balidiscovery.com's coverage [Kintamani Tourism Suffering] blaming declining visitors to Bali's mountain-top tourist area on lower numbers generally, brought a somewhat surprising flurry of emails suggesting that Kintamani's problems may be more deep-rooted.
A U.S.A. reader, Shirley Robb, wrote to say:
"Last year we were scheduled to stay at a Kintamani Hotel and Restaurant for two nights. We stayed only one. When we arrived at the resort we were accosted by the vendors in the parking lot. I am very familiar with Bali and know that most vendors are harmless but these were very obnoxious. I was almost afraid. . . The attitude of the people in the Kintamani region is anti-tourist. No wonder their business is faltering. It is too bad as the area is beautiful and the cooler temperature in the daytime is rather refreshing."
Steve Davis sounded a similar vein :
"I wish the people of Kintamani no ill will, but they are reaping the rewards of their own greed. Word has got out I'm afraid that the area is not a pleasant place to visit due to the aggressive attitude of the street sellers and hawkers. Other areas of Bali should also be aware that people on holiday do not like to be hassled all day, I love Bali and its people but some areas are just too hard sell and drive customers away."
Bob in Australia contributed:
"Kintamani is one of the best sights of Bali and one place I always recommend to first time visitors. Hope they can view it on a day when there is not too much cloud. However the over persistent and annoying sellers can make the visit unpleasant. A polite no thank you should be enough but this is not the case. Hope something can be done about it. I'm sure the vendors have some part in diminishing visitor numbers."
Another reader, Alex, commented :
"If they really are interested in bring tourists to the incredibly beautiful Kitamani area, the banjar should re-educate the 'guides' and vendors on how to treat a guest. Virtual banditry and at minimum, intimidation goes on there every day. On the mild side you will be harassed en masse by vendors, chased down by motorbike (while you are in your car) and intimidated and sometimes out and out threatened by 'guides.' This is something that happens every time you go there. It doesn't make for a pleasant experience, and most people will only go through it once. It is a shame, as beauty of this area is a natural magnet for tourism, and would attract many more people but most people who have been to Bali before know about it. In times of weak tourism, this will be one of the first places crossed off the list for anyone who knows about it. I wish they would get their act together, I would go there regularly, but have only gone twice in the many times I've been to Bali (I tried 10 years apart hoping that it changed)...each time I say never again!"
Christian de Saint Hilaire joined the chorus, adding:
"Some of the problems there are also due to the fact that as soon as you arrive by car your are taxed by 'locals' for passage on the road which is certainly illegal. Also the food on all the small restaurants with a view is to say the least horrible and expensive. Another racket, but not the last, I have been down on the lake, took a boat to visit the small village at the other end When we came back my tyres were punctured and an obliging man offered to repair it for a fee . . .any choice? Kintamani is the only place in Bali where such things happen
So sometimes it is difficult to feel sorry for them."
And finally, a Balinese student from Australia, Luh Micke Anggraini, presents a slightly different view on the problems of Kintamani.
"This is the time for tourism planners in Bali to do more about what tourism planning is about. We should rejuvenate the major tourist attractions in Bali in this downturn periods while waiting for recovery. Resettle the restaurants and tourist amenities to other places in proximity so they will not interrupt the spectacular view of Mt Batur and the Lake. Walking paths should also be set up. Use the Regional Income of Bali and don't wait for the recovery funds which seem to be unattainable. Hi Jack, I really appreciate for all you have done on this website. I am studying tourism in Australia and keep informed with your updated Bali news. You are the real (online) ambassador of Bali. You belong to Balinese society! Thank you and wish you all the best . . .Rejuvenate Bali 2007."
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