National

No more new hotel for
Bali: Administration

In an effort to protect the resort island's natural environment, the Bali provincial administration has decided to stop issuing official recommendations for the construction of new hotels, villas or homestays.

The decision was made during the three-day Development Planning Meeting (Musrenbang) attended by representatives from the province's eight regencies and one municipality.

"This policy was introduced as part of our efforts to protect the environment from potential damages," head of the Bali Provincial Development Planning Board (Bappeda), Nengah Suarca, said Wednesday.

"The moratorium for the construction of new hotels is an appropriate measure to secure the island's future."

The current legal procedure on the construction of tourism facilities stipulates the central government in Jakarta has the authority to grant the investor a permit to construct new hotels.

However, the granting of such a permit will be based primarily on whether the investor has acquired an official recommendation from the provincial administration.

"We will not tolerate the construction of new hotels," Suarca said, stressing the local administration would not issue any official recommendations during the temporary moratorium.

The moratorium is temporary, he added.

However, the administration has yet to issue any time frame related to the moratorium. Exceptions are granted to investors who had acquired the permit and official recommendation before 2009.

Suarca argued uncontrolled development of tourism facilities, particularly hotels, had triggered various environmental damage on the island. Data from Bappeda shows Bali has as many as 50,000 rooms at hotels, villas and homestays in various parts of the island.

"Ideally, 25,000 rooms are sufficient. Uncontrolled hotel development negatively affects the island in terms of environmental loss, through the conversion of rice fields, forests and water catchment areas,'' he pointed out.

Moreover, he stressed, the number of available hotels' rooms in Bali had reached saturation point.

"The number has become inappropriate for an island as tiny as Bali."

Commenting on the moratorium, chairman of the Bali chapter of the Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants (PHRI), Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, said it was a positive policy.

"In fact, we have been recommending such a policy for a long time, particularly a moratorium omlarge hotels."

He disclosed there had been a disturbing disparity between supply and demand in relation to the rooms' availability and the number of visitors.

"During the holiday seasons, the available rooms are indeed insufficient to accommodate the surge of visitors," Ardana said.

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