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We are Not Damaged Goods!

Former Minister of Culture and Tourism Ardika Calls for an End to Talk of Bali’s 'Recovery.'

(9/2/2006) Gede Ardika, Bali's former Minister of Culture and Tourism, has apparently had enough of talk about the "rebuilding" or "recovery" of Bali.

In comments made during the recent Sanur Beach Festival, Ardika said he "did not agree" with terminology calling for "Bali's Recovery" which incorrectly suggests that the island is downtrodden and on the edge of collapse.

As quoted in the Indonesian language Bisnis Bali, the former Minister called on the public to "stop using the terminology 'Bali's Recovery' or 'Bali Rebuilds' which only serve to frighten the public and provide a negative image of the island. Such terms have a negative influence on Bali tourism. Tourists will not want to come to Bali if they are constantly bombarded with worrying news."

Ardika called on Bali's tourism industry to provide concrete proof to the world that Bali is safe. Saying that the last Bali bomb is now almost a year in the past, he contends that it serves little purpose to continue to dwell on that event. The former Minister added: "As long as the people of Bali can still smile, create and carry on their culture – tourists will certainly return. Stop using these negative terms."

A Crisis of Confidence

The popular former head of Indonesian tourism said that Bali's greatest strength is its people. If the people believe in themselves, then Bali will advance. On the other hand, if Bali wallows in fear, then the island will never progress. Continuing, Ardika said he hoped that all parties would stop dedicating all their time and energies in the fight for funding from the Central Government.

Ardika said it is most important that Bali undertake concrete steps for the island based on the innate strength of the Balinese people. While funding is important, if we only squabble over money the true focus of what must be done will be lost.

"The people of Bali must keep faith with God and carry on with their traditions," Ardika insisted.