Made Arya Kencana
Denpasar. The Bali provincial government is urging mayors and district heads in the popular resort island to fully obey the temporary moratorium on the building of new hotels in certain areas.
“District administrations should give [the moratorium] serious attention,” Bali tourism agency chief Ida Bagus Kade Subikshu said on Wednesday.
The moratorium was imposed early last year by Governor Made Mangku Pastika, and covers areas in southern Bali such as Denpasar, Badung and Gianyar.
Bordering the Indian Ocean, areas in southern Bali have been overrun with tourists and surfers with new hotels being built at a dizzying pace.
That leads to land scarcity and unhealthy price wars, the government argued, as well as environmental damage which could spoil the natural landscape the area has to offer.
The government is also urging property developers and investors to put more money in underdeveloped northern Bali, which also has a big potential for tourism but lacks the necessary infrastructure.
Subikshu said despite the moratorium, new hotels keep popping up in the three districts, particularly in the popular seaside area of Kuta.
According to data from the tourism agency, the entire island has 2,190 hotel and other accommodations providing 45,408 rooms, however the majority are concentrated in southern Bali.
There are 158 star-rated hotels, 1,036 non-star rated hotels and 996 cottages and hostels. The agency had not recorded the exact number of hotels currently being built in the three districts.
The moratorium, Subikshu said, is merely a recommendation from the provincial government. “It is the districts which have to pay serious attention to it. If [an area] is overly developed than we should stop [building],” he said.
“But so far I haven’t heard any desire from the district governments to adhere to the call.”
Subikshu however said his office has not considered sanctioning district officials and developers but has urged all sides to adhere to the agreed 2009 spatial zoning regulation.
Chairman of the Bali office of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, said separately that his office supported the provincial government’s policy to put a hold on the building of new hotels.
With more hotels being built, Tjokorda said Bali is slowly losing its charm and exclusivity.
“We are asking the government to involve PHRI in the process of issuing permit for new hotels, because PHRI has a responsibility for the quality and price of the rooms rented. We can stop this from going out of control,” he said.