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Cultural events have little impact on tourism (19/04/2012)


A myriad of cultural and social events taking place on the island (read: Bali) play an insignificant part in boosting tourism and in attracting foreign visitors, a recent study reveals.

The study was jointly conducted by two doctoral candidates of a postgraduate program on tourism at Udayana University.

Ni Made Eka Mahadewi discussed her study with the Bali Daily on Wednesday, explaining that the majority of cultural events held here were not integrated into comprehensive tourism promotion activities.

Bali has an abundance of cultural events. Among the events are the Kite Festival, the Ubud Writers and Readers’ Festival, the Sanur Festival, the Bali Arts Festival, the Denpasar Arts Festival and the Nusa Dua Fiesta.

The annual Ubud Writers and Readers’ Festival in Ubud, Gianyar, attracts international writers and artists as it is linked to international literary networks.

“Visitors mostly come to events while holidaying in Bali, but they are not included in their holiday packages,” Mahadewi said.

The study reveals that organizers usually have limited information and promotional tools for events that can be used in tourism promotions.

Mahadewi, who is also a member of the Bali branch of the Indonesian Tourism Association, explained that promotion is vital to introduce the richness of Balinese culture to the world.

“If we want to promote a particular event, we have to be able to provide as much information as possible to overseas tourist and travel agencies months or event years before the events take place,” she said.

With such information, foreign travel agencies can encourage clients to come to Bali and watch the cultural shows promoted in their packages.

“Organizers of such events in Bali often have a very limited budget and not enough information to be used for promotion abroad. Sometimes, they even change the schedule as well as venue,” complained Mahadewi.

Holiday-makers come here to experience the rich culture and natural wealth. Bali expects to welcome 3 million foreign tourists and 4 million domestic tourists in 2012.

“It would be better if our cultural events were organized and promoted properly to attract more tourists to watch performances, parades, rituals and festivals,” she suggested.

The study also focused on the impact of cultural events on occupancy rates at hotels, villas and other accommodation.

The study took a sample from the Nusa Dua Fiesta in 2010.

I Nyoman Gede Astina, the other doctoral candidate, discovered that events had little impact on hotel occupancy rates in the Nusa Dua area.

However, the study discovered a multiplier economical and social impact on the lives of locals.

In terms of economic value, about 70 percent of respondents living near the Nusa Dua Fiesta venue felt financial benefits from the event.

“Socially, local residents could interact with international visitors and develop a multicultural understanding,” the study said.

As the fiesta also included a large number of social and environmental activities such as a re-greening program and a beach cleanup, people considered the event beneficial to the environment.

The study reveals that 63.6 percent of respondents looked positively upon the fiesta, saying it improved the financial condition of most families in the area.

Of the respondents, 88.2 percent felt that the fiesta, organized by the Bali Tourism Development Corporation, should be held every year.