Bali Daily, 20 July 2012, by Wasti Atmodjo  on 2012-07-20

Ida Bagus Kompyang and his wife A.A. Mirah Astuti are portrayed as a couple of exemplary figures in the history of Bali’s tourism in a new book entitled Pasangan Pionir Pariwisata Bali (The Pioneering Couple of Balinese Tourism).

Adrian Vickers (right), Michel Picard (middle), and Kunang Helmi at the book launch.

Beautifully written by I Nyoman Darma Putra, a professor at the University of Udayana, the 441-page biography of Kompyang and Astuti reveals their long journey in building the island’s tourism, which they began in the 1950s—long before Bali opened up to mass tourism.

On Friday at the office of the Bali Tourism Agency in Renon, a number of panelists reviewed the book from diverse perspectives and points of view. Kompyang is described as a pioneer of local tourism when he opened a small and historic hotel, Segara Village, in Sanur in 1956, a few years before Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president opened the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel.

Author Darma Putra writes that Kompyang and Astuti were not only involved in tourism.

“They are multi-talented and dedicated couple. Kompyang has been active in the Indonesian Tourism Board,” the author writes.

His wife Astuti has been an avid art lover and devotee. She led a number of Indonesian arts missions to several overseas countries.

Astuti is also a member of the Association of Female Tourism Executives (IWATA) and even a member of the Indonesian Veterans Association.

I Made Raka Santeri, a respected scholar and a member of the panelists, revealed Kompyang’s achievements both in business and spiritual life.

“Pak Kompyang is the perfect role model –in the fields of business and religious life. He has always been a man full of wisdom and knowledge,” Santeri said.

Kompyang has left his business activities to pursue his priestly life.

A.A. Gede Rai and A.A. Suryawan Wiranata said that Kompyang is an admirable figure who everybody in Bali should look up to.

“He continues to encourage Balinese people to open their own businesses—in relation to tourism,” Rai said. His vision is to explore the island’s huge potential as a spiritual tourist destination.

IB Tjethana Putra, a successful businessman and owner of Santrian Hotel Group, said Kompyang was a visionary businessman, community and religious leader. A critical figure, Kompyang has always come up with clear and brilliant concepts for tourism development for Bali.

“He keeps warning the government to strictly control massive development of hotels and tourist facilities, which will ruin the island’s ecosystem.” For more than 60 years, Kompyang has operated the green and spacious Segara Village in Sanur as the oldest hotel in the resort area.