Published: December 15, 2022
Government officials in Bali have signed off on renovation works to help make the Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak Beaches more appealing to tourists. Noticing a mass exodus of tourists from the area, with visitors to the island favoring trendy Canggu, officials want to ensure the Kuta to Seminyak stretch of sand is as beautiful as possible.
Speaking to the media, Puspa Negara, the Chair of LPM Legian and the Chair of the Alliance of Marginal Bali Tourism Actors, explained that work needed to be done to ensure that the Kuta coastline remains a place that appeals to tourists.
Negara said, “We feel that we are starting to seem like we are being abandoned. That’s why we need to arrange destinations into an aesthetically futuristic appearance”. He shared plans to renovate the beach wall that runs from Kuta Beach through Legian Beach and ends at Seminyak Beach. He confirmed that the plan had received positive feedback from the community.
Negara continuted, “Along with developments in structuring Kuta – Legian – Seminyak beach destinations, it is indeed necessary to have beautification that leads to maximizing the aesthetics of the beach area so that tourists don’t leave it”
The Badung Regency Government has budgeted IDR 28 billion (USD 1.7 million ) in 2023 for developments to the stretch of the coastline. The plan to renovate the wall is intended to allow pedestrians or anyone passing by the beach from the in-land roads to be able to see the beauty of the beaches. The wall will be renovated to include traditional Balinese stonework that officials hope will become a cultural landmark for visiting tourists.
In early October, tourism leaders in the Kuta area shared their observations of the shift in the focus of tourism towards Canggu. Many shared fears that classic Kuta is being abandoned in favor of trendy Canggu. Sugi, a local guide, chatted with reporters about his experience as a tour guide in Kuta.
Sugi shared that across visitors demographics, more and more tourists want to go Canggu. ‘When I take guests, many ask to go to Canggu. Very few people ask to go to Kuta. Especially for young tourists, they like Canggu…There is a sense of insecurity in Kuta. Theft often occurs. So now when it’s quiet like this, tourism actors tend to [leave]’.
Speaking in October, the Head of the Badung Regency Tourism Office, I Nyoman Rudiarta, shared that he felt crime against tourism and the persistence of hawkers on the beach could be playing a part in the shift of tourism focus towards Canggu. Though this may explain the shift in part, as police are working to stamp out crime in the area, others have observed that Canggu is simply marketing itself better.
New beach clubs are opening up, and social media influencers promote the area with such enthusiasm and a sense that the area attracts entrepreneurs, digital nomads and people looking for something new. Whereas Kuta has become synonymous with a different demographic, it is known for family holidays and a destination for international retirees, and the party has shifted to Canggu and Seminyak.
Renovations to the beach may bring more tourists back to the area, but it’s unlikely to be a silver bullet. Kuta Beach has also hit the headlines for the tides of plastic waste that wash up on the shoreline. An ex-minister has called for a dedicated task force to be created to tackle the issue full-time. All that said Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak do retain the charm and appeal that put them on the map as a must-visit destination in the first place.
Business investors are still pumping money into the area. New hotels are opening up, and others have undergone major renovations. Kuta will always be one of the mainstay tourist destinations in Bali, and perhaps while people’s attention is elsewhere, the area has an opportunity to reinvent itself and in time, reassert itself as the number one beach destination in Bali.