Ministry Report Pushes Bali Governor to Consider Construction Moratorium

The Jakarta Globe

Elisabeth Oktofani & Made Arya Kencana

Denpasar. The Bali governor is considering imposing a moratorium on hotel development in Denpasar, Badung and Gianyar to balance tourism development in the island.

Made Mangku Pastika said on Wednesday that he had received the assessment report done by the Tourism Ministry’s team, which stated there is an oversupply of hotel rooms in the island’s main tourist destinations.

“It is recommended that there should be no more hotel investment in Denpasar, Badung and Gianyar until 2015.

Instead, the hotel investments would better be directed to areas such as Buleleng, Bangli, Karangasem and Jembrana,” he said.

However, the introduction of the moratorium must be first consulted with the island’s regent chiefs. Pastika said that, under the Autonomy Law, the regent chiefs are the ones authorized to issue building permits, not the provincial government.

Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, chairman of Bali Tourism Board, said South Bali has been the major destination for tourists because other parts of Bali are lacking in infrastructure.

“To bring tourists to another part of Bali, the government needs to build and improve the infrastructure, especially the access road,” he said.

Wijaya agreed with the idea of imposing a moratorium on the construction of new hotels in South Bali, but he said the plan is likely to present problems for the economy.

“As regional autonomy is implemented in the province and the regional government depends on the regional income, it might be difficult to stop giving permits to the investors because the tourism business has been the major for the local government,” he said.

Provincial spokesman Ketut Teneng said he had not yet received a copy of the report done by the tourism ministry’s assessment team.

However, Teneng said the call for a development moratorium would be seriously considered.

He also called on tourism industry authorities in Bali to do their own assessment, which can serve as a supporting document during the deliberations on the moratorium issue.

According to the ministry’s assessment team, Bali currently has 55,000 hotel rooms which is 9,800 more of the ideal number of rooms.

I Gede Pitana Brahmananda, the head of the ministry’s Culture and Tourism Resources Unit, said if the governor fails to issue a regulation stopping hotel construction, Bali will eventually suffer from overdevelopment.

“The governor needs to issue the regulation as soon as possible because if they do not issue it, they cannot stop investors from building hotels in Bali,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, the Gianyar regent chief, said the moratorium should be implemented selectively in order to avoid unhealthy competition among local investors.

He suggested that only developers that plan to impose accommodation rates at $1,000 (Rp 9 million) per night or more should be allowed to proceed with building new hotels.

“There are already thousands of rooms within the price range of $100 – $500 per night,” he said, adding that the island should now focus on attracting high spenders in order to promote a more exclusive image of Bali tourism.

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