Ni Komang Erviani , Contributor , The Jakarta Post | Fri, 12/05/2008 11:33 AM | Bali
Voters might not be interested in elections, but tourists might — that’s what the authorities are hoping anyway.
The Bali Administration and the Bali General Elections Commission (KPUD) are looking to turn next year’s general election into a tourist attraction, with both institutions agreeing to make the election campaign into a cultural-based campaign.
Campaigning for the election on Apr. 9 are 801 legislative candidates from 36 political parties, as well as 30 candidates for the Regional Representatives Council (DPD).
“The general election can be an alternative tourism attraction in this period of global financial crisis. Therefore we should package this democratic process in a way that will showcase Balinese culture,” Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said during a technical meeting on Thursday attended by KPUD officials from across the island.
Pastika said Bali should be more creative in managing its existing opportunities, including transforming a political event into a tourist attraction.
“The election should not scare tourists,” he said.
“Instead, the tourism industry should use the election for its own benefit.”
Pastika urged political parties and elites to support this effort by conducting a friendly and peaceful campaign.
The head of KPUD, Ketut Sukawati Lanang Perbawa, said the commission would use the annual Bali Arts Festival as the model for the election campaign.
“The joint campaign will be filled with various artistic performances,” he said.
The campaign will be held at Denpasar’s Werddhi Budaya Art Center and involve students from schools and universities in Bali.
Head of the Bali Tourism Agency I Gde Nurjaya praised the plan as a breakthrough.
“One way of coping with the ongoing global financial crisis is by designing and introducing creative tourism packages. An election package is an example of that creativity,” he said.