A serial entrepreneur in Bali has plans to develop a motocross race track in Saba Village in Gianyar. His plans involve converting agricultural land into an off-road racing track while generating new revenue streams for local farmers.
Gusti Ngurah Anom, who is known locally as Ajik Krisna, is an investor in Krisna Souvenirs. In a lobbying meeting, Krisna presented his plans to stakeholders, local farmers, and the wider community. He shared that he wants to construct a motocross track close to the tourist accommodation in Saba Village.
He said that there is no such facility in Bali at present, noting that although there are some areas where dirt bikes can be ridden and raced, there is no custom track. Nor are there any formal facilities for racing.
The issue with Krishna’s plan is that his prospective race track traversed land that is currently being used by small-scale farmers for agricultural purposes. Krisna argues that the development of the race track will bring new revenue streams for the local farmers. He claims that farmers will be able to sell their coconuts to visitors and benefit from admission ticket sales.
According to Krisna one racing event can attract upwards of 500 people as spectators. In doing the maths, he shared that if entrance tickets were 150,000 IDR per person that that would generate 75,000,000 IDR (5,150 USD) per event. It is not part of his plan to reap this financial benefit for himself, he clearly stated that his intention is to hand over a percentage of the revenue to the farmers as compensation for use of their land.
Krisna’s plan is all subject to agreement from the farmers, the community representatives, and a more extensive land survey. He is keen to come to a compensation agreement with farmers and the community, rather than lease private land. He shared that if such a compensation agreement could not be arranged then he would start investigating options in another village.
It seems that he is yet to have the financial backing of his own, hence the need for a compensation agreement. In the meeting, he said ‘we can only compensate for the harvest or other cooperation. We can’t do the lease or contract yet”. This lack of financial backing may be a cause for concern for locals who would potentially sacrifice a full harvest before they gain any financial return.
There are several companies in Bali that are already offering ATV tours of rural areas. Travelers must only take a quick look at tour provider websites to see that there are already dozens of opportunities to race through the Balinese countryside on a quad bike. Though Krishna’s plan does cater to international holidaymakers, it seems his vision is to cater to the amateur motorsport community.
There is a huge motocross community in Indonesia. In 2018 the International Motocross Grand Prix was held on Bangka Island in Sumatra and attracted spectators from all around the world. Some may see Krisna’s plans as a very smart move. The track and events would bring in a niche but sizeable number of visitors to Bali, both domestic and international. The services surrounding the track would generate revenue for the community, whether that be through selling souvenirs, food, and drinks or mechanical services for bikes.
On the contrary, motocross bikes are loud, and plans to place the track close to existing tourist accommodation may be met with opposition. What’s more, converting more agricultural land in Bali for tourism purposes is a risk, especially as the economy emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. The local farmers and surrounding community will have to make a calculated risk in supporting Krisna’s vision or continue to pursue their traditional revenue streams.
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