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Keeping Bali Cultured

Infrastructure Development Must Serve the Preservation of Bali's Unique Culture in order to Keep the Island's Tourism Economy Sustainable.

(6/4/2011) A nationally respected academic and business guru, Professor Rhenald Kasali, PhD, has delivered a stinging rebuke saying Bali's tourism infrastructure is badly managed. He warns that this poor management will eventually destroy the very culture that is one of Bali's main attractions.

Bali Post quoted Professor Kasali's comments made during a visit to Bali on Saturday, May 28, 2011.

Saying Bali's developmental mistakes are being duplicated in all area of Indonesia where policymakers focus only on increasing the number of hotels and the amount of public transport. In his opinion, development without being selective results in damage to the local culture. Supposedly referring to plans to mine the black sand of Bali's beaches by Chinese companies, Kasali said that other industries – such as mining must be subservient to tourism.

"Bali must focus on tourism," he proclaimed. "Mining cannot be allowed in Bali because it is the enemy of tourism. Mining must be erased from the economic plan of Bali because it will destroy the local economy."

He warned that Bali must be firm in organizing the tourism sector and its supporting infrastructure to ensure the local culture is never damaged. He also said Bali must use communications to promote Bali through various means, including holding competitions among writers producing writings on Bali.

"In the past I have seen the management of Bali tourism divided between the economic aspects and marketing. In fact, these two elements cannot be separated. They must be united," said Kasali.

Kasali said the tendency of the Balinese was to be "social entrepreneurs" in which an individual will use his entrepreneurship to impact social change. "This laissez-faire situation is a natural result of a lack of resolve by the government of Bali to set the rules of the game. ‘Social entrepreneurship' comes to the fore because people are fed up with the government," he added.