The Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, has confirmed that plans are moving forward with the Paramount theme park that was given the go-ahead last year. The new theme park will be built in West Bali and is set to be ‘no less cool than Disneyland’.
The project, overseen by Paramount Pictures, the US-based film studio, will be built in Jembrana Regency at a strategic location along the Gilimanuk-Mengwi Toll Road that is set for completion by 2025.
Governor Koster told reporters, “there will be a Disneyland-level tourist park in collaboration with Paramount. There is already an MoU”. The MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) was indeed signed last year. However, it did not stop speculation growing as to whether the project would ever get off the ground. Koster remains optimistic and told reporters that he hopes to see the foundational stages of construction beginning this year.
Governor Koster said that Paramount Pictures’ plan to build a world-class amusement park would help bring in their ‘fanatical fans’ to Bali. He said, “where they play, there are many fans watching.” While Governor Koster shares his optimism, there will be many who won’t hold their breath on the foundation stones being laid.
Paramount Pictures has a proven track record of backing out, dropping, or shelving significant development projects all around the world. Paramount Parks, the amusement park arm of the company, currently has theme parks in North America, including Paramount Canada’s Wonderland, Cedar Fair, and Paramount’s King Island, but several of their international projects have not been constructed despite initial agreements.
For the as-yet-to-be-named Paramount Park in Bali, Paramount Pictures have partnered with Indonesian-based technology, tourism, and entertainment company, Kios Ria Kreasi. In July 2022, the companies signed an MoU in Los Angeles to agree to bring the Bali project to life.
Speaking at the time of the signing, the managing director of Kios Ria Kreasi, Ade Sulistioputra, said, “Paramount is a global brand that captures the imagination of everyone from children to adults…We will tap into a library of over 1,000 films and use brands and characters that will appeal to people of all ages, while other attractions may draw on Nickelodeon’s characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
The decision to place the new theme park in Jembrana Regency and close to the Gilimanuk-Mengwi Toll Road is a strategic one. Leaders in Bali have long talked about spreading investment in development, and the tourism economy, more evenly throughout Bali. This appears as a big step to channel funds into Jembrana Regency in West Bali and potentially strengthen domestic tourism ties with Java.
The placement also serves to incentivize international travelers, especially those on family holidays, to look further than the southern coast, Ubud, and the Nusa Islands with a whole new resort area and new transportation infrastructure.
Construction of the new Gilimanuk-Mengwi toll road is well underway. The initial building phase started last year, and speaking to reporters in September, Governor Koster confirmed that all was on track for completion by the end of 2025. The road will be over 90km and improve connectivity between west and central Bali. The project is budgeted at IDR 24 trillion and, according to officials, have been designed for efficacy and to avoid sacred lands.
The project is not without opposition, however. Environmental leaders in Bali have highlighted how the transition of agricultural land, especially rice fields, to infrastructure and tourism development has led to a direct increase in natural disasters such as flooding.
Groups like the People’s Struggle Democratic Front have highlighted how big infrastructural projects like the new toll road could devastate rural livelihoods, increase food insecurity and decrease the province’s resiliency to climate change and natural disasters.
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