The spotlight on Bali this week is perhaps not for the best of reasons, yet it is also difficult to argue that it's not necessary. After Bali was included in a 2020 'No' List by US-based travel publication Fodor's, the provincial island's vice governor has now issued a statement asking for visiting tourists to upload photos and videos highlighting Bali in a "positive" light.
"We ask for support from tourism practitioners to invite tourists, that while they are on vacation, to upload photos or videos on social media about Bali in a positive light," Vice Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati said in a statement.
"... such as a clean beach, beautiful environment, a well-organized hotel garden, friendly Balinese residents, and other local gems."
The statement comes after Fodor's Travel placed Bali as one of 13 destinations across the globe that travelers are discouraged from visiting in 2020, which the provincial government fears will "impact negatively" on Bali's tourism reputation.
Fodor's recently highlighted the problem of over-tourism in Bali, and pointed out Pulau Dewata's issues concerning the environment, such as plastic waste and water scarcity, while also mentioning the increasing number of tourists showing disrespect when visiting religious and sacred sites in the Island of the Gods.
It might be worth noting that the same publication discouraging travelers from visiting the island next year is the same one that encourage globetrotters to come explore only two years ago, as it was included in Fodor's 'Go' List in 2018.
While travel publications can include and exclude destinations as they please, experts say the problems Bali are experiencing today have been building up for years. The impacts of rapid accommodation development, which as Fodor's recently explained, have led to water scarcity, therefore impacting the profits of Balinese farmers.
While new hotels keep popping up, oversupply of hotel rooms also continue to plague our island, which has been the case for more than a decade, according to Agung Suryawan Wiranatha, who is director of the Center of Excellence in Tourism at Udayana University.
The government's response to over-tourism has appeared to be only reactive at best, but many islanders are decidedly not aloof to the problems, as showcased by several comments on the Bali provincial government's Facebook page.
The main point is, let us provide comfort and safety for visiting guests when they are on holiday. They will give their own testimonies, without being told to... *in my personal opinion.
Guests who are comfortable will voluntarily write or tell their stories of visiting Bali, please always find a solution to the problem of congestion, fix pedestrian access and sidewalks, and overall better road repair. Such as Pengosekan [in Ubud] there are often traffic congestion, thank you sir.