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#31758 - 05 Mar 06 09:13 JP/Tourism in Bali still stagnant five months after blasts
biznews Moderator Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 24 Apr 08
Posts: 7508
Loc: Jakarta
Tourism in Bali still stagnant five months after blasts

Luh Putu Trisna Wahyuni, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

Balinese involved in the tourist industry are increasingly worried about the imminent threat of massive layoffs due to the drastic drop in tourist arrivals on the island.

Four months after Bali was rocked by suicide bombings on Oct. 1, 2005, the tourist industry has yet to bounce back.

An average of 2,000 foreign and domestic tourists have arrived on Bali daily over the past two months, a far cry from normal times when there is an average of 4,000 tourist arrivals daily.

As a result, the hotel occupancy rate in Bali has dropped to as low as 30 percent. A number of hotels cannot even reach breakeven, let alone gain profits, thus jeopardizing the jobs of thousands of workers.

A number of cafes and restaurants in the Nusa Dua area have closed recently due to sluggish business.

A former employee of Bale Banjar restaurant in Nusa Dua, Ngurah Pinda, who had lost his job when the restaurant closed, said that he was resigned to his fate.

"We couldn't do anything because the cafe could only earn Rp 3 million (US$300) a day, while overhead costs reached Rp 15 million per day," he said.

The drop in tourist arrivals has also affected the handicraft business, threatening the future of at least 3,000 small and medium scale enterprises. Thousands of taxi drivers are also forced to park their cabs on the roadside due to the scarcity of passengers.

"There are very few passengers now. We sometimes can't even get enough money to buy gasoline," said Made Artana, a taxi driver.

Kuta and Sanur beaches are deserted, with only a few tourists passing by.

Data at the Bali Legislative Council shows that the lowest number of tourist arrivals was on Jan. 10, 2006, with 1,986 tourists, while the highest number was on Jan. 28, with 4,108 tourists. Only 2,140 tourists visited Bali on Feb. 14, despite it being Valentine's Day, while the highest number of tourists in February was on Feb. 1 at 4,087.

"Bali is not befitting from the recognition of it being 'the best island destination in the world'," said council member, Nyoman Budiarta, adding that the problem has been exacerbated by the absence of a definite calendar of events in Bali.

Beratha Ashrama from the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin) acknowledged that the low tourist arrivals following the disturbances showed that tourism in Bali was very vulnerable.

"Tourism in Bali cannot remain steady amid disturbances, it is fragile, as is evident from the drop in tourist arrivals triggered by the bomb attacks and the bird flu scare."

The drop in the number of tourist arrivals throughout the country in 2005 was also acknowledged by Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik. He disclosed that only five million foreign tourists visited Indonesia in 2005 from a targeted six million.

Wacik warned that the battered tourism industry in Bali would have a severe impact on the economic and banking sectors. Of the Rp 9.7 trillion worth of loans extended to businesses in Bali, Rp 3.7 trillion went to the tourism sector.

"I'm aware that this is a very difficult year, especially when the hotel occupancy rate has dropped drastically. I have discussed the matter with the governor of Bank Indonesia and he has agreed to reschedule loan payments to 2007, on the assumption that conditions would have improved by next year," said Wacik.

According to Wacik, the measure was also taken to prevent mass layoffs in the tourism sector.

In response to the Bali Recovery Fund program, in which the central government had provided funds to revive the tourism sector in Bali, Minister Wacik acknowledged that a large portion of the funds would be allocated for promotional and security campaigns.

He added that officials from the ministry and Bali provincial administration would tour countries, such as Australia, Japan, China and European countries to promote Bali and other places in Indonesia as alternative tourist destinations, besides inviting foreign journalists to cover tourism destinations and organize a number of international events for promotional purposes.

Stakeholders in Bali's tourism sector have agreed to sit together with the central government, provincial administration, Kadin and tour operators from various provinces to discuss measures to develop sustainable tourism. The meeting will discuss measures to establish a tourist industry that could remain stable despite disturbances, such as in the case of Pattaya, Thailand, where tourism was able to recover soon after the tsunami.
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#31759 - 05 Mar 06 13:57 Re: JP/Tourism in Bali still stagnant five months after blasts
Polar Bear Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 23 Nov 05
Posts: 6177
I am so sorry about this, but this is the real truth:

Prior to 911 the average Australian tourist was happy to go to Bali for a couple of weeks a year. My next door neighbours went 3 times a year. I remember once asking them if they liked Indonesia and they said "oh no, we go to Bali, not Indonesia".

after 911 some began to realise that they were hoidaying in an Islamic country, but it still didnt seem like it. The Balinese people were sweet, kind, and gentle. Bali was paradise.

