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A More or Less Moratorium

Badung Regency Announces a Temporary and Most Tentative Halt to New Accommodation Projects

(9/9/2012) Bali Post reports that in the midst of growing concerns the rapid building of new tourist accommodation in Bali’s southern regency of Badung is outstripping the carrying capacity of the infrastructure in that region.

The regent of Badung, A.A. Gde Agung, has stipulated that he will implement a temporary halt to new tourism accommodation in his regency. Accompanied by the head of the Regency’s planning agency (Bappeda) and Research and Development agency (Litbang), I Wayan Suambara, the regent said on Thursday, September 6, 2012, that an academic study was needed reviewing the carrying capacity of Badung for commercial accommodation.

One of the hoped for outcomes from the proposed academic review will be a reduction in the use of limited land resources, a reduction in the rate of land-use-diversion and a harmonizing of the carrying capacity of a specific region. An important aspect of the review is a temporary halt to the building of new tourism accommodation to permit a careful review and reassessment to take place.

Those hoping for an end to the rapid-fire building of new accommodation to take place may be disappointed. Badung authorities have cryptically said any moratorium would only apply for “certain areas” and “certain types” of accommodation. Officials say the decision to allow any new project to go ahead will be tied to carrying capacity, type of accommodation and the proposed tariff to be charged for the rooms.

It is also unclear if the Regent's announcement will now fuel a rash of applications for new hotels seeking to beat any formal implemntation of a hotel moratorium.

Gde Agung explained: “It’s not a moratorium, but more of a temporary halt tied to three aspects. From the aspect of carrying capacity of an area, it could be that new accommodation in a certain area is absolutely stopped or, perhaps, remain a small opportunity that new accommodation could still be built. What’s clear, there will be map created. Then, based on the type of accommodation, for instance hotels, the type of hotel still allowed to be built will be set forth – all this will be studied. Then the third aspect of price will be examined. The price competition for room, especially hotels, is worrying and must be dealt with.”

Gde Agung admitted that there are long-standing demands for a moratorium on the issuance of new permits for accommodation. He claimed that the lack of a formal academic study prevented the moratorium from being implemented in the past.

Agung has called on his staff to work with the academic community in preparing the study and eventually translating that study into a regency regulation. He is targeting for the new regulation to be in place by 2013 or sooner.