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Bali Tourism Development Off Course

Former Tourism Ministers Says Bali Is Losing its Core Commitment to Culture and Tradition

(10/18/2013) The former Minister of Tourism and Culture for Indonesia, Gede Ardika, is calling on Bali’s artists to create works of arts that raise the consciousness of policy and decision makers to make them aware that development of tourism in Bali has strayed badly from the Island’s traditional cultural core values.

Speaking in Bali on Friday, October 18, 2013, and quoted by Bisnis Bali, Ardika said, “Bali’s development involving a number of areas should not be done to meet the desires of foreigners, falling out of step with the character of the Balinese and Indonesians as a whole.”

Ardika, speaking at a seminar on the arts conducted by the Ministry of Tourism and the Creative Economy, said the development of Bali’s culture and performing arts in support of tourism stands as a separate case from the rest of Indonesia.

The development of Bali’s lively arts, as a part of Balinese culture, stems from Bali’s long cultural heritage, possessing traditional and aesthetical elements that are capable of creating spectacular works.

Ardika feels that because of this, Bali’s artists must create works that can help influence policy makers to develop the Island in conformance with the rich natural potential of Bali’s endemic culture and traditions.

“It is these differences concerning the arts, culture, traditions and the ritual life of Bali that have enabled the Island to attract the attention of the world’s travelers,” said Ardika, who, since his retirement from government service, has remained active in a number of organizations seeking to preserve and protect Balinese culture.

Ardika, who was born in Singaraja, North Bali in 1945, maintains that Balinese culture is founded on religious belief, a local aesthetic, ethics, logic, creativity and practicality. He feels that these elements form a unity that is part of the daily life of the Balinese reflected in the unique artistic life of the Balinese.

For these reasons, Bali’s artistic and cultural face is singularly able to attract world attention. The rich cultural diversity of Bali’s culture is at the very heart of its role as a leading world tourism destination. To this end, Bali’s culture and natural environment must be preserved, said Ardika.

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