The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry is to conduct elaborate studies on the further development of Sanur in Denpasar, Batur in Bangli regency and Menjangan in Buleleng regency, as the three national strategic areas for tourism in Bali.
The three areas are among a total of 16 tourism destinations nationwide that the ministry has categorized as national tourism strategic areas, which are prioritized for further development through 2014. Indonesia currently has around 88 tourism destinations, some of which have shown significant growth, while some others are developing slowly.
The ministry's director of destination planning and tourism investment, Lokot Ahmad Enda, said: âDespite possessing huge potential, some of these destinations have weak planning, infrastructure, facilities and promotional packaging. So, we need to encourage their development.â
By defining Sanur, Batur and Menjangan as national tourism strategic areas, the ministry intends to conduct more elaborate and detailed studies into each area to set up some kind of blueprint for their individual development, and then to assist in the development of their facilities, as well as human resources. The studies will be conducted next year for a period of one year.
Lokot acknowledged it was a long-term project that would last for 15 to 20 years. âWe choose to improve destinations that are already operating so that they can grow on the right track and serve as examples to be followed by others,â he said.
The Batur area, Lokot said, was one destination that faced stuttering development due to unfavorable conditions, including bad sanitation, beggars and unfriendly souvenir vendors. Lokot was of the opinion that the Lake Batur and Mount Batur area, which had recently been awarded global geopark status by UNESCO, needed plenty of improvement, which was why development planning for the next 20 years was required.
Menjangan, meanwhile, is a small tourism island in northern Bali that offers scenic undersea vistas. It has a temple and a number of fauna, including deer. Lokot pointed out that although tourists had begun visiting the island, transport and road access remained the main hurdles. At present, there is only one access road, the Denpasar-Gilimanuk route, which is prone to traffic accidents due to poor road conditions and is always full of container trucks.
Sanur, however, is a famous fishing village that has grown into an international tourism destination over the past decades. Sanur, which is well-known for its sunrise and white sandy beach, has already been developed and has rows of star-rated hotels and resorts. âWe at the ministry hope to understand what the community of Sanur want. Do they need more infrastructure, or eco-village development, or other development? That's why further study is needed.â
Previously, a highly respected figure of the Sanur community, Ida Bagus Gede Sidharta Putra, had said that by being included among the three strategic areas, Sanur would receive assistance from the ministry to solve and monitor a number of growing problems it was currently facing.
âDetailed planning for the development of Sanur over the years to come is urgently required. We, the Sanur community, hope that the âaura' of our village would be maintained, despite development,â he said.