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Will New Zoning Laws Hurt Karangasem Tourism?

3 Kilometer No-Build Zone Around Balinese Temples Will Effectively Block Many Prime Areas of Karangasem from Future Development and Place Some Existing Hotels In Jeopardy.

(12/21/2009) The recent approval of Bali's provincial zoning law (RTRWP) by Indonesia's Department of the Interior may bring special challenges to efforts to develop tourism in Karangasem regency.

The presence of 177 Pura Dang Kahyangan and several Sad Kahyangan - Hindu religious temples spread across the entire regency of Krangasem mean developers will face special challenges in developing resorts that do not violate the 3 kilometer "no-build" radius surrounding every Pura Dang Kahyangan as stipulated in the new RTRWP.

The Secretary of Bali's House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) Commission I, Made Sukerana, who is from the village of Kubu in Karangasem, predicts that because of the new zoning law tourism development in his regency will remain stagnant for at least five years to come. The local lawmaker, however, was quick to concede to Denpost that Bali's religious monuments must be protected and that the new zoning law must be obeyed.

Describing the problems the RTRWP brings to Karangasem, Sukerana described how the area from Goa Lawah (Bat Cave) to the village Manggis will be virtually closed to development, as will the area of Rendang and Candi Dasa due to their close proximity to religious temples.

Sukerana hopes that his home regency of Karangasem will be able to develop "alternative tourism" that is spiritually based and not dependent on the development of large accommodation facilities. He also urged the development of ports in Karangasem as a means of providing income for the people of that area.

Trouble Ahead?

Looking ahead, Sukerana insisted that the enforcement of the RTRWP must include both the prohibition of future projects and those businesses already in operation but in violation of the zoning law. In the past, illegal business were not prosecuted, but the new law calls for criminal prosecution of violators of zoning laws.

Sukerana said he was convinced that the new RTRWP would not become a "toothless tiger" because of the criminal penalties contained within the regulation awaiting both the owners of illegal businesses and officials who grant them permits and licenses. Adding: "The Bupati or mayor will be nervous to break the law because of the threat of jail. But this must start from strong enforcement against past violators of the RTRWP."