I was recently invited on a familiarization tour of Bali, Indonesia. Landing at Ngurah Rai International Airport, the immigration process was swift and the well-placed signage ensures one will not get lost. It was an impressive terminal. There were no onlookers and bystanders were not allowed in the premises, a far cry from the airports in the Philippines. Local airport authorities should install a space for well-wishers, where they are away from passengers and under appropriate security.
There were also no fixers or taxi drivers intending to cheat tourists at the Indonesian airport. In the Philippines, fixers often conspire with airport staff, which should compel local administrations to crackdown on the practice. Our local airport officials must learn from other countries.
In the same vein, tourism practices of other countries should also be adopted to ensure tourist visits are hassle-free. Unfortunately, many tourists in the Philippines are taken advantage of by taxi drivers, encounter fixers of all kinds, and are charged higher hotel rates; not to mention, thieves are also peering around the corner – for Filipinos, where there are tourists, there are opportunities.
The Department of Tourism is responsible for promoting the local travel and leisure sector; while the Department of the Interior and Local Government, through local government units and the Philippine National Police, oversee peace and order. However, while a massive effort is being put into tourism promotion, the same cannot be said for instilling discipline among local communities.
Bali’s primary industry is tourism. While thousands visit the island every day, it is disappointing to see Philippines cities not recording similar numbers. Plus, visitors are not only visiting the Indonesian destination for the beaches, but for landmarks and a cultural experience.
This column greets Tantan Pugales, Pamela Guevarra, Doc Joe Javellana, Lito Aves, Doc Osky Grageda, Jun Lagarde, Pipoy Olaira, Toto Tarrosa, Alex Castor, Rodel Guinoo, Richard Oquendo, Art Colmedora, Reuben Tampos, Gerard Mora, Joanne Yoshida, Archie Gupalor, and Tibong Jardeleza./WDJ