Australians worried their beloved Bali is being overrun with tourists are being encouraged to seek alternative Indonesian holiday destinations.
A travel fair in Bali will this week encourage visitors to see the island as a gateway to adventures beyond the popular beaches of Kuta and Seminyak.
But one expert says authorities need to go further and designate Bali as a transit zone from which tourists would be expected to move on.
Nyoman Sukma Arida, of Udayana University, has been warning for 10 years that Bali tourism is approaching saturation, pointing to signs of environmental stress all over the island.
A moratorium on new hotel developments was ineffective, he says, and the government should urgently discuss how to save Bali from its own success.
“I’ve written that Bali should be used as a hub, as the distributor of tourists all over Indonesia,” Professor Nyoman told AAP.
“When I went to Perth recently, I saw that people there still see Bali as their only option.
“It’s just that their knowledge of other places in Indonesia is very limited.”
I Ketut Ardana of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies disagrees the sector is growing unsustainably.
“I don’t agree with using Bali only as a hub, but I agree that other tourist destinations in Indonesia should be selling in Bali,” he said.
Australian tourists would be prime candidates to visit other destinations in Indonesia, he says, because their average length of stay in Bali is 10 to 14 days, compared to four to five days for Asian tourists and seven days for European tourists.