Iconic Bali at Center of Nationwide Tourism Push

The central government has placed Bali at the fore of a new tourism campaign to promote the country overseas, opening more representative offices around the world, including in London, and coordinating marketing efforts to lure more foreign tourists.

By William J. Furney
Managing Editor
The Bali Times

Yusuf KallaSEMINYAK ~ The central government has placed Bali at the fore of a new tourism campaign to promote the country overseas, opening more representative offices around the world, including in London, and coordinating marketing efforts to lure more foreign tourists.

In addition, the annual budget for promoting Indonesian tourism is to be raised to US$10 million for 2007, from $6 million this year, according to Vice President Yusuf Kalla.

The move comes amid aggressive marketing campaigns launched in recent years by neighbors Singapore, Malaysia and others, all of which aim to dramatically increase the number of foreign visitors to their shores.

Singapore alone has seen its tourist figures rise to nine million this year, as the tiny city-state this week reported a more-than-healthy mean hotel occupancy rate of 85 percent.

Latest government data show that from January to October this year, 1.1 million people visited Bali, up some 38 percent on the corresponding period a year earlier.

Most tourists came from Australia, Britain, Japan and South Korea, the data reveal.

Indonesia was keen to cast off perceptions abroad that it is riddled with natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes and showcase a natural beauty and cultures unrivaled in Southeast Asia, the vice president said during a trip here.

He said there was often confusion abroad about what happens in Indonesia, either due to inaccurate reporting by journalists or a lack of understanding about the sprawling nation of more than 17,000 islands in other countries.

A campaign was being devised under the motto “Beautiful Bali Indonesia” in order to compete with catchier ones like Malaysia’s Truly Asia promotion, said Kalla.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry had instructed all tourism operators to use the slogan in order to jointly promote the country.

“Let’s start using “Beautiful Bali Indonesia” as our motto in tourism,” Kalla said.

“We need to strengthen Bali as an icon for Indonesia, like the Taj Mahal for India or the Petronas Towers for Malaysia,” he said, adding that up to now there had been a lack of direction in marketing the country’s tourism potential abroad, as well as a shortfall of funds.

Now the government would start producing promotional films of major tourist attractions around the county, said Kalla, starting with Bali.

“Bali is the icon of Beautiful Bali Indonesia,” he said.

Meanwhile, in addition to tourism offices in Beijing, Sydney and Tokyo, in 2007 the government would open more offices in capitals around the world, including in London.

The offices would be beneficial in not only promoting Indonesia, but would also help counter negative perceptions of the country, according to the vice president.

Meanwhile, in Bali, the government of Badung, the regency where most of the island’s tourism industry is centered, is working towards building up infrastructure, under a five-year plan called Bali #1 Destination 2011.

To attract higher levels of foreign tourists, the program involves a tripling in size of Ngurah Rai International Airport to handle expected greater passenger numbers, a cleanup of areas affected by problems such as sewage – and dealing with the root cause of the problem by cracking down on hundreds of illegally operated villas – as well as introducing more green areas in tourist spots.

The head of the Bali Tourism Office, Gede Nurjaya, says low hotel occupancy rates – around 42 percent – are a result of the illegal villas.

But overall, he said, the situation in Bali was currently “favorable” and that promotional campaigns carried out in key foreign markets along with continued improvements in security on the island would ensure Bali remained a tourism success story.

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12 Responses to “Iconic Bali at Center of Nationwide Tourism Push”

  1. Sakuma Says:

    How it will be possible to triple the size of the ngurah rai airport?
    The want to destroy the mangrove forest? The want to build into the ocean?
    We all now that the need at least a 1 kilometer longer runway that also bigger airplanes can fly to bali directly. What about global warming? the airport is not so much over the sea level. Me. i like more the idea about the new international airport in negara and a better infrastructure, new highways a little bit apart to save the kuta area from exploding, bali is so big, why not distribute a little bit more?

  2. Sakuma Says:

    Sorry about some spelling mistake, my old keyboard not really work, to complete: I´m really curious, how the want to enlarge the airport this time? There were so many plans in the past, the all failed for different reasons, f.e. the people in the south won`t move, balinese don´t like bridges and high buildings, wanted to keep the forest around the airport, and if you build into the ocean, won´t it look quite ugly and maybe even destroy the waves?
    i heard the government already own a hill plateau (1000 ha) in the area of pekutatan (between negara and tabanan), and there were reports on building a new airport there, anyone know something about that? thanks, sakuma

  3. Julienne De L'Air Says:

    I hear a rumor the plan was to build the first multi-level airstrip in the world. This would make it possible to triple the size of the ngurah rai airport without having to build into the ocean or moving into mangrove territory. Plus, no worries about global warming & rising seas!

