Bali Named World’s Top Island Again, Six Years Running

Travel+Leisure Magazine, World's Bet 2007By William J. Furney
Managing Editor
The Bali Times
With staff reporter Rian Dewanto

SEMINYAK ~ Bali beat out tourist favorites Hawaii, Santorini and Phuket, among others, to garner the top score of readers of Travel + Leisure magazine for world’s best island.

The sixth such consecutive accolade from the New York-based publication is part of its 12th annual World’s Best Awards 2007.

The choice of islands was based on natural attractions, activities/sights, restaurants/food, people and value, according to the magazine, whose readers this year ranked the Italian cultural city of Florence the world’s best city.

The top-voted hotel for the first time is an Indian property, The Oberoi Udaivilas in Rajasthan, noted Travel + Leisure editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod.

“This year’s results underline T+L readers’ ever-increasing embrace of global travel in their search for distinctive and authentic experiences.

“The extraordinary rise of India among the top hotels and resorts in the world is one sure reflection of this tendency, with the Oberoi Udaivilas ranking number-one hotel in the world.”

Second- and third-ranking hotels were the Singita Sabi Sands in the Kruger National Park in South Africa and The Oriental, Bangkok, respectively.

Readers voted Singapore Airlines as their favorite international carrier, followed by American all-business-class MAXjet Airways and Emirates Airline of Dubai.

Travel + Leisure is published by the American Express Publishing Corporation and has a circulation of almost one million, according to corporate data. Apart from the US, it is published around the world, in such countries as Spain, Turkey, China, Australia and in South Asia.

Given that Bali continues to be voted as the world’s top island, local tourism industry analysts said, is a reflection of its enduring global appeal, despite setbacks in recent years that the predominately Hindu island has robustly bounced back from.

Cok Oka Arta Ardana Sukawati, deputy head of the privately run Bali Tourism Board, told The Bali Times on Wednesday that Bali is a perennial favorite with tourists because of its unique culture.

“What most distinguishes Bali is its culture, which is why Bali keeps being named the world’s best island.

Bali’s eight regencies – Badung, in the south, where most of the island’s tourism is located; Jembrana in the west; Tabanan in the southwest; Buleleng in the north; Bangli in the northeast; Karangasem in the east; Gianyar in Central Bali; and Klungkung in the southeast – each had their own tourism potential, he said.

“Unfortunately, not enough is being done to identify that potential and to improve it for tourism purposes,” he said.

“Some regencies are remote and hard to reach, so it’s good that we have events like the Bali Arts Festival where everything can be displayed together.”

Increases in tourist figures, however, would lead to bigger environmental problems, he warned, adding that his office had received complaints from visitors.

Gede Nurjaya, head of government’s Bali Tourism Office, told The Times separately that the naming of Bali again this year as the world’s best island by Travel + Leisure readers meant the authorities had to work hard to meet visitors’ expectations.

“We are grateful of the appreciation of the international community in choosing Bali as the best island. This also challenges us to prove that Bali indeed deserves such an honor. With this award, we hope it will send a message that Bali is safe and has more to offer, despite the travel warnings.

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