Now two attacks later, EVERYONE knows Bali is part of Indonesia. Sadly the tourists will not return. Especially with the rise in more radical Islam in Indonesia.

Ironically, a lot of investors are now telling me Timor is the next Bali..... Timor is safe, idilic, and non Muslim.

The ONLY hope I see for Bali now is to seperate from Indonesia in the same way that Timor did.

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#31760 - 05 Mar 06 14:06 Re: JP/Tourism in Bali still stagnant five months after blasts
Polar Bear Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 23 Nov 05
Posts: 6177
One suggestion to help Bali.

give it semi autonomy, and prevent non Balinese Indonesians from visiting the island.

Its a horrible thing to even consider, it is VERY unfair, and if I were Indonesian I would be REALLY angry at the idea.

But i think it is the only thing that will make foriegn tourists feel safe!!!

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#31761 - 05 Mar 06 14:19 Re: JP/Tourism in Bali still stagnant five months after blasts
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
Quote:
Originally posted by Polar Bear:
One suggestion to help Bali.

give it semi autonomy, and prevent non Balinese Indonesians from visiting the island.
that's probably the only practical way of dealing with the problem. any declaration of political independence by bali would guarrantee that bali would be a war zone, or at the very least a zone of instablilty, for perhaps decades, during which absolutely no-one would go to the island as a tourist. the economy would thus be destroyed, and there would not be much left over to fight for.

ceding immigration control to the island's provincial government -- among other things -- may resolve the problems without resort to bloody conflict. the province could then control movement of people from anywhere outside the island.
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#31762 - 05 Mar 06 14:37 Re: JP/Tourism in Bali still stagnant five months after blasts
Polar Bear Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 23 Nov 05
Posts: 6177
hate even mentioning it, because every Indonesian has the right to be pissed off about it. From memory you need permission to reside or travel in a different Residency anyway, so maybe it would work.

But the REAL answer is to cool down the entire situation. To do that the average Indonesian has to speak out against the lunatics who have hijacked Islam in Indonesia.

and the West has to reciprocate. The West is not innocentů. We need to fix up our side of the garden!!!

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#31763 - 05 Mar 06 16:55 Re: JP/Tourism in Bali still stagnant five months after blasts
Dilli Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 26 Feb 06
Posts: 8044
Loc: Nearest Bar
Gentlemen,

(And I use the term politely), you have both hit the nail on the head.

The issue (although not only Balinese in origin) is - do the Jakartan based Government have the balls to stand up to the rising tide of fundamentalist doctrine which will possibly destroy your entire nation!

This is a nation which NEEDS foreign investment and the comfort factor that a secure government can supply.

To all Jak Chat members who are Indonesian, remember that a vote does count and that your future choices ensures the way you wish to live your lifes.

Although a relative newcomer to your country, I know that the many positive things that I have encountered far outweigh the negatives. Keep your dynamic culture alive and ensure, for your children that Indonesia, will remain in the minds of all nationalities, a place that everyone (world-wide) must visit in their life.

Do I get a job on the Ministry of Tourism after that?
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#31764 - 05 Mar 06 20:37 Re: JP/Tourism in Bali still stagnant five months after blasts
Polar Bear Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 23 Nov 05
Posts: 6177
Quote:
Originally posted by Dilligaf:
I know that the many positive things that I have encountered far outweigh the negatives.
I agree mate, despite its problems, Indonesia is a wonderful place, and I am a better man for knowing it.

I am not so sure that Indonesian girls are any better for knowing me though smile

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#31765 - 05 Mar 06 20:52 Re: JP/Tourism in Bali still stagnant five months after blasts
g00f13 Offline
Member*

Registered: 12 Nov 05
Posts: 739
Loc: earth
Gentlemen, the difficulty is in the member of the house and the senate. As you can see the number of moderates have dramatically decreased since the last election there by tipping the balance of power to the far right wing of the conservatives. As well as that, the appointment of the VP has definitely tighten the grip of the right wing faction. The VP was well known for his view of which Islam he is following.

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