Eruptive Mount Agung creates opportunities for the Balinese

by Jonathan Tjoa Algreen – CEO in PT. One People Indonesia and 1 People Group. Global entrepreneur and investor.

A situation with many consequences

The last few months Mount Agung has created a new situation in Bali because of its eruption and high risk situation. This has influenced tourism to a degree that has not only had devastating consequences for the refugees on Mount Agung but also for the Balinese in general because of the economic breakdown. The situation pushes people to take drastic choices like calling for a Social Media ban or calling for a decrease in free speech. This has been a surprise for many, because it conflicts with peoples freedom values or western ideals of democracy.


Tourism alone is risky business

However this has been part of daily life the last few months and we are obligated to look at the situation from another perspective. It is not the first time Bali has been hit on its tourism which is the main income in Bali both directly and indirectly. And it would be naïve to think that it will be the last time something may occur in Bali which will somehow or someway influence tourism negatively and therefore the economy. The fact is that tourism is a fragile utility and therefore very dangerous to build most of the economy upon.

Today most jobs are created within the sector of tourism which is also the reason why the main focus, educationally, has been, and still is, within hospitality. This has been a rational choice and logical development due to the huge   tourist inflow during the last twenty years. The back side of this kind of “educationally regimentation” is very risky and therefore potentially dangerous.


A new perspective gives new opportunities

It is given that new opportunities do not occur if we do not look in another direction and have the willingness to think out of the box. As Einstein taught us “we can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”. To my best knowledge this statement is very true and we can use it constructively in our perception and therefore in our creative process of looking for new opportunities.


A huge creativity potential within the Balinese

One of the first experiences outsiders visiting Bali gets is the creativity within the Balinese expressed in several ways through art, music, construction, design, graphic etc. It is also within these fields Bali has a huge potential for spreading the risk of regimentation around job creation and education.

As an global entrepreneur and investor I’m certain that the Balinese have a lot to offer on the global market. And I’m even more certain that a change in focus will attract a bigger range of foreign investments which will contribute to wealth creation but also to a decrease in risk when the economy is primarily driven by a single-minded job focus.

It is therefore needed that the local government begin to widen its focus educationally and setup positive drivers for people to choose other education than hospitality. This is of course a long process but it is possible to steer it in a direction that will widen job creation.

This change in focus could easily be supported by an overall campaign for certain education which is in line with a new governmental and educational strategy combined with both national and global demand.