Development at What Cost?

Tourism Minister Pangestu Urges Caution and Careful Study Before Deciding to Build LNG Depot at Bali’s Benoa Harbor

Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu has joined the chorus questioning the wisdom of building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) depot at the Port of Benoa, in close proximity of Bali’s largest mangrove preserve and the island’s sole airport. As reported by DenPost, Minister Pangestu was asked her opinion about the planned LNG depot at a meeting with the Bali Tourism Board held on Friday, September 26, 2014.

Pangestu said that Bali must preserve its natural environment and local culture in order to sustain the Island’s sustainability as a tourism destination. She also issued a warning on carrying capacity, reminding Bali not to create capacities in rooms that exceed the ability of the natural environment and resources to cope. Addressing plans to build a LNG depot at the Port of Benoa, Pangestu called for a detailed impact study to be carried out before embarking on such a project.

She reminded all concerned that the government’s original plan was to develop the Port of Benoa as an international and domestic cruise port. Speaking of the cruise port, Pangestu said: “The potential (of the cruise port) is very big. In two years the traffic has doubled. In 2016, a total of 600,000 cruise tourists are targeted for Indonesia with Benoa’s port a major destination.” Pangestu admitted that the current development of the Port of Benoa is not progressing in the manner she envisioned.

The development plans for the port, she said, must also make allowances for other activities that will not detract from its use as a tourism destination. The Tourism Minister also questioned if an LNG depot would conform to the high standards for security and safety demanded by the cruise industry and its passengers. Insisting that she was not qualified to determine the proper location for the proposed LNG facility, Pangestu urged acceptance of any final decision made by the State in the placement of the LNG depot. She concluded, saying she hoped all the options and implications for the LNG Depot would be considered in coming to a final decision.

Source : Bali Discovery Tours

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