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The Link Between Land and Culture in Bali

Former Gianyar Regent and Current PHRI Chairman Calls on Government to Stop Issuing Permits for New Hotel Projects

(3/3/2013) The government must take steps to protect land holdings in Bali.

This is the warning given by the chairman of the Bali Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (Cok Ace), who formerly held the office of regent of Gianyar, in comments made to the press on Friday, March 1, 2013.

Emphasizing that Bali’s land belongs to the people of Bali, Cok Ace said land is the asset that will allow the Balinese people to preserve and protect the Island’s tradition and culture.

Quoted by Bisnis Bali, Cok Ace said that large amounts of agricultural land have been diverted for use by villas. The increase in accommodation in Bali has resulted in the loss of land once owned by the Balinese once used for cultural practice.

Cok Ace said that tourism operators who are members of PHRI are sad to see the diminishing amount of agricultural lands in Bali. He contends that his fellow PHRI members never imagined Bali’s current situation and the sacrifices being made for tourist accommodation.

He said now is the time for the government to reduce permits  approvals for new accommodation and housing estates, especially on land that is still agriculturally productive. He warned that the loss of quality farming land will eventually reduce the earning capacity of the people of Bali, while the boom in new accommodation will result in less income from tourism resulting from unhealthy price competition and discounting.

He went on to warn that tourist accommodation in Bali has now turned into a business of property speculation with little regard for the island’s future or its tourism reputation.

In closing, Cok Ace said it is time for the people of Bali to be fully involved in developing the Island’s tourism. “The people of Bali must not become mere spectators, but must also become tourism practitioners,” said the PHRI chairman for Bali.