Tourism sector is the locomotive of Bali’s economy. However, the growth of tourism sector accompanied with proliferation of tourism accommodation facilities, especially hotels with various types, has caused decline in the environmental carrying capacity and the image of tourism itself. In Badung, the government plans a control and arrangement of tourist accommodation facilities claimed to suppress the land conversion rate and achieve the quality and sustainable tourism. Inevitably, this policy invites pros and cons from various circles. Some agree, but a few others consider the policy has not touched the essence of tourism issues in Badung in particular and Bali in general.
It was revealed in a limited roundtable discussion entitled ‘Moratorium vs. Imperium’ held by Bali Travel News, Bali Post Media Group, on Wednesday (Dec 26) at the Inna Grand Bali Beach. The discussion was attended by the Head of Tourism and Creative Economy Resources Development Agency, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy I Gde Pitana, Badung legislator Putu Parwata, Chairman of the Indonesia Tourism Industry Association (GIPI) of Bali Ngurah Wijaya, Director of STP Nusa Dua Bali I Nyoman Madiun, as well as tourism observer and practitioner Hery Angligan and Wayan Duartha.
Putu Parwata said that basically all parties seriously built the sustainable tourism considering that tourism had supported the community’s economy. Unfortunately, each party had a different perspective, even of the opposite. Parwata judged in the era of globalization, the market could not be dammed. Supply and demand was very dependent on market condition and so was the need for tourist accommodation facility. Construction of the accommodation facilities would lead to excessive saturation, especially if without accompanied with the increase in the quality of objects and tourist attraction as happened today.
“If compared to Singapore also lying on a bijou island, 2.7 million tourist visits to Bali is still far from expectation. So, aside from arranging the accommodation, there are more important things for us namely arranging the tourist objects and attractions, including the completion of infrastructure and effective promotion,” he said.
Hery Angligan suggested that government should involve a variety of elements, especially the tourism actors in making policy. The moratorium plan closing the opportunity of budget hotels, he said, had a very contradictory dualism. On the one hand, the government wanted to open up the market and boost tourist arrivals. But on the other hand, it even wanted to control and tended to close the coming of investment.
Not all quality hotels had a good impact on the community. He said that five-star hotels even tended to have no direct impact on the community, unlike hotels under five-star category or small hotels. “If we try to raise the quality, the community may lose its positive impact. Establishment of small hotels actually had broader impact on the community. Indeed, the opportunity for establishment of small hotels should consider the demand and rules,” he said.
Gde Pitana said the market could not be closed. Basically, the market would automatically find out its own segment. He said Bali should be grateful to backpackers (tourists with limited budget). They were the pioneers of tourism in Bali. Closing the investment opportunity for budget hotels would eliminate the chance of backpackers to enjoy Bali.
This former Chairman of the Bali Government Tourism Office tended to impose the moratorium restrictedly to certain areas on the basis of Spatial Planning. It was based on the reason that tourist arrival growth should still be pursued as more tourists would give more opportunities. On the other hand, the quality of environment had also to be taken into account.
Another important thing needed carrying out this time, according to him, was that local government should make regulation setting forth the tourist accommodation that did not monopolize the existing tourist attraction. He emphasized lest the hotels provided all the needs of travelers. Tourists should be give freedom to look for their own needs, so that distribution of economic growth could be realized in Bali.
Nyoman Madiun also agreed to the restricted moratorium as described by Pitana. Moratorium was fine provided that it was poised with expansion to untouched areas. He said that tourists coming to Bali should be given opportunities to grow naturally because Bali did not only belong to qualified travelers. Government, he said, was too scared and focused on the demand.
More importantly, he said, was to strengthen the supply in this case the tourist destinations in southern Bali that had become the reference. Especially Bali government needed to think about expansion to other region but with conditions, where one of which was the availability of facilities. “These are not fulfilled right now,” he said.
Ngurah Wijaya claimed to be pessimistic if tourism development outside southern Bali could develop in a short time. Realistically, northern Bali in particular was difficult to develop because the supply and demand was not maximal yet and the infrastructure remained inadequate. He agreed that all parties had been committed to achieve sustainable tourism. However, there was no effective communication among the existing elements. Government, he said, was still thinking internally. Unsurprisingly, the solutions given by tourism businesspeople were often overlooked. As a result, though Bali awarded the best destination, Bali tourism remained stagnant.
Regarding the tourism development outside southern Bali, Wayan Duartha said that Ubud could actually be a model of development. Cultural performance could be enjoyed at each hamlet in Ubud and a lot of business ownerships were by local people. Community was encouraged to make their own business so that in the future Ubud would not be controlled by outsiders.
It was agreed by Putu Parwata. He considered the role of government in empowering the potential of local communities, especially in the field of tourism accommodation, remained weak. Local businesses were often faced with obstacles from the government itself. By contrast, when investors from outside Bali came in, it just seemed to open up.
This people’s representative of Badung said that local communities often encountered obstacles when submitting their permit. In practice, their permit would be left in uncertainty for years. Then, this kind of obstacle inhibited the local entrepreneurs from doing business in Bali.
“When going to build, local people will find some obstacles. They occur here and there and caused by the government, particularly in licensing process. Supposedly, local entrepreneurs should be developed and empowered because the local industry they develop will become an economic strength to Bali,” he added. (kmb25)