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A Moratorium on New Travel Agencies in Bali?

Governorís Call for Halt in Issuance of New Licences for Travel Agencies in Bali Remains Largely Ignored

(12/16/2011) The results of  a formal letter issued by Bali’s governor Made Mangku Pastika calling for a moratorium or a halt to the issuance of new travel agency licenses in Bali has failed to bear any concrete results, despite an eager reception by travel professionals in Bali when the governor’s recommendations were initially made public.

As reported by Bisnis Bali, the head of the investment coordinating board for Bali, IB Made Parwata, said on Monday, December 12, 2011, that his agency was still investigating the actual number of travel agencies in operation in Bali, making it impossible to endorse any call for a moratorium on new agencies in Bali at this time.

The idea of introducing a moratorium on new travel agency permits in Bali traces back to a letter sent by the governor to the Provincial Investment Board (BPM) in September 2010 calling for a temporary freeze on new travel agency investments. That letter estimated there were 658 travel agencies in Bali of which 91 were inactive, 226 were active and a remaining 341of unclear status.

Of the 658 agencies, 216 had valid operating licenses, 91 held expired licenses and 351 had unclear licenses and supporting paperwork.

In order to avoid “unhealthy competition” and declining service standards to the public, Governor Pastika asked the chief of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) to temporarily freeze the issuance of new agency licenses effective September 1, 2010. The proposal made at the time was that, in keeping with the Governor’s request, the moratorium on new licenses would remain in effect until a closer study of the island’s travel agency business could be undertaken.

Parwata told the press that the provincial government of Bali was in the process of surveying the actual status of the island’s existing travel agencies. The lack of clear data was, however, impeding efforts to conduct a complete and thorough survey of  agent  operations in Bali.

Parwata said only the head of Bali’s Tourism Services (Disparda) who knows the actual number of travel agents needed to serve Bali based on the total number of tourist arrivals.

Parwata said that only after a thorough study is performed with Disparda would his office be able to make recommendations to the Governor on whether or not to implement a moratorium on new agency licenses.