Poor service, cleanliness top tourist complaint in Bali

BALI - Poor service, cleanliness, traffic congestion and infrastructure problems are at the top of the list of things tourists complained about in Bali.

In a recent survey by Bank Indonesia's representative office for Bali and Nusa Tenggara, 1,000 respondents were given an open question about things that inconvenienced them while spending their time on the island.

The office's head, Dwi Pranoto, said that some of them also expressed their opinions and suggestions on things they wished could be improved.

"We were trying to find out more detail about their complaints, so that we could work together with related institutions to solve the problems," he said.

On services, most respondents complained about the absence of information on tourist spots, particularly those located in remote areas; no standard prices for goods and services; taxis that did not operate meters; and bad service in money changers with many deceptive practices. Some of them also complained about the lack of tourist operators and tour guides with the ability to speak the tourists' native language.

On the cleanliness issue, they criticised the lack of hygiene in toilets and public facilities, as well as dirty roads and beaches.

The poor condition of infrastructure was also targeted in tourist complaints, since the bumpy roads and lack of tourist information centers and tourist maps in public places caused them discomfort.

Some respondents in the survey also suggested that there should be more Wi-Fi spots and smoking areas in public places, as well as improvements to water services and connections between Java and Bali.

On the question concerning what environmental factors inconvenienced them, answers included some areas being too hot and too noisy, too many beggars and dogs on the street, reckless drivers and aggressive hawkers.

Traffic is also a problem for tourism in Bali, with some respondents complaining about congested roads, especially in south Bali. They expected the local government to operate reliable and convenient public transportation. They also said taxis should apply lower fares and operate their meters.

Charges made at the airport, including airport tax and visa on arrival (for some countries) were considered too expensive. The tourists hoped that these fees could be lowered and incorporated into the flight prices.

Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, head of Bali Tourism Agency, admitted that he frequently received complaints about service, cleanliness and traffic congestion. He said the problems had always been discussed on many occasions with relevant state institutions and tourism stakeholders to identify better solutions.

"It takes time and commitment from all related parties. Some of the issues have been addressed gradually, but we will continue to find better solutions," he said.