Bali gears up to host APEC summit next year
Bali is considered ready to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November 2013 as all preparations are already on the right track, a minister confirmed.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu stated on Saturday, after meeting with the island’s tourism stake holders and Badung Regent Anak Agung Gde Agung in Nusa Dua last Saturday, that some parts of the efforts have yet to be finished, but, in general, Bali was more than ready to handle this international event.
“The conference will take place in two major venues — Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center [BNDCC] and the Westin Resort’s Bali International Convention Center [BICC],” explained Mari, who is also the coordinator for facilities and infrastructure on the summit’s organizing committee.
“Bali has many experiences in holding international-scale events, including the UN conference and ASEAN summit last year,” added the minister.
Last year, the government was planning to build Bali International Park (BIP) for use as the main venue for the APEC summit. BIP was slated to comprise a state-of-the-art convention and exhibition center, luxurious villas for heads of state, and five-star accommodation for the accompanying delegates.
It was also intended to have an international health clinic, art galleries, food courts and arguably the best security on the island.
The construction was estimated to cost US$280 million and would have been funded by the private sector.
However, the plan was rejected by many environmental activists on the resort island.
“We already decided for many reasons that we would not use BIP. Nusa Dua has adequate facilities to hold international events. The upcoming APEC summit will be bigger than the ASEAN summit last year and therefore we have to ensure that all the preparations are better,” she added.
During the meeting, Mari also requested the readiness of hotel managements in Bali to accommodate guests during the summit, particularly the 21 heads of state who would attend the event.
”All the leaders will stay in hotels in the Nusa Dua resort complex and the surrounding area. Each hotel is expected to accommodate one head of state,” Mari added.
Previously, Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) announced at least 1,319 new luxury hotel rooms were to be built in the area for the APEC summit. Some of the new rooms are to be in six new hotels to be built in the area.
These plans will increase the number of rooms in the luxury-hotel enclave, which is now home to 4,000 rooms in 15 hotels.
To accommodate all the state leaders, several hotels surrounding Nusa Dua have been prepared, including the Conrad Hotel in Tanjung Benoa and the controversial, under-construction, Mulia Resort at Geger Beach.
Other preparations, including the construction of the Benoa–Nusa Dua toll road and the Dewa Ruci underpass, are intended to solve the problem of severe traffic jams.
“We are optimistic that the construction projects will be finished on schedule, by June next year,” Mari said.
Another important preparation for APEC, Mari added, was the expansion project at Ngurah Rai International Airport.
The project is now ongoing and hopefully will be finished in August 2013.
Badung Regent Anak Agung Gde Agung added that his local organizing team was now ready to support the success of APEC summit.
“In addition to preparing the conference’s venues and accommodation for the heads of state, Badung regency is committed to redesigning the urban landscape and replanting the trees along the roads heading to the airport and the venues,” the regent said, adding that this landscaping project would cost the regency around Rp 18 billion (US$1.9 million).