|By Wasti Atmodjo, The Jakarta Post,
Indonesia / Asia News NetworkMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 27, 2010--BALI (THE JAKARTA POST/ANN) -- Indonesia's Culture and Tourism Ministry officials have urged the Bali administration to temporarily halt new hotel developments on the island, saying Bali had sufficient hotel rooms for up to 2015 and building more rooms would create unhealthy business competition.
"A recent study showed that the island is already suffering from an oversupply of hotel rooms," the ministry's human resources development head, Pitana Brahmanda, said.
Before joining the ministry, Pitana was a professor at Bali's Udayana University, where his studies frequently highlighted flaws in the island's tourism development policy.
"I reported the room oversupply problem to the ministry along with my recommendation that a temporary moratorium on hotel development should be imposed until 2015," he said, adding that the minister had also been informed.
The recent study Pitana referred to was conducted by the ministry and Udayana University researchers and focused on Badung, Denpasar and Gianyar, the regions with the most developed tourist industries.
The three regencies all lie in the south of the island, where the oversupply of hotel rooms is most evident.
The study confirmed the concerns initially voiced decades ago by environmentalists and later by the tourism industry that the island's hotel development was proceeding at a pace that would hurt both the environment and the tourist industry as well.
The ministry's tourism research and development head, Henky Hermantoro, pointed out that the island had almost 10,000 surplus hotel rooms.
"The study looked at the number of available hotel rooms and compared it with visitor numbers, the average length of stay and occupancy rates. What we found was that currently Bali has a surplus of 9,800 rooms," he said.
Calls for a moratorium on new hotel development have been issued by several stakeholders. The most recent call was made by the head of the Bali branch of the Indonesia Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI), Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati.
Last September, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika admitted he was considering issuing a bylaw on a hotel moratorium for Badung, Denpasar and Gianyar.
"A moratorium is needed to balance tourism development across Bali, especially in Buleleng, Bangli, Karangasem, Jembrana, Tabanan and Klungkung, which lag behind Denpasar, Badung and Gianyar," he said.
The Bali Tourism Agency in 2009 said there were around 46,000 hotel rooms in 2,175 hotels and guest houses on Bali, including 157 star-rated hotels.
Most of the lodgings are located in Badung (630 hotels), followed by Gianyar (608) and Denpasar (250). Bali previously imposed a moratorium on tourism development during the tenure of former governor Dewa Made Beratha, but this was revoked after the islandÂ¡Â¯s municipal and regency administrations were given the authority to issue permits for tourism development without securing approval from the provincial administration.
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