Tourism has not really benefited people of Bali, governor says

Bali Governor Wayan Koster. Photo: Bali Provincial Government
Bali Governor Wayan Koster. Photo: Bali Provincial Government

Bali may well be one of the world’s most coveted destinations, but it remains to be seen how much of that popularity and reputation have actually benefited the islanders, as highlighted by Governor Wayan Koster this week.

“All this time tourism has not really directly benefited the people of Bali, it has only been enjoyed by investors from outside,” Koster said yesterday.

Koster said the COVID-19 pandemic has been an opportunity for the island to reflect, to identify the mistakes that were made in developing Bali.

“I have continued to evaluate. But the biggest mistake in Bali is our dependence on tourism,” Koster added.

The governor said that his administration is working on a new economic concept that focuses on making the most of local resources, thus creating pockets of opportunities that do not solely rely on tourism. This concept, Koster said, will cover sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, and cultural crafts, with tourism development being placed last.

“In the past tourism was always at the forefront, now we’re putting it at the back. So tourism becomes a benefit. That’s why we are organizing now, so we can go back to the potential of our local resources here in Bali,” Koster said.

In 2020, Bali economy shrank by 9.31 percent, after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the province to a shuddering halt. According to official statistics, tourism contributes between 54 percent and 58 percent to its economy.

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