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Participatory Democracy, Please

Bali Tourism Leaders Call for a More Inclusive Form of Leadership by Baliís Next Governor

(3/1/2013) Leading players in Bali’s tourism industry feel they have not been invited to participate in policy making matters related to the Island’s tourism, despite their sizeable contribution to the local economy.

As reported by Beritabali.com, a shared view of non-involvement in tourism policies was enunciated by tourism managers who attended a forum held on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 organized by the Indonesian Tourism Association of Bali (GIPI).

The complaint was leveled by tens of tourism stakeholder at Bali’s current vice-governor Anak Agung Puspayoga, now actively running for the office of Bali’s governor at a morning forum organized by Bali's travel industry..

In opening remarks, the former chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Bagus Sudibya, reminded the gubernatorial candidate that tourism represents the very lifeblood of the Island’s economy with more than 650,000 workers employed in the sector.

Subibya complained that the tourism sector has been the recipient of many promises made by those seeking the governor’s seat, only to see those promises soon forgotten once the election is over and the candidate becomes governor.

“This has saddened us. We feel as though there is the annual lottery in which when the candidates wants something, then ask us to attend and provide input. Our comments are all written down as if they will soon be followed up by the government,” complained Sudibya at the forum on the impact of tourism on Bali’s macro economy and the creative economy at which candidate Puspayoga was the featured guest.

He also bemoaned that a complicated government bureaucracy makes it problematic for those working in the tourism sector to obtain information connected to government policies. Sudibya told the assembly that it is, in fact, the government’s responsibility to communicate policies and regulations to the public and the tourism community.

Continuing, Sudibya said: “We are forced to wait for a long time, confronting the bureaucracy. We dream what it might be like to sit together with our leaders in a relaxed atmosphere where we can openly provide input and our ideas for the development of Bali’s tourism.”

He underlined that Bali tourism contributes around 40% of the national economy when, at the same time, Bali’s land mass is only around 0.2% of the entire land area of Indonesia.

Bali has been designated by the government as “Corridor V” for the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of the Indonesian Economy (MP3EI) – focusing on agriculture and tourism. Under the MP3EI program Rp. 67 trillion (US$66.7 million) has been allocated for Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara.

“Nonethess, until now we have not been invited to discuss what will be done with this large sum. If these funds are divided equally between the three regions and Bali gets Rp. 20 trillion or more, we are prepared to lend our ideas,” said Sudibya.

Sudibya said that Bali tourism has contributed Rp. 45 trillion (US$45 million) in foreign exchange to the national tourism economy.

Meanwhile, the provincial tax proceeds from the hotel and restaurant sector in Bali totals Rp. 4.5 trillion (US$4.5 million).

On behalf of his fellow colleagues in Bali’s tourism sector, Sudibya reminded those running for governor to invite tourism players to sit down and discuss how state revenues will be used to assist the public.