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Are Illegal Tour Operators Hurting Bali's Image?

Local Travel Industry Association Wants Illegal Travel Operators and Travel Websites to be Closed Down.

Bali News:
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Bali Post reports, the growing number of illegal tour operators in Bali threaten the good image of the Island's tourism. This topic formed one of the themes of a recent panel discussion held by the Association of Travel Agents Who Love Bali (Paguyuban Travel Agent Cinta Bali) held in downtown Denpasar on Thursday, May 8, 2008.

According to the forum's participants, illegal travel agents operate by contacting tourists in Bali directly or via guides. Such agents typically have no formal office with many having sites on the Internet. With no licensing, no clear business address and no membership in profession tourism organization these "illegal travel agents," according to the forum's participants, lack responsibility and accountability.

The association's members called on the Provincial Tourism Authority (Diparda) and related government agencies to crack down on illegal travel operators.

As a further step, the Association plans to call a coordinating meeting in the near future with 27 hotels in Kuta and South Kuta in order to help eliminate the illegal tour operators.

When purchasing travel in Bali on the Internet check for:

• A clear business address in Bali with a local telephone number you can call when a problem arises.

• Names of actual persons in the "contact us" or "who we are" section who can be called upon to keep promises and honor business pledges.

• Logos displayed on the site from the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA or other professional travel organizations signifying a commitment to a code industry ethics.

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