GIANYAR, KOMPAS.com - Bali has spiritual tourism potentials that should be more seriously developed by the government, local community members said.
Apart from conventional vacationers, Bali was now already often visited by American and European tourists who meditate at its temples to seek spiritual peace or fulfilment, they noted.
"With its temples held sacred by the Hindu population and its many centers of artistic and cultural activity, Bali has all the makings to become a spiritual tourism destination," I Wayan Aksara, marketing manager of Puri Ageng Blahbatuh, said here on Tuesday.
Wayan, who is also an artist, hoped the government would become aware of and seriously develop Bali’s spiritual tourism potentials.
"Spritual tourism development, of course, must be done with due respect for the rules in each region and avoid violating the essence of religious activities at temples," Wayan said.
A member of the Gianyar Legislative Council, Dewa Anom Astawa, said he hoped many parties would be involved in the efforts to develop Bali’s e spiritual tourism potentials.
"Local spiritual leaders should also take part in these efforts because they know the essence of spiritual activities," Anom Astawa said.
Spiritual tourism, according to Anom Astawa, was not only for foreigners but also for Indonesians because they too needed opportunities to reinvigorate or revitalize their spirit.
"Therefore, the infrastructure of spiritual tourism needs to be packaged in efficient but attractive ways so it will really help to bring peace, not problems, to the tourists" Anom Astawa added.
Anom said Balinese people had for a long time wanted to see spiritual tourism being developed on their island but they realized it would take time.
Meanwhile, according to Bali’s statistics bureau, as many as 49,989 US tourists visited Bali in the January-July 2011 period or up 25.58 percent compared with the number in the same period last year which was recorded at only 39,806
A total of 78,082 French tourists visited Bali in the January- August period in 2011, or up 6.92 percent from 73,027 in the same period last year. Tourist arrivals from Britain rose 7.67 percent from 62,358 to 67,143.
Meanwhile, the number of tourist arrivals from Germany fell 1.31 percent to 53,696 from 54,410.