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Putting the Brakes on Bali's Tourism Developement

Former Minister of Tourism Joop Ave Suggests Bali Need to Take Steps to Stop Runaway Growth in Tourism Sector.

(5/20/2006) Quoted in the Indonesian language Bali Post, former Minister of Tourism, Post and Telecommunications Joop Ave says it's time that the incentives given to hotel and tourism infrastructure projects be ended. Speaking at a Bank Indonesia seminar on May 18th , Ave called on the Government to create "disincentives" as Bali has a more than sufficient supply of hotel rooms.

According to Ave, if the hotel sector is allowed to continue to expand in Bali it will do so at the cost of other sectors of society, such as agriculture and culture diminishing the contribution each makes to the Island's natural attractiveness as a world tourism destination. "Incentives (for investment) need to be ended. If needed, disincentives should be introduced as we need no more investment (in hotels)," warned Ave.

The former Minister and widely respected authority on national tourism development cautioned the Provincial government not to be led into wrongly concluding that the way to increase local tax revenues is to allow more hotels to be built. He pointed out how overdevelopment of the tourism sector threatens Baliís reputation and serves to depress prices which, in fact, reduces tax revenues.

Time for Definite Action

Joop Ave sounded the warning that "now" is the time for professional management of Bali's tourism industry to avoid a "boomerang effect" in the coming years. Calling for diversification of Bali's over-dependence on tourism, Ave pointed to the vast unexplored potential of agriculture and flower cultivation, citing just two examples of many areas warranting coordinated support from the Governemnt for future economic development.