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Recapturing Baliís Charm

Bali Tourism Veteran, I. B. ĎLolecí Surakusuma Says Bali Needs to Reclaim its Charisma

(6/24/2011) The chairman of the Indonesian Conference and Congress Association (INNCA) and a director of Pacific World, told Bisnis Bali that the influences of outside culture is shifting the tourism map of the island.

Ida Bagus Surakusuma, more popularly known as “Gus Lolec,” called on all tourism practitioner in Bali to again use Balinese concepts and philosophies in order to recapture the island’s receding charm and charisma (“taksu").

Lolec sees problems such as traffic congestion, destruction of the natural environment and the diversion of land from traditional pursuits as making it difficult for modern tourists to discern the true “taksu” of Bali tourism.

The senior Bali travel figure warns that Bali’s culture is increasing fading away. The development of railways and other infrastructure projects have the potential of causing more damage to the environment and accelerating the island’s cultural decline.

He also sees the people of Bali as increasingly marginalized by the influx of outsiders. This, in turn, is causing horizontal conflicts between citizens with differing social backgrounds.

Lolec wants tourism stakeholders in Bali to absolutely commit to the Balinese philosophical outlook. Citing one example from the hotel industry, he want to see all hotels pay homage to “tanah luanan” – the religious deference accorded to the eastern and northern corner of each property in keeping with Bali Hindu religious practice. This and other philosophical commitment and practice will help to restore Bali’s “taksu.

He went on to warn, that if the Balinese philosophical outlook is abandoned, the island will lose its identity over time.

He also said that investors coming to Bali must commit to the Balinese philosophical outlook from the very moment they set foot on the island. “When they build any physical structure, a day deemed advantageous on the Balinese calendar must be used to lay the cornerstone,” insisted Lolec.

Finally, Lolec called for more attention to be paid to social harmony within the community, revitalizing the courtesy that has characterized life in Bali from years past.