The Jakarta Post
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, which will be held on Oct. 1-8 in Nusa Dua, will have a significant positive impact on Bali's image as a top tourist destination.
'During the APEC Summit, economic leaders from all around the world who have important roles in the global economy will gather in Bali. This will place Bali in the global spotlight. And of course, it will significantly boost Bali's brand as a favorite tourist destination,' Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika told journalists in Denpasar on Saturday.
Pastika said the APEC Summit would be an effective promotion that Bali would get for no charge.
'None of the annual provincial budget is being used to host the APEC Summit. However, Bali has had infrastructure projects funded by the state budget implemented ahead of the summit. Bali's tourism is also automatically being promoted to the world during the summit,' Pastika said.
Ahead of APEC, several extensive infrastructure projects have been completed on the island. Among these are the Dewa Ruci underpass at a cost of around Rp 148 billion (US$12.8 million), funded by the state budget. The 435-meter underpass is expected to ease severe traffic congestion choking Bali's main tourist routes in south Bali.
The island's airport has also been renovated and expanded at a cost of Rp 2.8 trillion, while the island has also received its first toll road, connecting Benoa'Ngurah Rai'Nusa Dua, built at a cost of Rp 2.5 trillion.
The retired three star police general reminded that building a brand was neither easy nor cheap. 'Let us use this opportunity to further strengthen our brand by giving the best impression to all heads of state, economic leaders, as well as APEC delegates,' he said.
In the short term, Pastika said, Bali's tourist industry would also reap significant benefits from the summit.
'The summit will directly affect hotel occupancy rates, as many hotels are being used for APEC delegates. Many other facilities also benefit. The event is very positive for Bali,' he said.
During the summit, as many as 21 heads of state and government, 46 ministers, 5,250 economic leaders and around 3,000 journalists from across the world are expected to come to Bali.
Around 182 preliminary APEC meetings are being held in the country, mostly in Bali, attended by around 100,000 delegates. Around 30,000 hotel rooms and 3,000 vehicles would be used during the summit.
The summit is expected to boost the island's economic growth, with a robust 6.81 percent forecast this year, higher than the 6.6 percent growth recorded in 2012.
Pastika asked all Balinese to give their spiritual support for the success of the APEC Summit by conducting joint prayers. Spiritual support is believed to evoke Bali's spiritual vibration and taksu (inner power and charisma) to bring
success to the event.