SEMINYAK, Bali ~ The local government announced this week a wide-ranging plan to develop Baliâ€™s infrastructure and services to world-class levels as part of plan to turn the island into the worldâ€™s premier tourist destination by 2011 â€“ dubbed Bali #1 destination 2011.
In the pipeline are, as previously reported by The Bali Times, an US$87-million upgrade of Ngurah Rai International Airport that will result in a tripling of its current size, including its sole runway; illegal discharge of raw sewage, which has been causing environmental nightmares in recent years, will be aggressively targeted; and the government said it would work to ensure Bali was self-sufficient in electricity and not be overly reliant on frequently interrupted supplies from neighboring Java, as well as managing fresh water supplies that threatens areas of Bali during the dry season.
Roads are another area slated for improvement, according to Deputy Regent of Badung Drs. I Ketut Sudikerta.
â€œIf we have the proper infrastructure in place, a far bigger airport to handle more passengers and a clean environment, people will come in their droves as all who visit here agree Bali is a special place,â€ he told The Times.
â€œThatâ€™s our goal. We have a lot of work to do but by starting now I really believe by 2011 we can achieve it,â€ he added.
And in a move that is set to revolutionize real-estate in Bali and around the country, a transparent property-registration system is in the works and will soon be unveiled, Sudikerta said.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Drs. Sajyho, Â Drs. I Ketut Sudikerta, Hanno Soth
Foreigners investing here will have their property rights registered on a database protecting their investment, and improving all around investor confidence he said, declining to reveal more about the system until later this month.
The Times has learned, however, that a Bali luxury villa developer â€“ with major developments in Seminyak, Dreamland and elsewhere in the country – has been chosen as the first company to take part in a trial run of the project.
â€œBali is poised to become the top choice for lifestyle – and retirement-property investment in Asia, and the government, by providing a clear system for foreigners to hold real estate as well as a land-registration system to secure the investorsâ€™ interests, is making it very attractive to invest and live in Bali,â€ he said.
After recent setbacks, industry analysts agree and government data shows that Bali is once again back in stride, drawing in much-needed foreign investment as tourist arrivals to the island climb.
Despite its past troubles, however, Bali continues, year after year, to be voted the worldâ€™s number-one island destination by international travelers â€“ beating out Thailand, Hawaii and the Caribbean, among many others – and this year has been no exception, with the accolades continuing to flow.
For Soth, foreign-investor confidence is returning, as evidenced by strong C151 villa sales and by one of the worldâ€™s most prestigious hotel brands, Bulgari, just opening the doors to its multimillion-dollar complex.
Bali, said Bulgari chief executive officer Francesco Trapani at the opening of the 59-villa property in Uluwatu on the southernmost tip of the island in September, is â€œone of the most exciting and exclusive destinations in the world, thanks to its natural beauty, rich culture and heritage.â€
By William J. Furney
The Bali Times