|Brand Bali - Tourism boom complicates the issue....|
Thursday, 19th June 2014
Source : Martin Kelly
The day was dragging, the conference panel dawdling, then someone in the audience raised the burning issue of Brand Bali: are historic images of peaceful rice paddies and pristine beaches – well, just a little out of date?
Suddenly, everyone woke up, people became engaged, had an opinion. Bali, what is it? That's the question on everyone's minds.
But there's no easy answer – Bali's a complicated place, a booming tourism destination with more than 10 million visits last year, well up on 2012, and further strong growth forecast.
Yet it remains a tropical paradise – still madly beautiful, intriguing, spiritual and stylish – but one that is facing all the classic Southeast Asian growth issues: pollution, traffic jams and inadequate infrastructure, to name just a few.
Of course, the flip side is that the urbanisation of Bali also brings benefits – great restaurants, beach clubs, bars and shopping are some that come to mind.
Yet these aspects of a Bali break are largely (and understandably) ignored by much of the Balinese tourism industry, which appears to have made a collective decision that nothing has changed since tourists first started coming in the 1980s.
Clean beaches sell, urbanisation (most prevalent in the Denpasar-Kuta-Legian-Seminyak corridor) does not, certainly for the traditional markets such as Australia and Europe.
Read the full story HERE