Ramshackle Bali

A new report says foreign tourists are shunning Bali because of its inadequate infrastructure and the fact that what scant facilities are here are falling apart. We could not agree more.

It is strange that, year after year, an island that makes the bulk of its income from tourism ploughs little or any of it into providing the very amenities that tourists require. That is the paradoxical puzzle.

It strikes us that there is a devil-may-care attitude prevailing among Bali’s leaders, those who oversee budgets and allocate funding, and that is also blinkered and blasé: Let the good times roll, but we will not be paying for it.

Equally potentially disastrous for Bali, the AC Nielsen Indonesia report points out, are increasing gridlock on the narrow streets and its resultant pollution, and spiralling prices in the shops.

This is not what people from all over the world come to this island for; it’s the precise opposite: a pristine environment and low prices.

This newspaper’s Once in a Bali Lifetime column recently spotlighted the soaring prices of everyday items at tourist locales; and while one expects to pay more in such places, these high prices speak of nothing other than rampant opportunism.

AC Neilsen’s survey is important, because it was conducted among tourists from Europe, the US and around Asia, all strong tourism markets for Bali. The study is also notable in its comprehensiveness, in that it spoke to the same tourists on their arrival, during their holiday and as they were leaving via the airport. Their summation of their stay does not bode well for Bali’s long-term tourism fortunes.

It is not terrorist attacks that put people off coming to Bali. It is the very people who run the island, and those involved in the tourism sector, and their misjudged and cavalier approach, that perform this unwanted and ultimately unprofitable role.

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3 Responses to “Ramshackle Bali”

  1. Peter Says:

    You are a bit off the mark here.

    I am a long time visitor to Bali and yes, there has been some increase in some items, but it’s not what you portray.

    My hotel has increased in price about 10% over the last 8 years. Big deal!! I am paying less than TEN DOLLARS american for a hotel with an outdoor pool, just 10 min walk from Kuta Beach!!

    If you get an efficiency team to run Bali, then prices would go through the roof because hotels and other places wouldn’t be able to pay their staff 500,000 per month, and things like that.

    And who would pay for the nice sidewalks? Tourists, of course, ….all prices would go up.

    If toursists want cheaper, then they can go to Bangladesh!!

    Get real dude!

  2. Wayan Says:

    Well Peter it seems to me that it you that is a bit off the mark, paying less than 10 dollars US for a room isn’t helping, the infrastructure at all, and prices for many items have increased dramatically. The minimum wage for employee’s in Kuta is around 800,000rp per month, any hotel that cannot afford to pay their staff the legal minimum wage (probably because stingy tourists won’t pay higher prices should put up their prices or close, and tourists should support the island workers to have a decent living,

    See you in Bangladesh (not)

  3. Peter Says:

    Hi Wayan,

    What, exactly, are you talking about? Should I fork over 100 USD per night when I can sleep well for 10$??

    Why would I stay at a big hotel only to have the money disappear into the darkness of Jakarta government?

    The hotel I stay at in family owned, and, sorry to burst your bubble, but I tip very well, thanks very much.

    I think everyone knows what the main problem is here.

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