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When is Enough Enough?

Former Tourism Minister Gde Ardika Says Bali Must Seek Quality Not Quantity as Island's Carrying Capacity Under Strain.

(11/6/2010) Tempo Interactive reports that former Indonesian Minister of Culture and Tourism, Gde Ardika, is urging Bali turn its focus from mass tourism to quality tourism.

"This is no longer the time for mass tourism, but more of a qualitative target," said the Minister and native of Bali who pointed to the more than 2 million foreign tourists visiting Bali each year as exceeding the carrying capacity of the island. Ardika said frequent traffic jams, water and electrical shortages, and competition for land between traditional agriculturalists and the tourism industry all serve as proof that Bali is approaching a saturation point that, if allowed to continue, will end up deterring visitors from visiting the island.

Acknowledging Bali basic attraction as a cultural destination, Ardika warned that Bali must seek to increase the quality of both the destination and the tourism markets it cultivates as the next step in the island's tourism development.

Quoted separately in The Jakarta Post, Ardika said, "Bali is such a small island. All developments and tourist activities must be adjusted to its carrying capacity."

Lamenting the lack of a comprehensive, coordinated approach to tourism development among Bali's policy makers and the readiness to ignore and change rules to meet the demands of investors, Ardika said: "many of them ignore the policy for economic and short-term benefits. "Many decision-makers do not think of the long-term consequences of their policies on the island's environment, social and economic condition. They only think about the upcoming election year 2014."