Development, Price, Pollution – Bali Under Pressure

Debris and pollution at Kuta
Debris and pollution at Kuta

Just over two months after a report predicted that Bali would cope with the impact of a hotel building boom, cracks are now beginning to appear in its tourism facade on two fronts: business and environmental.

TTG  Asia reports that wholesalers and hoteliers predict 2013 will be a tough year because of falling demand from Asia, Europe and Australia with concerns that Bali has become crowded and expensive.

This has forced some larger mid-market properties to backtrack on aggressive pricing, winding back rates by 15% to 18%.

Then there are the emerging environmental issues resulting from inadequate infrastructure, especially when it comes to managing the waste created by around 3 million visitors each year.

Word of mouth on the pollution front is starting to bite.

Typical is the reaction from surfer and blogger Eugene Tan, who loves Bali and has been there many times.

In yesterday’s edition of his Aquabumps newsletter, sent to 35,000 water lovers around the world, Mr Tans warns readers:

“Don’t swim at Legian/Seminyak with an incoming high tide and no offshore winds.

“It’s just heartbreaking how much pollution and rubbish is floating around in the water.

“You can barely paddle thru all the plastic bags and sometimes strange fluoro yellow froth appears at the river mouths, usually where the best waves are found but you’ll get sick for sure.”

How the Indonesian Government and Balinese tourism industry handles this issue may well determine the long-term future of this beautiful island.

The report by Horwath HTL and C9 Hotelworks said the Bali hotel market will “defy gravity” and absorb 12,000 new hotel rooms over the next four years without prices or occupancy collapsing.

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