Local watersports operators are struggling to survive the competition that pits them against foreign-owned companies armed with not only stronger financial power, but also better human resources and technology, a senior operator revealed.
“Up to 90 percent of the watersports businesses on the island are owned or controlled by non-Balinese, mostly by foreign investors,” the Indonesian Marine Tourism Association (Gahawisri) Bali chapter chairman, Yos WK Amerta, said.
He pointed out that in East Nusa Tenggara’s Labuan Bajo and Papua’s Raja Ampat only one local operator survived the fierce competition. Lombok and Manado had two local operators each. In Bali, the situation was slightly better with dozens of local watersports businesses still surviving the competition, although their market share was continuously decreasing.
“Out of dozens of local businessmen who pioneered watersports in Bali decades ago, only five are still involved in this sector.”
Yos is one of the pioneers of watersports in Bali, having immersed himself in the business for more than 20 years. He offered his thoughts on the development of the island’s watersports and the domination of foreign investors without any trace of bitterness or resentment.
In fact, he admitted that the local operators had yet to be able to manage all the potential the island had to offer.
“The island offers a huge opportunity in watersports business, but local operators have yet to acquire all the necessary elements to manage that opportunity in the most effective way.”