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Keeping a Low-Profile Branding for Bali.

Noted Balinese Economist Lays Out Why He is Joining the Chorus of Those Opposed to Increasing Building Height Restrictions to 33 Meters.

(5/25/2009) The following interview with noted Balinese economist, Professor Dr. W. Ramantha, appeared in the May 20, 2009, edition of Bali Post. Dr. Ramanatha, who also serves as a Commissioner for the Bali Tourism Development Corporation, is the Dean of the Economic Faculty at Bali's Udayana University. What follows is a free translation of that interview.

Bali Post: What is the economic impact of the suggestion to allow buildings of up to 33 meters in height in Bali?

Professor Ramantha: What must be first understood is that the economy of Bali is very dependent on tourism, while the capital of tourism is culture. Thus, the suggestion to increase the building height requirement to 33 meters is an idea that will hurt the "working capital" of tourism (i.e. culture), making the proposal economically unsupportable as it will negatively impact Bali's economy.

Bali Post: What must be done to profit Bali?

Professor Ramantha: Preserve the provincial rules on building height in place since the time of Professor Mantra's period of service as Bali's governor. By keeping the rule that does not allow buildings higher than a coconut palm (15 meters), Bali will preserve its branding, creating an added value to the island's economy.

Bali Post : How much does this matter in terms of a fair distribution of economic benefits?

Professor Ramantha: It's very significant. By holding to the existing rules, tourism investment, especially in the accommodation sector, will not be only focused on Bali's southern regions. New investments will spread to other regencies, each with their own potential and unique attractions.

Bali Post: What's the impact on investment in Bali?

Professor Ramantha : It is precisely by safeguarding the unique characteristics embodied in our building codes that the accommodation sector will profit. Our unique buildings cause tourists to pay more to stay in our hotels and this increase the income of hotels in Bali.