Starting after the war of independence ended, the Balinese people began to rise and play a role in developing various fields including tourism, agriculture, and education. Development was based on the indigenous culture of the community so that the characteristics of Bali with its rich cultural heritage remained sustainable.
Since 1950 Bali has become a national tourist destination, but the trip to Bali was expensive in the 50’s and only the upper class could afford to travel to Bali. Visitors were often amazed by the strength of the Balinese people, in particular the value and importance they place on their traditions and preserving their arts.
Ida Bagus Kompiang and his wife AA Mirah Astuti Kompiang are the Tourism Pioneer Couple in Bali.
Back then, there was only one hotel on the island which was located in Denpasar. Kompiang thought that Denpasar was way too far for tourists who wanted to enjoy the beauty of the beach during their vacation. This thought prompted the couple, who were textile entrepreneurs, to start a business that no Balinese could imagine before- opening a hotel on Sanur beach in 1956. At this time, the coast of Sanur was only palm trees and shrubland, and it was famous or infamous, for being haunted and remote. The hotel once built and opened was later named Segara Beach.
As a fighter during the Dutch and Japanese invasions, Kompiang’s husband has a close relationship with the first president of the Republic of Indonesia, Ir, Soekarno. Diplomatic guests who come to Bali usually stay at the Segara Beach Hotel on the shores of Sanur, which Kompiang’s family manages themselves. Kompiang applies a sustainable concept in running the hotel business, one of which is by organizing an art night program titled “Bali Night”, which is routinely held at Segara Beach Hotel. The hotel offers performances of Balinese art, culture, and traditional Balinese food and flavours.
The tourism pioneer couple also played an active role in the government’s plan to introduce Indonesia to the world. In 1960, Kompiang’s husband was appointed by the government as a promoter of Balinese artistic culture abroad.
In the context of this promotion, Kompiang couple led a safari trip by ship for weeks, together with a troupe of dancers, gamelan musicians, and all the necessary art exhibitions held on board, with the trip including countries such as Japan, Hawaii, Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
The trip was known as the Floating Fairs – with the first fair being held onboard of a ship in 1961. This Floating Fair exhibited Indonesian products and culture and it contained messages from Indonesian officials, program of activities, a special feature on Bali, and advertisements.
Kompiang’s husband was not only a businessman, he was actively involved in various councils and organisations. Born in Singaraja on April 11, 1927 and deceased on December 19, 2014, he also played an active role in organizations. He was the founder of the Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) and not only that, he also took part in serving in the Veterans Legion of the Republic of Indonesia (LVRI).
During his lifetime, Bapak Kompiang was also appointed as honorary consul for several European countries located in the Scandinavian region. These countries include Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden.
The couple received “Karya Karana Wisata” recognition from the Bali Provincial Government in 2003.
They were trailblazers in their industry and certainly helped to put Bali, let alone Sanur, on the map of tourism. Still heavily involved in their business, they take pride in a family business and the legacy they have created for generations to come.