Bali would be vulnerable to an economic crisis if the province only relies on the tourism sector for income, he opined.
"In investment theory (terms), we must not put all our eggs in one basket because if the basket falls, then all the eggs would break," Masduki remarked while delivering a public lecture at Warmadewa University, Bali, which was followed online from here on Tuesday.
For a long time, Bali made a significant contribution to the national economy on the back of 20 million tourist visits, but the province's economic growth dropped sharply to minus 12 percent in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted.
One of the main factors contributing to the extreme decline was COVID-19-related activities restrictions, which limited public activities and severely hampered the tourism sector, the minister said.
Therefore, Bali must now be developed as a global trade hub through the development of large-capacity production centers to help the province profit from the lucrative global digital market, Masduki added.
He said he has discussed the plan to develop Bali as Indonesia's trade hub for the global community with Bali Governor I Wayan Koster.
“If, (in the past,) Bali was visited by the world, now Bali must visit the world. We need to prepare this and detail the ‘Bali visit the world’ concept," he remarked.
He pointed out that Bali has various potentials to offer to the global community, such as Balinese art and handicrafts and the best spa resorts in the world.
"When I visited Luang Prabang in Laos, I stayed at a Balinese-style hotel. I then met the hotel CEO and asked, 'Why is this hotel similar to Bali?' The hotel owner answered, ‘We indeed want to emulate Bali, we even invite craftsmen from Bali (to work here),’" Masduki recalled.
The experience in Luang Prabang highlights Bali's potential to develop its identity as Indonesia's trade hub and diversify its economy outside the tourism sector, he said, adding that the province can provide architects and construction consultants and micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) products to the global community.
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Translator: M Baqir Idrus A, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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