Can Bali possibly survive without the existence tourism? This kind of question has emerged for several times in formal and informal discussions or was at issue in the Internet or social media lately. Emergence of this question is not without a reason. First of all, it happened due to the impact of Ngurah Rai Airport
Can Bali possibly survive without the existence tourism? This kind of question has emerged for several times in formal and informal discussions or was at issue in the Internet or social media lately. Emergence of this question is not without a reason. First of all, it happened due to the impact of Ngurah Rai Airport closure following the eruption of Mount Agung some time ago. Many tourists were not handled well when going back home because we do not have experience like this. Actually, everything should be prepared well. There must be a kind of ‘Plan B’ or a kind of contingency plan to deal with it.
However, it’s okay. After it passed, all parties ranging from central government, regional government to some tourism stakeholders meet. They agreed to work together to overcome it. Finally, the formulation was established both in the level of regulation and practical things in the field of how to deal with tourists if the airport is closed again. It includes provision of free one-night stay up to the free bus transportation service to the nearest airport as well as once lunch. All services are totally free of charge.
All the parties agreed and on paper everything can run according to the plan. Hopefully, there will be no more eruption disaster so the airport does not need to be closed again. Hence, such ‘chaos’ will not happen again. Let’s be back to the original question, can Bali survive without tourism? If seeing the facts and data issued by the government, it seems difficult for Bali to get out of the vortex of tourism. The words ‘to get out’ might sound too extreme.
What may be more appropriate is how to start not so dependent any longer on tourism business. In other words, we must prepare other business ventures outside of tourism. After almost two decades of the tragedy of Bali bombing in 2002, we must actually think how not to depend solely on the tourism business. There must be an accompanying sector that may not be as strong as tourism but provides an alternative and rational choice to live.
A maxim says that ‘please do not put all your eggs in one basket.’ When it falls, all the eggs will be broken. So, we need to think about a breakthrough measure. Since 2002, we have not done much and intelligently anticipated this. Actually, many things can be done. The agricultural, plantation, fishery and export-oriented sectors of creative industries remaining related to tourism are highly viable.
So, we need an accompanying sector. We do not mean to completely go out of tourism sector. Probably, it may be excessive if saying that tourism is (for the time being) the ‘life’ of Bali. Inevitably, that’s the reality. (Gde Palgunadi, email@example.com)