Efforts in recent years to promote Bali abroad under a branding package have failed, due in large part to a lack of vision, creativity and hard cash. Even Bali-based companies operating overseas are hard-pressed to come up with their own catchy slogans. One particularly poor attempt was that of failed airline Air Paradise and its hollow “Bali Is Our Home” catchphrase. In the end, it stayed home.
Bali’s foreign tourist arrivals are inching up, to around 2 million this year – a new record, but compared to our neighbours it is a paltry number. There is little savvy at tourism-planning level here; instead, stagnation prevails.
One easy solution would be to invite creatives at advertising agency to pitch for a Bali-branding account, choose a winner and adequately fund their media purchases and communications. Many local and foreign agencies in Jakarta, for example, are more than capable of handling such an account.
This clear and obvious approach is not likely to happen any time soon, however. That’s because at official level, there is barely any intra-agency coordination or will to progress beyond the current stale status quo. This much was recognised this week by the central bank’s new Bali chief, Jeffrey Kairupan, who said such lack of collaboration was endangering the island’s future.
So instead of working together, we have a ramshackle approach to issues and in managing strategic sectors like tourism. Rather than construct and execute plans including proper promotional programmes, we are stuck with the same old endless meetings and international roadshows that eat up budgets and end up achieving not much that is tangible.
Relevant groups such as the Bali Hotels Association could lobby or work with the government to devise a branding project for Bali. But until there is actual resolve at the top of the local government to professionally run a programme like this, it would just be another wasted exercise.Filed under: Editorial