Tourism Chief Slams Regional Autonomy


Bali’s tourism chief has said that political autonomy for regencies and municipalities has led to uncontrolled development which threatens to destroy Bali’s environment and tourist trade.

Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, head of the provincial Tourism Department, said that the regional autonomy policy had allowed regency and city governments to ignore planning edicts issued at a provincial level.

Autonomy for the regions was introduced across Indonesia in 1999 as part of the post Suharto democratic reforms, but Subhiksu said that the measures had made it difficult to enforce measures intended to control rampant overdevelopment.

He said that a ban on new hotel construction in the south of Bali issued last year by Governor I Made Mangku Pastika had been largely ignored in the island’s most developed regions, Denpasar, Badung and Gianyar, and had been publicly rejected by officials there.

“The city and regency administrations are afraid that the moratorium would hamper investments and lower their revenue,” he said.

Badung, which includes the entire Tuban to Canggu tourism area, earns much of its incomes from tourism.

Subhiksu said that the regional autonomy packages meant that the provincial authorities were unable to force regents to implement edicts such as the hotel ban.

“The provincial administration is not authorised to implement the moratorium,” he said.

Badung regency officials have dismissed both Subhiksu’s comments and the governor’s moratorium, saying that there is still demand for more tourist accommodation on the regency, and that new construction projects are therefore justified.

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