Bali Culture gives Tourism a Boost

LGBT TAT CampaignTourism businesses on Bali have joined forces with the island administration to develop higher quality tourism projects that are more sustainable for the island's future, reported the Jakarta Post.

The newly established Bali Tourism Promotion Board (BPPD) has already allocated RP 70 billion (US$6.1 million) in funding and according to Ida Bagua Ngurah Wijaya, a member of the organisation, local tourism businesses and the Balinese administration will share responsibility for the budget.

"Sixty percent of the budget will be provided by the Bali administration and the remaining 40 percent will be procured by tourism businesses," he was quoted as saying in the Bali Daily.

The board will also take joint responsibility for tasks, with the administration side focusing their efforts on marketing tourism locations across the island and campaigning to improve Bali's image. The private sector, meanwhile, will focus on business-to-business deals and special promotions.

The BPPD also plans to focus on the promotion of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), as well as sports, the grey dollar and creative endeavours to draw more visitors. "All the programmes are set now, so we have a clear direction and targets to achieve," added Wijaya

Key players in Bali's tourism sector are also focussing on promoting the island's cultural attractions to visiting tourists. For example, this month's Balinese Hindu Day of Silence, Nyepi, is set to be particularly popular with tourists seeking out an authentic Balinese cultural experience.

"[Tourists] are happy when they [see] the Balinese observe Nyepi with its astonishing pre- and post-rituals," said Ketut Ardana, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies Bali, although he admitted that tourists do not generally travel to the island specifically for the event.

Each year, Nyepi marks the start of the new lunar year in the Balinese Caka calendar. Major attractions surrounding the festival include local parades the night before Nyepi, when villagers build impressive giant effigies of the spirits to carry through the streets. On Nyepi day itself, all access to the island is closed, including via the airport and harbours. Local radio and television stations also stop broadcasting for 24 hours.

"Tourists appreciate and are amazed at the unique parades and rituals on the eve of Nyepi and they also enjoy the quietness that follows on the island for 24 hours," said Ardana.

Many hotels and private villa owners on Bali now offer special Nyepi deals on accommodation packages.
"March is usually low season for the hospitality business," explained Ida Bagus Wisnu Diwangkara, a businessman from Sanur. "Nyepi has boosted business for us as many visitors are willing to enjoy our special Nyepi packages."