Bali is in the process of defining the future of tourism on the island.
As a destination as synonymous with luxury as it is with budget backpackers, the island is facing a reckoning with what the future of tourism may look like and how tourism can help shape life on the island for the betterment of local people, businesses, and tourists themselves.
Over the last few months, key tourism stakeholders in Bali have spoken up about the need to establish a higher-quality tourism model.
As the island battled against an increasing number of badly behaved tourists, the impacts of near overtourism, and the climate crisis, it is evident that change needs to be created.
Tourism in Bali is booming right now, and it is not hard to see why.
The island is breathtakingly beautiful and is perfectly set up for tourists of every kind to enjoy the vacation of a lifetime.
Whether seeking to kick back and relax in the sun, immerse into the island’s unique culture, party til sunrise, or embark on an adrenaline-fueled adventure, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Bali.
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What’s more, it is easier than ever to access all that Bali offers tourists.
There are more hotels, guesthouses, and private villas now than even before the pandemic, and Bali Airport is better connected than anyone could ever have anticipated.
Bali Airport sees over one million passenger movements every month and even welcomes the world’s largest commercial aircraft to the runway daily.
With connecting flights to major transportation hubs like Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Singapore multiple times a day, Bali is punching above its weight when it comes to being a world-class tourism destination.
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Yet, leaders say that change is necessary. As the rise of badly behaved tourists on the island becomes unignorable, and as the island buckles under the pressure of increased traffic on the roads and a failing waste management system, leaders say the island’s biggest business sector needs to be at the forefront of the changes necessary to bring a New Era of Bali to life.
One way of ensuring the island does not succumb to over-tourism is to shift towards a more high-quality and sustainable tourism model. This is the solution posed by the Indonesian Minster for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno.
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Minster Uno’s mission to establish a new kind of tourism in Bali is in assignment with the vision outlined by the local government, which wants to see cultural respect and environmental protection at the heart of the island’s tourism offering moving forward.
Many key figures have suggested that Bali needs to be promoted as a more high-quality destination by promoting a more premium-priced baseline offering. Bali currently offers a tourism experience to suit every budget.
The island offers hostel dorms for budget backpackers that start at just USD 3 per night, all the way through to 5-star suites that only the world’s most well-financed travelers can afford.
As the narrative stands, most leaders across the government and the tourism sector believe that the rise in disrespectful and illegal behavior from foreigners on the island can be attributed to the lower spending demographic of tourists.
So, to combat this, Minster Uno says that Bali must be promoted to tourists who want to stay longer and spend more.
This, alongside existing efforts to crack down on illegal and disrespectful behavior by tourists in Bali, may be sufficient to create a whole new future for Bali.
Minister Uno told reporters during his weekly briefing that Bali is edging closer to experiencing over-tourism, noting that high-quality and sustainable tourism is possible even while striving towards the island’s ambitious targets for 2023.
He shared, “We [will] ensure that the number of tourism visits with a target of 8.5 million this year starts shifting to tourists who stay longer and spend on the larger local economy.”
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