The tourism office of Bali’s Badung Regency says unsuspecting tourists are not eating dog meat, despite a recent Australian investigation reporting otherwise.
People saying that dog meat is being passed off to tourists as meat from other animals in Bali are just trying to smear Bali’s reputation, says Made Badra, head of Badung Regency’s tourism department.
Badung encompasses much of Bali’s heaviest tourist spots, like Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Jimbaran, and Nusa Dua.
“That controversy is not true, that dog meat is sold to tourists. It’s only people who want to be provocative and bring down Bali’s reputation as a destination,” Badra told Antara Bali on Monday.
Bali, which has been voted as a top world destination, is being attacked by people looking to bring down the island’s standing on the global stage, argues Badra. As an international destination, where tourism is the biggest moneymaking industry, it’s not surprising that officials would fear for the island’s international reputation.
Badra seems particularly concerned about Australians’ opinions—the island’s second biggest source of foreign tourists (after the Chinese) and the very country that the undercover investigation was published in.
“Australians consider Bali as a second home. Although Bali has been hit with issues like this, Australians continue to believe and trust in Bali and the Balinese,” Badra said.
“We predict the amount of Australian tourists visiting will reach 1.5 million in 2017. We remain confident and optimistic that enough Australian tourists will visit Badung to help reach this target.”
Even though Badra sees the consumption of dog meat as a nonissue in Bali, clearly not everyone agrees. A summit, hailed as “groundbreaking” was held last week in Sanur to bring policymakers, NGOs, and community members together to discuss Bali’s brutal dog meat trade. Their takeaway from the summit: progress is being made, but there’s still a lot of work left to do.