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Too Much of a Good Thing?

Is Bali Overbuilt? Indonesia Digest Reports Bali's Master Plan is Now Under Review.

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(1/3/2005) wishes to thank Ibu Wuryastuti Sunaryo for allowing us to republish this report, originally carried in the December 23, 2004, edition of her prestigious newsletter Indonesia Digest.

Bali's Tourism Master Plan up for Review: Bali overbuilt?

A recent workshop to assess Bali's tourism development in line with the island's Master Plan came to the conclusion, that to date construction on Indonesia's most famous resort island, Bali, has been inconsistent, is sporadic, unmanaged, moreover, has disregarded the ecological, social and cultural values of Bali. The Workshop was organized by the Department of Culture and Tourism in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Bali, and was officially opened by Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik. Speaker Agung Suryawan Wiranatha, Head of Culture and Tourism Research of the University of Udayana, stated that since the adoption of Bali's Tourism Master Plan compiled by French Consultants SCETO back in 1971, no other regulations have been forthcoming on development on the island, barring a few Provincial Bylaws, however, these can not be adopted as yardsticks for direction.

The 1971 SCETO Plan mentioned that until 1980, Bali would need only 4,800 international hotel rooms located in the Nusa Dua area (3,000 rooms), Sanur (1,000 rooms) and Kuta (800 rooms). Whereas, the study team now predicts that until 2010, Bali will need only a total of 34,000 rooms. The fact is that the island is already overbuilt with 36,000 rooms.

Additionally, construction and investments of hotels and facilities have tended to concentrate in South Bali, with the result that other Bali districts have also wanted to compete, at the expense of principles of sustainable development.

Minister Jero Wacik, meanwhile, informed that the government has set aside funds for the study and review of Bali's new Tourism Master Plan with Rp. 1.2 trillion allocated for the first year. The Minister expects results to be seen next year.

Meanwhile, an earlier study made by the World Bank and UNDP, post Bali bombing, recommends that the government of Bali immediately diversify development on the island, in order that the islandís people and economy are not solely dependent on tourism, which is known to be very sensitive to many issues, such as terrorism, contagious diseases etc.

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