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Business Booming? Bali Should Get its House in Order

Senior Tourism Figure Says Bali Must Consolidate its Current Good Fortune by Enforcing the Rules and Ensuring a More Equitable Distribution of Benefits.

(9/27/2008) Speaking to Bali Post, the owner of a leading Bali tour operator and former Chairman of the island's chapter of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA), I Gusti Bagus Yudhara, has suggested that the current period of "bumper business" be used to upgrade and safeguard the local tourism industry.

Over the last two months, Yudhara explained, foreign tourist arrivals to Bali have averaged more than 6,000 people per day, occasionally jumping to more than 7,000 tourist landing in Bali on a single day. These totals are now exceeding the record-high levels of arrivals achieved in 2001, the period before the first Bali bombing.

While these figure suggest that Bali tourism has recovered and regained lost momentum, Yudhara urges local tourism practitioners now take steps to consolidate their gains and ensure that Bali does not experience a future downturn in business. "Most importantly, security cannot be allowed to slip. Irresponsible parties may seek to use any lack of attention (to safety and security)," warned Yudhara.

Similarly, Yudhara urged that the current boom in tourism for Bali be used by the provincial government, house of representatives and the various components of the tourism industry to tighten the rules, enhance regulations, increase enforcement in areas such as maximum building height and no-build zones surrounding sacred sites, regulate zoning and to achieve a common perception among the various parties involved in the tourism sector.

Yudhara, who is a Senatorial candidate for Bali to the Council of Provincial Representatives (DPD), also said now is the time to strive for a more equitable distribution of the "tourism pie." In the past, he feels that the economic benefits of tourism have been too concentrated on the island's South with insufficient attention paid to developing the tourism potential of Bali's North and East.

The tourism veteran called on Bali travel agents to persuade cruise ships to circumnavigate Bali, paying calls on Benoa, Padang Bai and Buleleng as a means of bringing much-needed tourism revenues to Bali's less visited areas.