According to the Chairman of Bali Tourism Think Tank, Masyarakat Pariwisata Indonesia Ė Bali (MPI-Bali), I Wayan Budarmaja, his group will focus on the preservation of traditional customs and culture as the foundation currency of tourism development in order to preserve the uniqueness of the island of Bali in the eyes of the world.
Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Budarmaja said, "thus far the problem of preserving traditional customs and culture has not received serious attention from the provincial government, despite the fact that Bali was chosen in 2005 as the world's best island destination because of the cultural traditions of its people."
As reported on balidiscovery.com, in July 2005, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, traveled to New York to accept an award from Travel + Leisure Magazine naming Bali as the world's best island destination. (See: [ Bali's Better than All the Rest! ] )
Urging the people of Bali to maintain their image as a cultural destination, the Chairman of the MPI-Bali said it is essential that Bali develop a development strategy covering at least the next 30 years to help guide future leaders of the island in their work.
The Island of a Thousand Strip Malls
According to Budarmaja, Bali was once known as the island of a thousand temples, but is now becoming a concrete jungle due to the many strip malls (ruko) proliferating across the island. He challenged the government of Bali to demonstrate its commitment in preserving traditional custom and culture by establishing a master plan for the island.
Within the context of planning, MPI-Bali will include the people of Bali in a series of dialogues focusing on culture, traditional customs and how to overcome the increasing traffic congestion occurring on the island. Citing the growing problems of rapid growth and develeopment, Budarmaja, who also owns a national chain of restaurants, cautioned that if problems such as traffic and the intensifying water shortage, and electrical black outs and are not soon addressed, international awards for Bali may soon become a thing of the past.
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