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Former Indonesian President Criticizes State Of Bali Tourism Sector

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Bali’s tourism sector has been left reeling after comments issued by the former President and Leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

The fifth president of Indonesia has four main critiques of the state of tourism in Bali in light of recent events. 

Tirta Empul in Bali with Tourists Queuing Busy.jpg

Sukarnoputri is said to have described Bali’s tourism management as being in shambles. She noted how local communities must bear the consequences of this mismanagement.

Sukarnoputri touched on issues that tourists will already be familiar with and issues that are kept behind the scenes and out of the way of tourists’ gazes.

The water scarcity in East Bali and the water crisis for communities where huge construction projects are underway is an example used by Sukarnoputri. 

Speaking at an event in North Jakarta on Sunday, 26th May, Sukarnoputri said that poor tourism management is causing negative impacts on the lives of local communities. She says that during her time as a volunteer at a rehabilitation center, she saw firsthand how the tourism sector had inadvertently created spaces where drug and alcohol abuse could creep in.

Sukarnoputri that she was angry with the now Ex-Governor Wayan Koster for allowing such an environment to be created on the island. With this in mind, she wants to see the conversation around tourism quotas limiting the number of tourists visiting the islands revisited. 

Sukarnoputri’s next focus point was the ongoing water crisis in Bali. She told the audience, “Bali has recently started to suffer from a lack of water because the islands are like that; people always want [water] to be for tourism reasons. Tourism is fine, but [it should be] measured by how small the island is. That’s not it; let’s just hit it.”

She also shared her concerns that local Balinese communities in Balia are starting to find it even harder to enjoy the beauty and nature of their own island home.

Sukarnoputri said if things are allowed to continue, then “the people will feel sorry for not enjoying the tourists who come, foreign tourists; I said, let’s allocate a quota. So the island’s breath will not be pressured like that. This is all about tourism. I say, I’m not anti-tourism, you know, it’s measurable because tourism is also for the lives of our people, not upside down.”

An issue that has long been a gripe for Megawati Sukarnoputri is the topic of North Bali International Airport.

This, too, is a topic that has resurfaced in the last month or so as the incoming president, Prabowo Subianto, committed to bringing the project to life during a visit to Buleleng Regency during his presidential election campaign.

Sukarnoputri’s statements have been described as a ‘rampage’ as she directly addressed Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung about the project plans.


She said, “I said, you and Pram (Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung). Pram, really help; this is for the people of Bali. I said, don’t think about yourself.”

“The island of Bali only has a few residents, and the only people who want to come here are investors. I want my Balinese people to also become entrepreneurs and so on.”


Sukarnoputri’s fourth and final critique of the Bali tourism sector is focused on cultural dances and the sharing of Balinese culture with tourists.

Sukarnoputri is a passionate believer that cultural dances should not be performed at Bali hotels for tourists.

She feels that by removing the ritualistic elements of these cultural practices in order to appease tourists that the culture is damaged and the spirit of the practice lost. 


Many of Sukarnoputri’s comments have received backing from tourism stakeholders, fellow ministers, and government officials. Made Urip, the Chair of the PDIP DPP for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Environment, described her statements as constructive.

Since Sukarnoputri’s influence has previously been strong over the Governor of Bali, it will remain to be seen which feedback and critiques will be acted upon when the new government is ushered in soon. 

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Mr Bear Snr

Sunday 2nd of June 2024

She has hit the nail on the head. She should be the governor of Bali. Then she can clear out the corrupt people and send the Russian criminals packing


Saturday 1st of June 2024

She's not wrong. A lot of Bali problems stem from the governing of Bali. Selling lands, giving permits to everything, ignoring laws, etc.


Friday 31st of May 2024

Notice how silent the wildly popular Jokowi has been so far...

J West

Thursday 30th of May 2024

Forget about engendering budding Balinese entrepeneurs. It’s too late for that. How are Bali farmers going to compete in the property market, infrastructure investment?

Russian gangsters have limitless money to launder? Balinese can’t compete in a world where bureaucrats turn a blind eye. Balinese are now the permanently designated gardeners, maids , drivers and lower.

Think instead of how the Russian blood and drug money bypassed international sanctions to land quietly in Bali? Whose pockets were lined? Whose silence was secured…with how much?

What’s going to happen if an honest politician speaks out? In other countries where Russian gangs are in control those honest politicians and their families start to ‘disappear’. A deal with Russian gangsters is a deal with the devil. It always ends in tears.


Friday 31st of May 2024

@J West, you are drunk again and talking crap. Paranoid yank.

Neil gill

Thursday 30th of May 2024

I totally agree with every comment the government of Bali are totally money hungry to the detrimental state of the Island when will enough be enough... Control is recommended.