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New Bali governor to bring tourism benefits to locals
Publication Date : 01-03-2013
Indonesian tourism stakeholders expect the new governor of Bali, who will be elected in May, will be able to build synergy between tourism and other supporting sectors to create a more significant impact on local people’s livelihoods.
During a discussion on Wednesday attended by one of the governor candidates, Anak Agung Puspayoga, they expressed their hopes that the elected governor would be able to enforce the regulations and create breakthroughs in tourism as the leading sector in Bali.
Bagus Sudibya, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies Association (ASITA) in Bali, said that there should be better links between tourism and other sectors, such as agriculture, fishery, husbandry and trade, to bring prosperity to more local people.
“The new governor should be able to prove that tourism could really bring prosperity to Bali, not only for certain groups of people or investors,” he said.
Tourism practitioners would always be ready to provide suggestions for the new administration and always open for discussion to find solutions for problems in the sector that had contributed significantly to the country’s revenue, he added.
He also suggested that local people should be invited to be shareholders in a tourism project to give them the opportunity to enjoy greater benefits, instead of only selling their land to investors.
Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, chairman of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) for Bali, criticised the current administration’s failure to control massive land conversion.
“We are witnessing a decline in the quality of tourism and agriculture on the island, with massive land conversion to make way for new hotels that leads to fierce price competition,” he said.
Bali is experiencing an oversupply of hotel rooms. The number currently has reached 70,000 rooms and still counting, as there are many ongoing developments.
Ngurah Wijaya, chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Tourism Industry Association (GIPI), expressed his expectations that the new governor would be more serious in building the image of Bali as a unique destination by promoting culture-based tourism.
“Bali has a lot of uniqueness and character to offer. We should ‘rebuild’ the image of Bali’s tourism.”
He said the island was seeing a decrease in the number of tourist arrivals, especially from several countries that used to be significant contributors - such Japan and France.
“We hope the new governor would be more serious and work together with us to intensify tourism promotion abroad,” he said, suggesting that more cultural missions should be held in an effort to rebuild Bali’s image.
Last year, the island was visited by 2.8 foreign tourists. It expects to welcome 3.1 million foreign tourists this year.