BisnisBali reports that Bali will benefit from special allocations for tourism from the State budget in 2008 following a prolonged struggle to secure such financial support from lawmakers in Jakarta.
Speaking on the decision to dedicate State funds to Bali's tourism sector, Bagus Sudibya, the Coordinating Chairman for the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) in Bali, said that such funding is both appropriate and long-overdue given the major contribution made by Bali toursim to the Country's foreign exchange earnings. According to Sudibya, the 1.7 million foreign tourists coming to Bali create between US$2.5 – 3 billion in much-needed foreign exchange or nearly 50% of all foreign exchange generated by tourism nationwide.
Sudibya explained: "Tourism needs reinvestment. If the Center (Jakarta) wants a larger foreign exchange contributions from Bali's tourism industry, it is only fair that Bali receives special funding such as the special allocation for tourism from the State budget."
Adamant that neither the economy nor tourism can grow without reinvestment; Sudibya said tourism development demands security, infrastructure, maintenance of tourism objects, the upgrading of human resources and branding socialization. The senior member of Bali's tourism community said urgent attention must also be given to addressing transportation problems in Bali.
While no specific amount has been mentioned in the promised special allocation for tourism in 2008, Sudibya reminded the press of the still-unfulfilled promise of Vice Presidnet Jusuf Kalla to allocate an additional US$7 million for Bali in 2007.
If the promised funds are eventually allocated to Bali, Sudibya called for an independent team be appointed to transparently administer the funds for the sake and welfare of Bali.
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