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Waiting for Common Sense to Prevail

Bali's Governor Must Seek Regional Agreement to Call a Halt to New Hotel Development.

(1/8/2011) Jakarta Globe reports that Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika may heed growing calls to institute a moratorium on new hotel development in the southern regions of the island.

The proposed halt to new hotel development in Denpasar, Bandung and Gianyar regions would, it is argued, cause a more equitable distribution new projects by forcing new properties to locate in the eastern, western and northern regions of Bali.

Responding to a survey conducted by the Indonesian Ministry and Culture and Tourism saying Bali has sufficient rooms to meet demand through 2015, Pastika said any moratorium must first be discussed with the island's bupatis or regents who have the final authority to issue building permits.

The chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, suggests that a regulatory approach to encouraging hotel investment in other areas of Bali may not be enough. "To bring tourists to another part of Bali, the government also needs to build and improve the infrastructure, especially the access road," said Wijaya. The BTB chairman admitted that the major role tourism plays in local tax revenues will make it difficult to persuade regional government to forgo new projects in favor of a more equitable sharing the investment pie with neighboring regions.

The spokesman for the Bali provincial government, Ketut Teneng, has called on the tourism industry to undertake additional studies that will support calls for the proposed moratorium.

The recent study by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism counted 55,000 hotels as currently available in Bali, a number estimated to exceed by 9,800 the total of number rooms needed to meet existing demand. I Gede Pitana Brahmananda, who heads the Ministry's Resources Unit and is the former chief of the Bali Tourism office, warned that Bali is suffering from over development. Said Pitana, "the governor needs to issue the regulation as soon as possible because if they do not issue it, they cannot stop investors from building hotels in Bali."

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