Bali tourism causes risks: Experts - Jakarta Post
Last modified: 2010-11-04 23:06:46
Bali tourism is leading the island into an unstable condition made of inconsistent policies, experts say.
I Gede Ardhika, a member of the World Tourism Organization ethics board, said the island must be more cautious regarding the rapid increase in visitors, which has caused disorganization in hotels and tourism facilities development.
Ardhika, former culture and tourism minister, said the local authority was now issuing permits to build tourist-related facilities and supporting infrastructure such as airport expansion and the construction of a flyover pass and others just to give facilities to tourists.
"Bali is such a small island. All developments and tourist activities must be adjusted to its carrying capacity," Ardhika said during the launch of a tourism book titled How Lucky is Bali on Thursday.
The book, initiated by the Indonesian Businessmen Association (APINDO), compiles experiences and opinions from people in the tourism industry and academics on the island's present tourism condition.
Bali welcomes almost 2 million foreign tourists and around 4 million domestic visitors every year. The island also has more than 50,000 hotel rooms, excluding villas and other types of non-star accommodation.
The island's population also increased sharply from 3.3 million in 2009 to 3.9 million according to the latest census.
Ida Bagus Adnyana Manuaba, environmental expert from Udayana University in Denpasar, has frequently warned local authorities and tourist-related industries to implement sustainable tourism activities to prevent Bali from encountering serious environmental degradation.
Hotels and villas were constructed along riverbeds, on fertile lands and water catchment areas, the professor said. Bali has already enforced a strict zoning policy for tourism sites, residential areas, agriculture and industries.
Hundreds of hectares of fertile rice fields were transformed into hotels and villas. Water quality in most parts of the island is poor, while sea abrasion destroys the island's 470 kilometer-long coastal areas. "But, many of them ignore the policy for economic and short-term benefits," he said.
The policy can be changed to suit business and political interests. "Many decision-makers do not think of the long-term consequences of their policies to the island's environment, social and economic condition. They only think about the upcoming election year 2014," warned Ardhika.
Ardhika added that Bali has become a national tourism icon for Indonesia. "But, we have to develop other destinations such as Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara, and East Nusa Tenggara," Ardhika pointed out.
Panudhiana Khun, hotel owner, shared his experience saying that many of his guests complained about the island's beaches.
"Kuta and other beaches in Bali are now filthy," Khun said.
Many tourists complained that Kuta Beach was now protected by high walls.
Badung regional authority has built 2-meter walls along Kuta to prevent sea abrasion. However, the multi-billion project was believed to be a waste of money, rendering Kuta Beach unattractive to tourists.
Wasti Atmodjo, The Jakarta Post 11/05/2010
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