Tourism leaders in Bali are continuing the battle to track down and hold illegal tour guides on the island accountable.
Tourism leaders are concerned that if the situation continues, the bad practices will reflect badly on the province’s travel sector.
The practice of gacong is proving tricky to get a hold of in Badung Regency in Bali.
Gacong guides are known to be operating in the Nusa Dua area and are targeting tourist businesses in Tanjung Benoa and around Pandawa Beach.
The practice of gacong sees local, often unlicensed guides offering their services to tourists on the street.
They offer to facilitate day trips to all kinds of tourist attractions; the destination of choice right now is the watersports activity centers in Tanjung Benoa.
They then try to extort commissions from these businesses for bringing guests to them despite not having a working relationship or contract in place.
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Speaking to reporters the Head of the Badung Regency Tourism Service (Dispar), I Nyoman Rudiarta, said that the practice of gacong in the tourism sector is a challenge that is proving very difficult to overcome.
Rudiarta explained that so far his teams are already working with various groups including watersport center management, South Kuta BKO, Satpol PP, Linmas, and other related parties to take anticipatory steps, but despite best efforts, the gacong have reappeared.
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Rudiartha announced “The gacong phenomenon involved in forcibly directing tourists to water sports destinations is a serious concern for us. Actually, we have anticipated it together with friends from various agencies, but this is indeed a difficult problem.”
He added “We also really hope for cooperation from water sports entrepreneurs. “We want to suppress this together for the sustainability of healthy and quality tourism in Badung Regency.”
Serious and impactful solutions are on the cards, even considerations of closing down the watersports business if this continues.
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However, he reiterated that his teams are committed to continuing to coordinate a cross-party approach to maintain the sustainability of tourism in the Badung area and provide a positive experience for tourists.
“We are still thinking about firm action such as closing water spot tourism in the future,” he said.
Last week the Head of the South Kuta Subdistrict, I Ketut Gee Arta, shared his frustrations that the practice of gacong is still happening along Jalan Pratama.
Arta told reporters, “We actually carry out regular controls, but there are still cats and mice.”
He added “Apart from that, we have also invited watersport owners to the District Head’s Office, as well as the parent Maritime Tourism Business Organization.”
“Until we make an agreement for those who receive guests from gacong, their businesses are ready for action, and it has even been signed by all tourism actors.”
Tanjung Benoa is one of the most popular beach resorts in Bali. The coastal getaway is best known for its watersports activity centers.
With the Bali Maritime Tourism Hub still under construction at Ben Harbour and the beaches of Tanjung Benoa, there will soon be even more tourists heading in that direction.
This is why officials are urgently trying to get the gaming situation under control as soon as possible.
Tourists are advised not to take up the offer of tours from guides who offer their services on the streets, who cannot produce a valid guiding license, or who do not come recommended by fellow travelers.
Activities in Tanjung Benoa include jet skiing, paragliding, parasailing, tubing, banana boat rides and so much more.
Many tourists take day trips to Tanjung Benoa for adrenaline-fuelled activities out on the water.
While Tanjung Benoa offers plenty of accommodation options, many tourists opt to stay in the neighboring resorts of Nusa Dua or Sanur which are home to bigger hotels, and resorts and provide a great base for exploring more of the island through day trips and excursions.
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