The government’s decision to cut back the tourism budget in the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy was deplored by some tourism business people in Bali. One of them was delivered by the General Manager (GM) of Maca Villas & Spa Bali, Agus Made Yoga Iswara. As a result, said this man from Jimbaran, some activities would be reduced and even eliminated altogether. Indonesia as tourist destination would consequently be more difficult to compete against other competitors.
“For Bali, I think it does not matter (with the cutback policy). I am very grateful that Bali is still able to make the same policy and even better than the previous year,” said Yoga, his nickname. This matter, added the graduate of school of business management in Melbourne, Australia, was not solely caused by the fame of Bali having been well known, but also by the spirit of professionalism and competence of the tourism components in it. “They have commitment on how a tourist destination as well as the tourism industry should be developed and built,” said Yoga having occupied the position as GM of the Maca Villa for two and a half years.
According to Yoga, people should not forget that Indonesia was not only Bali. There were so many tourist destinations that were no less interesting in terms of the beauty of nature and culture spreading across the archipelago.
Those regions needed promotion. Promotions needed funds. The use of the funds should be properly focused, managed effectively and well targeted. Bali indeed posed the spearhead. When the budget was cut back and only relied upon Bali, the thing to happen later was the island would compete head-to-head with Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries. “It’s an unfair comparison. But, it does not necessarily mean to underestimate Bali. Is it possible for Bali as a small yet unique island to face a country?” said Yoga who had already owned a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry in Australia, Maldives, Ubud and then anchored at the Maca Villa located in Seminyak.
This condition, he added, would actually backfire and was harmful to Bali. When faced with large and incomparable competitors, this imbalanced comparison would be used as loopholes to exploit Bali in order to be the same as its competitors.
Such comparison would tend to lead to quantitative one. When we observed today, he added, the dynamics of tourism facility development in Bali was so tight and often violated the hospitality aspects of the natural environment and local culture. It did no longer pay attention to the carrying capacity. “We have seen many examples,” he said. They were dangerous where people wanted to see Bali like Singapore, Thailand and so on.
He also criticized the tourism policy makers in central government that did not fully understand about what they were working on and would work on. Not all of them could understand what the tourism was. To that end, he appealed to all the stakeholders in order to think about it and then implemented in real action. (BTN/pal)
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