Bali's tourism problems

Bali has seen a healthy growth in tourism numbers ever since the bombings in 2002 and 2005. Some say too much growth, with an over supply of hotels and sagging infrastructure that hasn’t been able to keep up.

While government officials expect the growth to continue, I expect there will be a tipping at some point where growth starts to decline. I enjoy talking to tourists and reading online forums to get an idea as to what people like and don’t like about traveling to Bali.

It makes me sad to hear when people say they won’t be coming back to Bali. There are many things which need to be fixed to ensure long term survival of the tourism industry, but these are five things which I think need to be fixed now.

End the taxi monopoly at the airport

An entrance into a new country or city should be a positive one. The new airport is a big improvement, but sadly the airport taxi system or the company running it, is a huge failure. Each time I have used the “service” I was charged a higher price than the one shown on the price list. An end should be put on this monopoly and they should allow any taxi company to come into the airport and pick up people, like what happens at most airports around the world.

Make ATMs safe for people to withdraw money

It seems like most ATMs in Bali are compromised. People take out cash and within hours their account has been drained. Even though the money will eventually be reimbursed by the person’s bank it is a huge inconvenience. People have resorted to carrying out large amounts of cash, putting them at risk of getting mugged and there have been many reports of people get their money stolen from hotel safes, not to mention having to deal with unscrupulous money changers.

Stop scamming at convenience stores

No one likes to be scammed, even at convenience stores. The amounts might not be large, but in my mind it just gives people a negative impression towards Bali. The scams are fairly lame, like ‘computer is broken’ or ‘out of paper’ and they try to charge you more for your purchases. It makes me wonder why the stores aren’t managed better and why the companies or store owners don’t do something to fix the problem, as they are obviously losing money and their brand is getting a bad reputation.

Allow app based transport services to operate without intimidation

uber baliWhile the central government has given approval for app based transport services, like Go-Jek and Uber to operate in Indonesia, many villages in Bali try to ban them, using violence and intimidation towards both the customers and drivers for using the service. The reason why many people like these services, are that most of the taxi companies in Bali are well known for cheating and giving poor service.

Clean up Bali

It makes me feel frustrated when I see various government proposals for new airports, train lines and highways. If there is one thing they could do to get tourists keep coming back to Bali, is creating a solution to keep Bali from looking like a rubbish dump. There are various groups doing great work for trying to keep Bali ‘green’ but I think a solution really needs to come from the the top level of government and possibly implemented by the villages. I think this is the biggest complaint tourists have about Bali which needs to be addressed immediately.

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