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Enough is Enough in Karangasem

Bali Lawmaker in Karangasem Claims Hotel and Restaurant Sector is Overbuilt.

(3/1/2010) A member of the local House of Representatives in Karangasem (DPRD-Karangasem), Nyoman Sadra, told the Bali Post that the hotel and restaurant sector in Karangasem is over-saturated and new developments should not be allowed. To support his case, Sadra pointed to the many bankrupt tourism enterprises in Candidasa and Tulamben.

An advisor to the Karangasem chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI-Karangasem), called for a review of hotel room development in the regency to be undertaken. Such a study should look at supply and demand issues. He urged that investors in the hotel sector should not be approached until the results of such a study are in hand. Such a study would help prevent the useless destruction of the local environment only in the name of tourism.

Sadra condemned the current investment process which appears to lure investors to Karangasem in order that officials can earn "fees," often at the expense of local zoning rules meant to protect sacred areas and beach fronts. The local law maker also pointed out how, in the end, such unplanned development places a burden on the local population who are forced to work for wages as low as Rp. 75,000 (US$8) a month at villas that are not financially viable.

While tourism projects in Karangasem often lose money, the agriculture and livestock sectors with much higher income potential go begging. Requests for peanuts from Karangasem exceed current production capabilities with indications that livestock production from that region is also much in demand.