Portrayal of Bali unfair and inaccurate

Tourists near Pura Besakih, a Hindu temple in Bali, in 2016.
Tourists near Pura Besakih, a Hindu temple in Bali, in 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

In a recent report (Reposition Sentosa as the new Bali, Kwek Leng Beng suggests, Feb 23), the City Development executive chairman was quoted as saying: "You go to Bali now, it's very congested. It's got volcanoes, weather problems, flooding problems and traffic problems. Why is it so popular?"

First, by proposing the idea of a "new Bali" for Sentosa, Mr Kwek Leng Beng was clearly making reference to the resort's fame, beauty and popularity, and contradicted the negative image he painted of the resort.

Second, Bali's reputation as one of the world's leading holiday destinations was not built overnight, but through a long process that required continued actions and promotion.

To this end, we have always welcomed visitors from many countries and willingly worked in partnership with many organisations with the objective of promoting international tourism.

While we are fine with every company's effort to promote their products, running us down in the process of doing this is unethical.

Third, Indonesia has launched its own tourism initiative called "10 New Bali" - a plan that aims to replicate the economic effects of tourism in Bali nationally.

At present, out of almost 16 million visitors to Indonesia, Bali received more than six million visitors, with a steady growth of 6 per cent.

Using the popular brand name of Bali is certainly meant to enable us to promote these other destinations.

As with many other tourist destinations, we do, indeed, have challenges in Bali that need to be addressed.

Still, Mr Kwek's negative description was an exaggeration and we would like to underline that Bali remains safe and attractive to visitors.

Mohammad Reza Adenan

Second Secretary for Economic Affairs

Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2019, with the headline 'Portrayal of Bali unfair and inaccurate'. Print Edition | Subscribe