Bali’s whole “zero dollar tourist” problem has been taken up to the national level, with Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya addressing the topic in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The Bali Province administration has been complaining of tourists with “no class”, meaning tourists not spending any money during their holidays on the island, as the Indonesian Association of Tours and Travel (ASITA) released information that agents have been selling Chinese visitors dirt-cheap packages for only IDR600k (US$39.58) including roundtrip flights and five-days, four-nights accommodation.
Bali’s Vice Governor himself, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, even went to inspect a number of shops in the Benoa area last week, finding that Chinese tourists are taken to shops staffed by illegal Chinese workers, selling products made in China.
But the issue isn’t unique to Bali, says Minister Yahya.
“This is happening everywhere, one of the most effective ways to overcome it is have an agreement between the Ministry of Tourism and CNTA (Chinese Tourism Ministry,” Yahya said on Wednesday in Jakarta, as quoted by Bali Post.
Yahya and relevant officials will be getting deep into discussion on the top on Wednesday, according to the Ministry’s Deputy of Tourism Destination and Industry Development Dadang Rizki Ratman.
“I agree with that this must be orderly. The important thing is we must be compact. So, when we come to Bali, we can find solutions together,” Dadang said.
During the meeting on Wednesday, another topic of discussion will be the inequality of income from tourism spread amongst Indonesia’s different regions. Chaired by the House of Representatives Commission (DPR) X Chair Djoko Udjianto.
“In Bali itself, it’s not evenly distributed Maybe in the south and the central region of Bali is already crowded but in Jembrana, Buleleng, and Karangasem regions, they have not been touched. So if you want to spread out tourist destinations, it’s good not only to do so throughout the whole area of Bali, but also in other regions throughout Indonesia,” said Putu Supadma Rudana, a Balinese member of the DPR Commission X in a previous session, as quoted by Bali Post.
Representative Supadma also questioned the effectiveness of government targets for tourists in Bali, especially those from China. Because while Chinese make up Bali’s biggest tourism market, their spending while in Bali is low.
Not to mention the negative impacts that have arisen as a result of traffic congestion from such a high volume of Chinese visitors.