Indonesia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, used the opening of the Sanur Village Festival on Thursday, August 7, 2008, to remind that Bali is in need of a new or alternative airport, due to the problems of expanding Ngurah Rai airport.
Wacik said that Ngurah Rai Airport is overloaded and difficult to expand by lengthening the runway, widening runways to accommodate larger aircraft or expanding apron areas. The answer, according to Wacik, "is to build an alternative airport or new airport."
Wacik told the press that he had discussed this matter with Bali's Governor-elect, Made Mangku Pastika. Possible locations for a new airport are not limited to Denpasar and the Badung regency, with Wacik citing Singaraja in Bali's far north as a good candidate for a new airport location. The Minister said that sufficient land for a new airport exists in Singaraja and a new airport there would address the imbalance of development currently existing between the Island's North and South.
Whether or not a new airport will be an urgent matter for consideration by Bali's new governor remains to be seen. The Minister invited Bali's leaders to put egotistical consideration to the side and formulate a viable action plan for a new airport.
Future Tourism Growth for Bali
At the same gathering in Sanur, Minister Wacik examined foreign tourism arrival totals for Bali. In 2007 nearly 1.7 million foreign tourists came to Bali and in 2008 that number will hit between 1.9 – 2.0 million. In 2009, the Minister predicted foreign tourist arrivals to Bali will touch 3 million. "This is a realistic target," insisted Wacik.
According to the Minister of Culture and Tourism, these surging tourism numbers leave Bali no choice but to create an alternative airport.
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