The Denpasar area boasts several popular tourist attractions, among them Sanur Beach, Bali Museum, Le Mayeur Museum, Badung Market, Pura Dalem Serangan, as well as annual events such as the Sanur Village Festival and the Denpasar Festival. And now the local government is currently trying to develop eco-tourism to add another reason for tourists to visit the area.
Denpasar City will be focusing on developing the world renowned, Bali rice fields and irrigation system, better known as subak, as a new form of eco-tourism for the area, and they have a number of spots in mind; 10 in North Denpasar, 13 in East Denpasar, 10 in the South, and 8 in the West.
Some of the subak are already well-known amongst tourists, such as Subak Sembung in Peguyangan and Subak Umalayu in Penatih in East Denpasar. However, the rice fields in the east and northern parts of Denpasar are said to have more potential as eco-tourism sites.
“The rice fields we have now are already good,” said AA Bagus Sudharsana, Head of Denpasar Tourism Agency, as quoted by Bali Post. “Now we only need to increase the number of visitors and the supporting facilities. I want Denpasar to become the pioneer for new tourist attractions. Otherwise, we will be left behind.”
The Agency will work closely with the local residents, training them to become local guides. “We will have experts, academics and people from the government to train them and supervise the site to ensure all of the infrastructure is in place. Not just the site but also the entrance, the parking lot—it’s all going to be integrated.”
It’s not only the subak getting the facelift, but the Bindu region in East Denpasar is also planning to develop the potential of their local rivers. “We will clean the area. Plant trees, and the people from the Public Works Ministry will fix the irrigation system, install railings, and the Park Agency will build parks along with jogging tracks.”
Once the infrastructure and the human resources part is done, they will then focus on how to increase visitors, working together with the Indonesian Hotel Association and tourist guides. One issue they have yet to resolve is the fees for the guides. “We are short of guides in Denpasar. Who will pay them the fee when they visit the subak? We will try to come up with a solution with the people who run the tourism businesses.”
They also plan to go viral to advertise the tourist sites, such as creating a vlog competition to promote tourist attractions in Denpasar. This year, the Denpasar administration will host several events that include gamelan performances and an attraction from Dokar Perdoden (Denpasar Horse Drawn Carriage Association). For the gamelan performance, they will collaborate with schools across Denpasar.