There are only a few choices to expand tourism with minimal impact to agriculture and culture:
- Increase development density in already developed areas and tightly control future development expansion in new areas.
- Reclaim land from the sea (as proposed here).
Every choice has its pros and cons. While environmentalist have a point, it needs to be balanced against development as well.
Lastly, if all the above are not options than develop other destinations. After all Indonesia does not lack islands.
A huge tourism development plan for Bali, including a Disneyland-like theme park, apartments, hotels, villas and entertainment centres, has been submitted for approval.
The investor, PT Tirta Wahana Bali International, which also manages Discovery Shopping Mall and Discovery Hotel in Kuta, plans to reclaim 400 to 600 hectares of land at Benoa Bay.
Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika told the Jakarta Post that he was studying the proposal and had not made any decision on whether to accept or reject the proposal.
“People should not immediately have a negative response to any development plan before knowing about it thoroughly,” Pastika said.
“Rather than adding to land conversion, turning agricultural sites into industrial and business complexes, it would be better if we used reclamation, such as in Singapore and Hong Kong.
“If I find that the project would give us positive output, why should we refuse it?” the governor said, adding that he would reject the plan “if it would damage the environment and the people”.
The investor intends to build facilities on 50% of the reclaimed land and leave the remaining area as a green zone.
Wayan Suardana, chairman of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment in Bali, said his organisation “strongly rejected” the idea of reclaiming land at Tanjung Benoa and disputed a feasibility study by Udayana University’s Environmental Study Centre which backed the proposal.