Bali Governor Wayan Koster has called on the tourism sector to integrate the use of more traditional Balinese produce into their hospitality operation. The Governor has called on hotels, guesthouses, and dining establishments to offer welcome drinks using traditional Balinese arak.
Speaking at the Intangible Cultural Heritage Event in Denpasar over the weekend, Koster has reiterated his commitment to putting Balinese heritage and produce on the world stage.
Speaking to the audience of hotel managers from across Bali, Koster raised a toast to arak artisans across the sailed. He said, ‘Please really use this as an arrangement in the hotel to be used as a welcome drink cocktail. If you [tourists] haven’t tried this [arak], then it’s not complete [visit] to Bali’. He called on tourism operators to support the advancement of Balinese artisans, especially traditional high-quality arak artisans. He pins hopes on promoting this kind of product positively impacting the local economy.
Governor Koster continued to say, ‘So that what is a natural gift of Bali can really be a source of life and a source for us to promote tourism in Bali. That’s why I invited hotel GMs because I believe that if hotels and restaurants all use Balinese wine, this will become a strong economy, [and] people’.
He shared that he has been an avid supporter of the Balinese wine and arak industry through his governorship, and he hoped that the sector would continue to thrive. He told the audience of hotel managers that the new regulations that have been introduced are now in place to help regulate, produce and promote Balinese wine.
I Kadek Ari Putra, an artisanal arak producer, shared his insights. He explained that the future looks bright for Balinese producers. He told the audience, ‘Bali wine itself, before the Governor Regulation was issued, was called a negative investment. But now we have the courage to produce a lot…After the Gubernatorial Regulation, we are free to innovate, to continue this extraordinary ancestral heritage. From the beginning this arak has existed, and our task is now to continue, professionally packaged’.
Putra confirmed that some of Bali’s most famous beach clubs are stocking and promoting locally made arak. Through his operation alone, he can produce 200-250 liters of arak each month, the majority of which is making it onto the cocktail menus at venues like Atlas Beach Club.
Governor Koster has been holding many meetings with the tourism and hotel sector recently. Last week, during a meeting with 24 hotel managers from hotels partnering with the government for the G20 Summit, Koster encouraged using as much Balinese produce as possible. He said he wanted to see Balinese rice, locally farmed chicken, eggs, Balinese heritage vegetables, tropical fruits, Balinese harvested salt, and other local delicacies all featuring on menus. He instructed that all staff should wear traditional Balinese clothing as uniforms too.
The local leader has been clear that he wants to see Bali’s unique cultural heritage preserved and promoted alongside ambitious development plans. Speaking at an event in late September, Koster shared his vision for the future of the tourism sector in Bali. He said, ‘the solution to building tourism while maintaining food security is to build monumental and fundamental infrastructure, as well as tourism that [promotes] local agricultural production’.
Koster has also been working with the medical sector to integrate traditional Balinese medicine with the more widely practices western medicine in hospitals across the province. Speaking with medical professionals and the Balinese Traditional Healers Association in September, he said;
‘Based on research and information contained in various manuscripts, it is stated that Balinese people have [knowledge], evidenced by the expertise in traditional medicine…With a note, the practice of traditional health services should not be carried out carelessly, but there must be a code of ethics by standardizing and testing its competence’.
He has instructed western medical professionals to work alongside the Balinese Traditional Healers Association to formally document the 3,000 native medicinal plants and establish a formal way both practices can be integrated where appropriate.
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