Defending Bali as a Reputable Tourist Destination, Bali Provincial Government Takes Firm Action on Naughty Tourists

Bali as an international tourist destination has a positive reputation. Many tourists are very impressed with enjoying the natural beauty and culture of Bali, so that Bali is able to compete to become a popular tourist destination beating London (England), Paris (France), Rome (Italy) and other cities in the world. Unfortunately, this reputation has recently been damaged by rogue tourists, namely tourists who recklessly violate customary rules and positive laws. To anticipate the decline in Bali's reputation, the Provincial Government of Bali takes firm action against these naughty tourists.

This was emphasized by the Vice Governor of Bali, Prof. Tjok Oka Sukawati as the keynote speaker at an online seminar entitled "Destination Reputation: How to manage?" in Denpasar, Friday (31/3/2023). The online seminar was organized by the Tourism Excellence Center (PUPAR) under the coordination of the Institute for Research and Community Service at Udayana University (LPPM Unud) attended by around 500 participants by presenting three invited speakers namely Professor of the University of the Sunshine Coast Australia Prof. Noel Scott, Former Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand Mr Tantowi Yahya, and Head of Marketing-Media & Partnership GDP Venture Mrs Ossy Indra Wardhani.

Prof. Tjok Oka Sukawati explained that Bali's tourism sector has grown since the 1920s and has been able to captivate travelers from various countries in the world. Bali also gets various titles such as "Paradise Island, Island of Gods, and Morning of the World". These names are in recognition of Bali's positive reputation internationally. "The choice of Ubud as the shooting location for the film Eat, Pray, and Love (2010), starring actress Julia Roberts, has made Bali proud, as a tourist destination that has a high reputation," said the Puri Ubud figure. He emphasized that after the Covid-19 pandemic, Bali's reputation as a destination worth visiting was quite high. Tourist visits, which opened in March 2022, have gradually increased, and in January 2023 the number of foreign tourist visits reached 331,912 people, or an average of 10,707 people/day.

Vice Governor of Bali Prof. Tjok Oka Sukawati explained that the Bali Provincial Government had implemented various policies to support an increase in the number of foreign tourist visits. Among them, the provision of VoA (Visa on Arrival) for tourists from 86 countries, tourists from nine ASEAN member countries get visa exemption, and there are direct flights to Ngurah Rai International Airport from 23 cities in 15 countries served by 30 airlines. flight. Unfortunately, said Prof. Tjok Oka Sukawati, Bali's reputation is slightly tarnished due to the actions of unscrupulous foreign tourists who do not heed applicable regulations such as riding a motorcycle without a helmet, fighting with pecalang (traditional village guards), or doing illegal business. To suppress bad tourist behavior, he said, the Bali Provincial Government together with immigration, police and pecalang have increased supervision and law enforcement against tourists who violate the rules according to applicable regulations.

Ossy Indra Wardhani supports the Bali Provincial Government's policy. "Two things must be done so that Bali as a reputable destination can be maintained, namely careful enforcement of rules so as not to have a negative impact on tourist perceptions, and effective communication regarding Bali as a destination that is able to provide meaningful experiences for tourists," he said. Effective communication is aimed at increasing tourists' awareness that protecting Bali as a paradise (travelers' paradise) is the moral responsibility of visitors and local residents to create safety and comfort. "The key message is, travel responsibly to maintain the beauty of Bali," said Ossy. He suggested that in effective communication it is necessary to use a tagline, for example Keep Bali Chill. That is, for the Balinese people to maintain a safe and peaceful Bali; tourists are advised to come to Bali to enjoy a calm and comfortable environment, and investors are assured that investing in Bali supports sustainable development by maintaining Bali's brand image and social stability.

Meanwhile Prof. Noel Scott explained that destination reputation is an abstract concept in the minds of tourists. Usually, reputation is very difficult to change unless there is a big incident that can influence people's opinion. So Bali's reputation as a tourist destination worth visiting because of its beauty and cultural uniqueness remains stable as long as nothing extraordinary can change the perception of tourists. Tantowi Yahya added that Bali could learn from New Zealand's experience in building a reputation. New Zealand develops tourism through long-term and sustainable planning, involves local communities in building place branding, educates tourists about what is and is not allowed to do, determines market segmentation related to its tourism products, and conducts research related to new trends that are developing in the tourism sector.

Chairman of PUPAR LPPM Unud Dr. Agung Suryawan Wiranatha explained that the seminar was held to facilitate various tourism stakeholders in discussing current issues in the world of tourism. The seminar was an event to remind each other how quality, responsible and sustainable tourism is built in Bali so that the important role of Bali tourism for improving the Bali economy is always maintained. The seminar was opened by the Head of LPPM Unud Prof. Dr. Drh I Nyoman Suarsana, M.Sc. representing Unud Chancellor Prof. Dr. Ir. I Nyoman Gde Antara, M.Eng., IPU. In his remarks the Chancellor of Udayana University expressed his gratitude for the PUPAR initiative to hold the online seminar. He emphasized that changes in tourist behavior are an important issue that affects the management of the reputation of tourism destinations in the post-Covid-19 pandemic.