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Business as Usual at Bali Night Spots

Bali's Entertainment Venues Remain Defiant in Their Refusal to Follow President and Governor's Call for 1:00 a.m. Closing Time.

(7/25/2005) Despite an official call for earlier closing times at Bali night spots [ See: New Energy Policy Puts Bali Night Life in Limbo], late-night entertainment venues continue "business as usual" with many popular late-night haunts staying open to 3:00 a.m. and beyond.

Energy-saving suggestions from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Bali's Governor Made Beratha that night spots close at 1:00 a.m. or face the threat of permanent closure are at least for the moment being largely being ignored by local business operators.

The former chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Nyoman Ruth Addy, told the Bali Post that the Governor's recommendations need to be reviewed again in light of the possible damage early closing would have on many Kuta-based businesses and the much-needed public taxes paid by those venues.

Meanwhile, the head of LPM, a local community-based organization in Kuta, Made Sukadana, freely admitted that the Government's early closing time was not being obeyed with some late night spots creating significant negative effects on the local community, including serving alcohol to under-aged customers. According to Sukadana, quoted in the Bali Post, if Bali wants to create cultural tourism, then there needs to be limitations on the type of evening entertainment and their hours of operation. He said he hope the Governor would strengthen his reecnt recommendation on closing times with a concrete action plan.

Shortly after the Governor's announcement and in what appears as open defiance of his recommendation for a 1:00 a.m. closing time, a leading Seminyak night spot circulated public advertisements to its 5th anniversary party scheduled for July 23, 2005, inviting guest to celebrate from 7:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m., well beyond the recommended revised closing time of 1:00 a.m..

Adding even more confusion among local businesspeople trying to understand how best to weigh commercial considerations against the latest energy saving edicts from the Government, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, told the local Bali press on Friday, July 22, 2005, that energy saving measures were aimed at "non-productive activities." Quoted in the Indonesian-language Denpost, the Minister said that night spots able to attract customers were considered still productive, earning incomes and thereofe should not be limited in their opening hours.