Bali tour agents told to offer more varied packages

The Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (Asita) in Bali called on its members to be creative in making holiday packages and to offer more varied destinations this school holiday season.

Asita Bali deputy chairman Ketut Ardana said there were many destinations on the island that had not been exposed, but travel agents only promoted popular destinations, such as Kuta, Tanah Lot, Bedugul and Kintamani.

"Asita hopes that travel agents could offer more varied holiday packages. Bali has a lot of other interesting destinations for domestic tourists, such as in the east and north of Bali," he said recently.

In the east of the island, domestic tourists could visit Tenganan village, Besakih Temple, Tirta Gangga Park and Taman Ujung. There are also places of interest in north Bali, such as Les Waterfall and Aling Aling Waterfall. In Tabanan regency, tourists can visit the Subak Museum, Alas Kedaton and Jatiluwih rice terrace. In Badung, they could go to Taman Ayun Temple.

Bagus Sudibya, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Tourism Industry Association (GIPI) in Bali, commented that infrastructure, facilities and maintenance remained a problem at many tourist attractions.

"There are interesting places that have yet to receive much exposure, including cultural attractions, but most of these places are not ready to serve tourists and make them feel comfortable," he said, giving examples as the problems of cleanliness, access, unprofessional tour guides and vendors that often pressured tourists to buy.

He appreciated the efforts of Tabanan regency in significantly improving Tanah Lot Temple, so that the attraction could draw around 10,000 visitors per day.

He added that tourist operators and tourism agencies in each regency should be more innovative. He also suggested that regency administrations could allocate some money from their hotel and restaurant tax revenue to improve the condition of tourist attractions.

Asita Bali predicted there would be a 10 per cent increase in the number of domestic tourists visiting the island during this year's school holiday season, which would last until mid next month.

Ardana said the number tended to increase every year in June and July.

"Bali remains a favorite destination for domestic tourists, school groups and families," he said, adding that their average length of stay was three days two nights.

"We are always ready to accept a surge of tourists, including in this holiday season. They should not worry about not getting hotel rooms, as there are many newly opened city hotels in Denpasar," he added.

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