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Clouds Over the Bali Climate Change Conference?

Bali Tourism Board Official Questions Bali's Preparedness for December U.N. Conference on Climate Change.

(10/10/2007) The tourist industry in Bali is concerned that tourist facilities and infrastructure on Bali will be overstretched this December, during the Island's peak tourist season, as tourists and Climate Change delegates jostle for the island's limited facilities and infrastructure, reports the latest edition of the authoritative Indonesian Digest edited by Tuti Sunario.

Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, urges the government, Climate Change Conference organizers and the tourist industry to anticipate an overload of visitors to the island, since December is normally Bali's peak tourist season, reports Kompas on October 4, 2007.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will be held between 3-14 December, with pre-conference meetings by NGO's and experts commencing in late November, is a prestigious conference that must be organized successfully, said Ngurah Widjaja. The UNFCCC is expected to draw some 10,000 delegates. "If, say, only 7,000 delegates will attend, Bali will already be overstretched" said Wijaya. This will be the first time ever that Bali has hosted such a large number of Convention delegates. Up to now, Bali has organized a maximum of 5,000 Meeting and Conference delegates at one time. For that purpose a large number of hotels have been blocked in the resorts of Nusa Dua, Kuta and Sanur, in order to be able to accommodate all delegates.

Bali today has a total of 50,000 rooms. There are additional rooms in outlying resorts such as in Ubud, Seminyak and elsewhere - with some room located more than 100 km. away from the main conference venues.

As the Bali International Convention Center (BICC) has a single-venue maximum capacity for 1,500 delegates, it is anticipated that the opening event will take place at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Complex (GWK), which can sccommodate thousands. However, because December is the rainy season in Bali, the government must anticipate that many outdoor facilities normally used for large functions and dinners, such as on the beach or GWK, may not be suitable due to lashing rains and high winds.

Seat availability on Bali-bound flights may also prove a problem. For the entire month of December last year, Bali received some 122,000 foreign visitors or an average of 4,000 tourists per day. Current arrivals are averaging between 5,000-6,000 visitors per day with many Bali-bound passengers complaining that seats on inbound flights to the island are increasingly difficult to obtain.

With some estimates running as high as 15,000-20,000 participants and accompanying persons attending the UNFCCC in early December, Bali's carrying capacity is certain to undergo a critical test.

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