Indian Investor Signs Up for Northern Airport
An investor from India is planning to back the much-discussed project to build a new airport on the north coast of Bali, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik has revealed.
Wacik, who was in Bali to inspect clean-up efforts on the island’s beaches prompted by a damning article in Time magazine, which slated Kuta’s trash-strewn shoreline and chronic congestion, said the investor had sent his own team of surveyors to Bali to look into feasibility and location for the project.
The proposed new airport will be built in Buleleng regency and is hoped will bring increased development to neglected northern and eastern areas while at the same time relieving pressure on the overcrowded south.
“Based on costs for developing airports in other places Rp1.5 to Rp2 trillion (US$173-230 million) would be needed to build the airport in Buleleng,” Wacik said.
He declined to identify the Indian investor, except by his initials.
“The investor’s name is GVK,” he said, adding that the survey team despatched from India consisted of around 30 experts. It is expected to take around three months to identify a suitable location for the project.
Wacik said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had given his backing to the second airport plan. “He supports the plan as a second gateway in Bali,” he said.
Wacik said around 7,000 visitors a day currently arrive in southern Bali, well over the infrastructure capacity of around 4,500 arrivals per day. The new airport would rebalance the load, he said.
“We hope with the new airport, development will spread across the island. Bali’s northern part is expected to become a tourist centre in the next 15 years,” he said, adding that the project was expected to be a joint public-private investment project but that the exact division of funding had not yet been decided.
At present, Wacik said, poor access was stifling development in the north of Bali.
“Investors think twice about building hotels in north Bali, as more tourists choose to stay in the south. They’re afraid of bankruptcy,” he said.
Wacik said that with two airports Bali could attract up to 5 million visitors a year, double current figures.
He said it was hoped that the new airport would be operational by 2014.Filed under: Headlines