Elections predicted to improve Bali’s economy

As Indonesia will hold a general election this year, activities related to the political event will contribute significantly to Bali’s economy, a business association says. Gde Sumarjaya Linggih, chairman of the Bali chapter of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said that the election would have a positive impact on tourism because the island would likely be chosen by political parties to hold meetings related to the elections. “Bali is the only place that has complete facilities for MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions], supported by a wide range of choices of accommodation.

There are also many flights connecting Bali with major cities nationwide,” he said. Bali is a world destination for MICE, with many international-scale events having taken place on the island. However, he predicted, this year Bali would likely host fewer international events due to the elections, but would see many meetings related to the elections, especially those held by political parties. “Bali will be the center of national-scale political meetings, thanks to its strategic position and the support of MICE facilities,” said Sumarjaya, a politician from one of the country’s biggest political parties.

In addition to the contribution to the tourism sector, the political events would also have a significant impact on the island’s local industries, including those involved with political campaign clothing, banners and billboards. According to Sumarjaya, the impact could be evenly distributed to all the island’s regencies and municipality, because each region had legislative candidates that would run in the election. “There are also around 5,000 legislative candidates in Bali. I think the impact would be more evenly distributed than [the impact of] international events that are only centered in south Bali.”

Budgets of trillions of rupiah spent by the legislative candidates would surely help improve the island’s economy, he added. He forecast that the island’s economic growth could be higher than the initial prediction of between 6.2 to 6.8 percent. Alit Putra, also a member of Kadin, told Bali Daily that the political events would likely affect the arrival of domestic tourists, particularly around March and July, but would have no impact on the arrival of foreign tourists. “The island will also observe Nyepi [Seclusion Day] in March. It affects the interest of domestic tourists to holiday here,” he said.

Bali and 32 other provinces in Indonesia will simultaneously hold a legislative election on April 9 to elect members of the legislative councils, and a presidential election on July 9. Activities related to the elections will likely start in March and continue until after the presidential election. Previously, Bali’s tourism authority expressed its optimism that the political agenda would not affect tourism, as the majority of people from the island’s major markets, such as Asia, the US, Australia and Europe never connected political conditions in Indonesia with their holiday agenda.

The provincial administration has targeted earning US$5.5 billion in tourism revenue this year. It aims to attract 3.5 million foreign tourists in 2014, a 10 percent increase from the previous target of 3.18 million foreign tourists in 2013. It also aims to lure 6.5 million domestic tourists.

source : bali daily

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