Denpasar (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Bali tourism stakeholders, including the associations of travel agents, hotels and restaurants, urged the Indonesian government to put the brakes on the island's uncontrollable development.
The Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (Asita) Bali chapter chairman Al Purwa said the government had to put a brake on development in the southern part of Bali.
"Southern Bali is too crowded. Many tourists have been complaining about the situation," Purwa said.
As many traffic jams occur due to the presence of hotels and restaurants without adequate parking lots, Purwa urged the government to be more selective when issuing permits for new establishments. "The government shouldn't issue permits for a building that does not provide enough parking space to cater for its guests," he said.
He also pointed out that the oversupply of hotel rooms was bad for business. "Today, even in high season, many hotels are facing low occupancy rates because too many rooms are available in Bali," Purwa said.
"Tourists are beginning to lose interest in returning to Bali. Big promotions are not enough to lure them back," Purwa disclosed.
In early 2011, Governor Made Mangku Pastika issued a moratorium on the development of hotels in southern Bali. Despite the policy, many new hotels, villas, condominium hotels, apartments and other new establishments continue to sprout around southern Bali, particularly in Denpasar and Badung regency.
Perry Markus, secretary of the Bali office of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) similarly regretted the government's weak control over development in southern Bali.
"The government never thinks of how much water and electricity will be used for every new building permit issued," he said.
Markus urged his fellow hoteliers and restaurateurs to think beyond profits.
"We should not only think of making instant profit. We should have more sustainable development," he stressed.
Last year's survey by PHRI Bali found that Bali had 2,260 starred hotels, with over 55,000 rooms, 88.5 per cent of which were located in the south of Bali. Governor Pastika's moratorium in southern Bali aims at directing investment flows to other regions in Bali.
However, until now, the regents of Badung and Gianyar, as well as the mayor of Denpasar, still persist in ignoring the policy and continue to issue permits for new hotels in Denpasar, Badung and Gianyar.