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A Den of Inequity

A Plethora of Illegal Travel Agents, Tour Guides and Accommodation Providers Rendering Bali Tourism Ungovernable

(10/12/2012) Illegal travel agencies, illegal guides and illegal accommodation providers are depicted as a natural outcome of the increasingly competitive environment within Bali’s tourism industry.

The chairman of the Bali branch of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agencies (ASITA), Al Purwa, warned on Monday, October 8, 2012 that in order for Bali to develop into a quality tourism destination it must prioritize the legitimization of companies working in the tourism sector.

As reported by Bisnis Bali, Purwa said that legal travel agencies in Bali are required to hold a valid operating license and utilize licensed tour guides. If travel agencies fail to use licensed travel agents, ASITA will summon its members and demand that only licensed guides be used in carrying for visitors.

If a travel agent in Bali is found not to have a valid operating license, it is difficult to make these businesses accountable. Similarly, tour programs conducted by unlicensed guides are problematic to control and administer.
Elaborating on this argument, Purwa explained that when visitors to Bali encounter bad service it would be highly difficult to track down tour operators that hold no license. The Indonesian Guide Association (HPI) and ASITA will be unable to summon travel agencies or guides whom are unlicensed and therefore not members in good standing of either organization.

There is also a need to bring illegal accommodation providers into line in Bali. Illegal accommodation businesses damage the island’s image and destroy existing rate structures. Purwa argues that in order to avoid a price war within the accommodation sector there exists a need to regulate the price standard for hotel rooms in Bali. Fail to do his, he said, and tourists will complain about the quality of accommodation rented to them at non-sustainable rates.