Tourism is a double-edged sword. When times are good and visitor numbers are high, stakeholders are more than happy to reap the rewards. But when times take a different direction and the world’s economy grinds to an unprecedented halt, tourism – and the money it generates – can quite literally stop overnight and so can a lot of people’s livelihoods.
Bali’s dependency on the tourism industry is a case in point. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Bank Indonesia (BI) claim “tourism contributes between 54 percent and 58 percent to the province’s economy” according to a recent article in Coconuts Bali. Some observers would suggest between 60 to 70-percent of the island’s population are somehow involved with tourism. That’s an awful lot of eggs to be putting into one basket. Especially as we know being overly dependent on something you can’t control makes you vulnerable.
Tourism – in Bali and everywhere else – is influenced by market fluctuations (US-China Trade War), natural events (in Bali that means volcanic eruptions and earthquakes), political agendas (travel warnings) and states of emergency (COVID-19 lockdowns) all of which have a significant impact on how and where people travel.
And these days nobody seems to be travelling anywhere fast.
A blessing in disguise?
Maybe this vulnerability is a blessing in disguise. Maybe it’s an opportunity to reset Bali’s economy and to diversify so there are different baskets with different eggs.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about redirecting Bali’s focus towards quality rather than mass tourism. This is good. Let’s hope the tourism industry takes the opportunity seriously. But tourism is only one part of a possible long-term solution.
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Incentives for industry
Antara News is reporting that on a national level “the government is readying additional incentives for the industrial sector grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic to inject new momentum into businesses.” This includes tax breaks and waivers on electricity payments. It also dovetails into solving Bali’s dilemma of diversification.
Industrial Development Zones
Bali Puspa ran a piece a few days ago around a discussion between the Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) and the Department of Industry and Trade (Disperindag) about something called the Bali Provincial Industrial Development Plan (RPIP).
This seems to be opening the doors to a more diverse future for Bali’s economy because specific areas have been designated as industrial development zones.
According to Bali Puspa these are: Pengambengan in Negara; Candikusuma in the district of Melaya in Jembrana Regency and Celukan Bawang in the regency of Buleleng.
Head of the Bali’s Department of Industry and Trade I Wayan Jarta explained to local news wires that this regulation did not rule out the possibilities of other Regencies developing industrial zones.