    But with two levels of airstrip – one on top of the other (about 20m high) – I just worry about training some new pilots to be able to fly into the bottom airstrip, I’d imagine it would be tricky at first. Or what if two plans are taking off at the same time from the top & bottom airstrip? …things to think about.

  4. Sakuma Says:

    Indeed! Where did you found that information, never heard about that, and i thought i really searched the web, if you or anyone want to have adresses of government homepages etc. to check any progress please tell, sakuma

  5. wayan shorty Says:

    a slogan and an airport upgrade won’t attract one extra tourist.

    how about some civic pride – clean the place up!! remember a couple of years ago there was the regency competition for ‘tidy towns’. the grounds of the Novotel might be great, but if jln. pratama looks like a rubbish heap…………

    extend the voa to 60 days. i used to come over twice a year for 6 weeks a time. now it’s 4 weeks.

    maybe a 2 tier voa – us$30 for 30 days, $50 for 60 days?

    a development freeze on hotels, villas, apartments..you’re creating a boom/bust real estate mentality. bali wasn’t, and isn’t about the lifestyles of the rich and fatuous.

    i live in sydney. the greatest contributor to our tourist economy are backpackers. i’m sure if study was done of bali it would be similar – backpackers and entry level package holidays. this has an important corollary – the pondoks/homestays/hotels tend to be locally owned. the profits are not being repatriated off shore.

    there is a blindness in the tourism pursuit. not so long ago bali was a self sufficient food producer. now you import rice/food. this has been brought about by development of agricultural land, and village youth leaving farming.

    i could mention the weaving, clothing industries that used to exist…………

    these things helped make bali special.

    you’re heading down the track of my favorite tourism joke..

    a man is sitting at the bar of the nusa dua hilton. he’s overhearing 2 blokes bragging about the countries they’ve visited. after a while he reaises they’re listing the hiltons they’ve stayed in, not the countries they’ve visited.

  6. Harman Says:


    You do make some pertinent points.

    The Bali Times has been talking about regulations on buildings in Bali as part of the Bali #1 Destination 2011 drive. There’s also a new organization launching next year in conjunction with the government desire to curb sewage pollution over at http://www.KeepBaliGreen.org

    I’m not sure that self-sufficiency of rice is a localized issue. I’ve been reading plenty of press lately about how the government is forced to import rice from abroad throughout the country (http://www.oryza.com/topic22.html), but point taken, though I wouldn’t call it blindness as much as short-sightedness.
    In general, there is a natural aversion to change and modernization in once rural areas, esp when it happens as fast as it does in Bali, and without regulation. But I think Bali will always be special, but just not the same ‘special’ as it was before. It will be a modern, organized, and hopefully cleaner ‘special’.

    Otherwise, there’s still 10,000 unihabited islands to choose from for that real raw experience.

  7. wayan shorty Says:

    hi harman

    i hope your prognosis is right, tho i have my fears. fine speeches, promises of rosy futures….how many times have we heard it before?

    do a simple mathematic – look at the % increase in hotel beds from 1992 – 2002 (chosen to avoid the effects of the 1st bombing). compare this with the % increase in tourist numbers – the bed numbers were impossible to sustain.

    you know what’s crazy? after 2 bombings the rate of development hasn’t changed.

    my point re rice/land conversion is this – bali used to feed itself and earn income from sales to other parts of ri. drops in tourist numbers don’t affect yield per are. that other parts of ri import rice is immaterial.

    we’ve got a slogan, we’ve got plan…..

    from where i sit it’s what we think is the problem and the solution without any reference or research to the real underlying problems.

    give it a funky slogan and a nebulous completion date……the old political ‘be seen to be doing something’

    finally, no i don’t want to visit 10,000 uninhabited islands. i want to visit and tell people of bali saya where
    my local friends can at the live productive, fulfilling and sustsainable lifestyles.

    we know the major problems and some of the solutions. remember the famous artist – GOYA – get off your arse. stop talking about it, do it.


  8. Harman Says:

    I wouldn’t blithely write off earnest attempts at making things better by attributing them ‘funky slogans’… Some people choose to write about ‘how bad things are getting’ or how its ‘not like back in the day’, but there are other people earnestly proactive in making things in Bali better.

  9. wayan shorty Says:

    ‘peace’ harman – we’re both on the same side.

    i’m not wanting a return to the past – i want to grow with bali.


  10. The Bali Times » Bali Gains Momentum Says:

    […] Drawing comparisons between India’s famed Taj Mahal and Malaysia’s relatively newer Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, for a fleeting time the world’s tallest structure, Kalla said Indonesian tourism should be branded under a “Beautiful Bali Indonesia” slogan. […]

  11. jess Says:

    I don’t know about the airport, but it would be great for the economy if they could get more tourists, and I’m sure they can. Check out this video I just watched: http://travelistic.com/video/show/341

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