour operators in Bali, estimating that another 500 operators were unlicensed but active in the market place.