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Desperately Seeking Bali

Bali Administration Preparing to Require More Balinese Cultural Elements in Islandís Hotel Operations

(9/8/2013) Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post) reports that the provincial government of Bali may soon impose requirements on tourist accommodation providers to make the Island’s art and culture a part of guest programs. 

 
Ketut Wija, speaking on behalf of the provincial government, explained: “For instance, once a week, a hotel would be required to present a Balinese art performance.”
 
Plans are also afoot to require service staff at hotels and resort to wear uniforms made of endek – the traditional woven cloth of Bali.
 
Wija also urged hotels to introduce Balinese accents in their exterior and interior designs.
 
Explaining the government’s desire to enhance and promote Balinese culture in the Island’s tourism industry, Wija added: “This will be an integrated program for the promotion of Balinese arts, culture and products. Local products, such as textiles, handicrafts, wood and spa products need extensive markets. When the hotels absorb these products, it will automatically enhance the local economy.” 
 
“Presently, we are just calling on the hotels to start considering the program. In the next few months, the program is likely to become official in a gubernatorial decree,” Wija continued.
 
The program recalls the reigns of earlier governor’s of Bali, most notably Ida Bagus Mantra, who strictly enforced standards of Balinese design in the architecture of all Bali hotels and required traditional dress for all service staff. 
 
Programs are already in place at government offices and schools requiring Balinese traditional dress on specific days of the calendar and religious occasions.
 
The chairman of the Denpasar chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI-Denpasar), Ida Bagus Gede Sidharta Putra, voiced his support for the moves by the provincial government, “I have already applied the program in our hotel group [Santrian Group].” 
 
Edi Sumarwanto of the West Papua’s Culture and Tourism Agency  said Bali was losing its local touch: “When we entered any hotel in Bali in the early 1990s, we immediately felt we were on the island of paradise. Most hotels were beautifully and artistically decorated in the Balinese style. I have seen a large number of new hotels with designs similar with those in Jakarta or in Singapore. This is so unappealing to tourists who come to Bali to enjoy the beauty of the island and its arts and culture.”