An article in The Jakarta Post warns that the Bali tourism industry must accord the same level of courtesy and attention to domestic tourists as the island extends to its annual intake of more than 2 million foreign visitors.
A study conducted by Bali's Udayana University Culture and Tourism Research Center estimates that 53 percent of all Indonesians undertake travel during holiday periods. Among the most popular domestic tourist destinations are found on Bali, Java and Sumatra with an estimated 2.9 million Indonesians having taken a Bali holiday in 2008. In other words, more than 59% of all tourists visiting Bali in 2008 came from domestic sources.
The head of the research center, Agung Suryawan Wiranatha, pointed to the significant economic impact of domestic tourism warning that Bali's tourism industry must pay more attention to the needs of Indonesian travelers. "The focus here has long been on foreign visitors, including in promotional activities and services," said Wiranatha.
Bali tourism operators have traditionally sought domestic clients whenever international crisis, health scares, global economic downturns or terrorism have caused international tourists to stay away from Bali. Despite the refuge offered by the money spent by domestic visitors, many Indonesians have complained of discriminative service at Bali businesses.
The Sari Club - a main terrorist target in the October 2002 attack on Bali, was notorious for its refusal to allow Indonesian revelers admittance to the nightspot. According to the report, this policy of segregation remains in place in many Bali nightspots and restaurants.
One domestic tourist, Lola Hamid, told The Jakarta Post, she had been turned away from a restaurant in Bali with the waiter telling her the food was "too expensive for an Indonesian." Another woman told of being asked to leave a local boutique by a staff members who was more interested in serving a foreign guest.
Wiranatha warms Bali tourism must improve their promotion and services to domestic tourists; a failure to do so will occur at its own peril.
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