Bali’s issue with traffic congestion is no secret. One only has to have a quick look on social media to see hundreds of viral videos in the ‘expectations vs. reality’ style template to see that traffic all around the island is only mounting up.
Local leaders have reached out to the media to share their frustration at the lack of urgent action.
The Chairman of the Bali Villa Association, I Putu Gede Hendrawan, has spoken up on behalf of local communities, tourism business owners, and tourists themselves.
He said that although the number of tourists on the island right now is something to be grateful for in the wake of the pandemic, serious and urgent action must be taken to tackle the road infrastructure on the island.
Hendrawan noted that despite years worth of discussion, seminars, expert studies, and even project proposals, there has yet to be a single impactful solution to the traffic congestion in Bali. He explained that the tourism sector is at risk if nothing is done soon.
@miaccollison18 You’ll know this feeling if you have been to Bali🥲🥲🥲 #relatable #travellife #anyonerelate #backpackingreality #travelreality #bali #balitrafficjam #balitraffic #comedy #funny #thenorm #traffic #mariocart #mariokart #canggu #seminyak #southofbali #uluwatubali #ubud #backpackingseasia #seasia #fyp #like #follow #slay ♬ sonido original – Carlos Feria
Hendrawan said, “Talking about quality tourism must come from two sides, both the tourists and the tourism products.” He was speaking about a recent announcement from political leaders who want to promote higher-quality tourism in Bali by encouraging higher quality (and higher spending) tourists on vacation.
He pointed out that the quality of a destination’s tourism offering is about more than the luxurious nature of accommodation. Quality public infrastructure plays a less sexy but essential role in establishing quality tourism.
@ktravelsuk Completely normal scenes here, trying to cross the road & they'd run you over on the pavement🤣🤣 #bali #seminyak #bikes #roads #bali #traveltok #fyp ♬ original sound – ktravelsuk🌎 | Kirsten
Hendrawan explained that the traffic congestion is impacting both tourist’s experience of the resort island and the quality of life for local communities.
He said, “We are bored here having to go through congested routes so we often look for alternate routes, especially for those who have limited vacation time. Because of traffic jams, we have to spend so much more time on the roads.”
He and others in the Bali Villa Association are calling for meaningful action by the central and provincial governments, municipalities, districts, and local bankers. Hendrawan called on the huge imbalance between the volume of vehicles on Bali’s roads and the quality of the supporting transport infrastructure.
@journeywithchiara be prepared to spend 50% of your life in traffic in Bali #baliliving #balivibes #balitraffic #canggutraffic #instavsreality ♬ september on crack ft. a recorder (Earth, Wind & Fire – September) – frickin weeb
He cited figures from the Bali Province Statistics Agency that show that the number of vehicles on the island vastly exceeds that of the residential population. In 2022, the number of registered vehicles in Bali was 4,756,364, while at official estimate of the population of Bali province was 4,415,000 people in mid-2022.
This volume of vehicles is not only causing issues with traffic congestion but also parking. There have been dozens of stories this year alone of tourist vehicles in turmoil over insufficient parking at the island’s leading destinations.
This results in illegal parking, which often blocks already congested roads, causing traffic to back up even further and in some cases reach gridlock.
Hendrawan said, “It’s all a dilemma. If vehicle restrictions are implemented it will affect government revenue from motor vehicle taxes, but if this cannot be done, then there must be other options such as adding highways.”
He is also calling on the authorities to take firm action against those who violate traffic laws, especially in areas like Ubud where illegal parking is rife and having a hugely negative impact on local businesses and tourists.
Hendrawan concluded, “If this continues to happen in Bali, how will the image of Bali’s tourism be one that is of being comfortable and safe?”
“Because we are not comfortable on the highway going to a place used private transportation and end up getting bored and fed up with things like this.”
“The long-term effect is that it has a huge impact on the image of Bali tourism. There is no other industry that can replace tourism as it is the backbone of Bali.”
Hendrawan’s comments come as the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, concludes meetings with the transportation and planning authorities in Bali.
The Minster agreed that Bali will be unable to cope with the volume of traffic on the roads by 2027 if nothing is done quickly.
The Minster and his teams discussed the new Light Rail Transit system, and land acquisition is underway to expand road links into the Uluwatu resort area in 2024, in addition to the already underway Gilimanuk-Medewi Toll Road.
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