Image: Halal Tourism. Credit: Arabian Business.
The Head of Bali Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati or Cok Ace, said that the halal tourism concept, which was proposed by the Indonesian vice president candidate, Sandiaga Uno, cannot be applied in Bali.
“The concept isn’t consistent with the potential, characteristics and Bali tourism branding that has been popular around the world,” he said to balipost.com in Denpasar, Bali on Monday night.
Cok Ace explained that the halal tourism concept would be suitable for tourism destinations that have proximities with Middle Eastern culture and it would attract many tourists from those places. “The potential of Middle East tourists to Bali is so small, that it’s not logical for government to spend big money to invest in halal tourism in Bali,” he said.
Cok Ace said that Bali tourists were dominated by East Asian tourists, such as Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, South Korean, Taiwan and Indian tourists, and Western tourists, such as Australian, British, US, German, French, and Dutch tourists. “We should maintain this and must develop it,” he said.
Western tourists visited Bali because they are interested with Bali cultural uniqueness. Meanwhile, East Asian tourists visited Bali because they felt cultural similarities in Bali. “For example, Chinese and Indian tourists have had cultural and emotional relationships with Bali since hundreds of years ago,” he said.
“The policy of Bali tourism development has been on track because we prioritize cultural tourism. We should develop the market that has tourists who care and are attracted to the Bali culture,” he added.
Besides, the cultural tourism concept has become a very strong brand globally and the concept has brought welfare to Bali tourism businesses and the Balinese people. The branding has made Bali known as The Last Paradise. “This branding will be ruined if we develop tourism concept that doesn’t match with the Bali cultural uniqueness and character, such as halal tourism concept,” he concluded.