Bali promoted as surfing paradise
Bali provincial administration will intensively promote the island as a surfing and water sports haven. It is already well-known to have huge potential as a spiritual holiday destination.
Tjok Bagus Pemayun, head of the promotional department at the Bali Tourism office, told Bali Daily on Monday that surfing, diving and snorkeling were favored water sports for domestic and international visitors.
Almost every day, Bali hosted surfing championships and other water sports activities, Pemayun said.
“Water sports and community and village-based tourism have yet to be explored and promoted extensively,” Pemayun added.
Both sectors will likely draw quality tourists who really want to spend their vacation in Bali.
Surfing and other water sports will attract professional athletes across the globe, which, in fact, will have a positive impact on Bali.
“It also has the potential to self-generate promotional efforts, as they [the athletes] will share their experiences in Bali,” Pemayun said.
He admitted that the Bali administration had yet to establish a joint cooperation with the private sector in organizing a government-sponsored surfing championship.
“We have not yet included the current surfing championships in our official calendar of events in the promotional book,” he admitted.
The local authorities seemed to have ignored the fact that many companies, including Quiksilver, Roxy, Coca-Cola and other organizations, have been organizing monthly to annual surfing championships on the island’s best beaches — Kuta, Canggu, Dreamland, Medewi and Padang-Padang.
Piping Irawan, a surfer and sports event organizer, admitted that the local administration had not yet become involved in any sports activity — especially surfing.
“Bali has turned into a surf Mecca for world and professional surfers,” Irawan said, adding that thousands of surfers came to Bali, Lombok, and Sumbawa in West Nusa Tenggara, as well as other beaches in Java and Sumatra.
The robust surfing and water sports activities have also created job opportunities for local people, as well as boosting creative industries.
There are several surf schools attracting hundreds of beginners — young and old.
“Surfing and water sports have encouraged creative industries to grow well, including fashion, surf boards and accessories,” he said.
Bali, he said, already had a solid surfing community. “They have conducted positive activities, including the Beach Clean Up and other environmental programs.”
“It is high time for the government to join hands with the community to promote the island as a top surfing destination,” he said.
The government, however, must improve facilities and infrastructure on the island’s beaches and shorelines before promoting Bali as a surf paradise.
According to the central government data, around 48 beaches in Bali are currently facing acute erosion, so much so that its coastline has lost 181.7 kilometers of land this last decade, which amounts to 41.5 percent of the island’s total shoreline.
In 2008 alone, the satellite data showed that Bali had lost 88.6 kilometers of its beaches, caused mainly by massive disregard for zoning and coastline laws.
This last decade, the average temperature in Bali has risen to 33 degrees Celsius from between 28 to 30 degrees previously. This has been caused mostly by an increase in population density.
In addition to water sports, the administration will also support village-based tourism.
“The administration has started to allocate funds to upgrade human resource skills, as well as to improve basic infrastructure in villages,” Pemayun said.