More than just a beach, Bali has evolved as a full destination, creating opportunities for investors beyond just resorts, reports Mimi Hudoyo
As Bali matures and as its market mix changes to include more Asians, investors are developing all kinds of restaurants, bars, shops, tourist attractions and hotels in areas away from the beach.
Bali is to travellers and developers what “a drop of sugar is to a bunch of ants”, said Floressa Wisata managing director, Paul Tallo.
“The destination is responding well to market demand and is good at creating new demand. This is what attracts investors to inject their money here, either by developing hotels or attractions.”
Tauzia Hotel Management president director, Marc Steinmeyer, explained: “In the earlier days, travellers from Europe and the US came to Bali for the beach. They wanted to stay by the beach and spend their days there while enjoying the culture.
“Today, Bali is attracting a wider range of travellers who have different interests.”
He gave the example of the Australian market, which comes for both the beach activities and the nightlife, while Asian markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, China and the huge Indonesia domestic market look for lifestyle experiences such as shopping, culinary, spa and wellness.
Steinmeyer said: “The Asian and Indonesian markets like to go for shopping and culinary tours; they do not mind staying away from the beach. The key is that the hotel location is close or within easy reach to shops, restaurants and tourist attractions. And many are looking to stay in mid-scale hotels.
“This has opened the opportunity to develop affordable accommodations, as the land price is cheaper than on the beachfront,” he said.
Marintur Indonesia executive director, Ismail Ali, agreed, saying: “The growth of Asian economies and LCCs have created a new generation of travellers from the region.
“The government’s campaign following the Bali bombings (in 2002 and 2005) to encourage government meetings and events to be held in Bali has created a boom in MICE market. As a result, we have new MICE facilities on the island.”
Floressa Wisata’s Tallo also observed an increase in roundtrips among Europeans, in line with today’s trend of travellers looking more for experiences rather than just laze under the sun. Packages that feature mountains and hinterlands such as Ubud and Candidasa and end with a beach such as Nusa Dua or Sanur are gaining attention.
However, a downside of the new investment opportunities can be indiscriminate development, in which Bali stands to lose its image as an exotic destination, according to Tallo.
“Bali should not just let all kinds of attractions and products open here. Why should we have a zoo and elephants here? Let them be where they are originally from and give the destination a chance to promote them as an attraction.”
Chic Locations UK director, David Kevan, also highlighted that infrastructure development such as roads and airports was trailing.
“Client satisfaction is still incredibly good; however, we are beginning to see some negative comments about the chaos at the airport on arrival, and the traffic jams in particular around the Kuta/ Legian area,” he said.
“The focus of the Indonesian government is to allow Bali to just add more and more hotels without really considering how this will impact the infrastructure, roads or the essential charm and appeal of the destination,” he charged.
“Bali is one the success stories in the region and I can fully understand the desire to develop the island further. However too much too soon will kill it,” Kevan said.
Another issue he raised was an imbalance between room inventory growth and that of airline seats, which could create a price war in the market.
Bali should not just let all kinds of attractions and products open here. Why should we have a zoo and elephants here? Let them be where they are originally from and give the destination a chance to promote them as an attraction.
Managing director, Floressa Wisata