Bali Is Developing A New Tourist Area - Turtle Island

The Island of Happiness, the Island of the Future, Turtle Island – these are just some of the names local media use to refer to the special economic zone Kura Kura Bali. The Balinese have high hopes for this area. According to the plan, by 2052, the island, which is actually called Serangan, will become even more popular than Canggu, Kuta, and Ubud combined. This new tourist district will bring money and jobs to the locals, and new experiences and modern accommodation options to visitors.
For convenience, we will refer to the Kura Kura Bali special economic zone as Turtle Island from here on.
photo: Justina Puspawati

Where is?

You have probably noticed the small green island of Serangan at least once, located in the south of Bali, near the airport. This area, connected to the main island by a single bridge, is the special economic zone.
Its location is highly advantageous for attracting investors. After all, it’s only a 15-minute drive to the airport. And it takes a maximum of 40 minutes to reach major tourist centers like Sanur, Seminyak, Ubud, or Uluwatu. It’s just 500 meters from Benoa Harbor.
However, there is one drawback – the only road from Bali to this island passes through the largest landfill, TPA Suwung. This landfill is already operating at the limits of its capacity, and local authorities dream of closing it. But so far, they haven't been able to do so, simply because there are no alternatives.

What is Turtle Island famous for?

As the name suggests, the island is associated with turtles. It houses a Turtle Conservation and Breeding Center. Whether this place will undergo any changes with the island's transformation is still unknown. However, fishermen and surfers have already had to adjust their routines.
Previously, the area boasted a large and very popular surf spot. In winter, many athletes gathered there. Warungs and camps operated in the vicinity. But due to the extensive reconstruction project, access to the beaches has been closed and the structures have been demolished.
The developers have made a concession by allowing local fishermen to swim around the island, but even this has proved inconvenient for the Balinese. Consequently, the reconstruction project, especially in its initial stages, has been mainly associated with dissatisfaction and protests from locals and expats.

The concept of transforming the area

Leading international designers have already worked on Turtle Island, creating an ergonomic, well-thought-out infrastructure. World-renowned architects and consultants are collaborating to develop a green master plan in harmony with the island's traditions and ecology.
All this is aimed at attracting investors and project developers to this area. The idea is for this special economic zone to become a hub for talented innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world. They will test new technologies to reduce energy consumption, save water, minimize waste, and lower carbon dioxide emissions.
From research to training and product development, developers aim to create an ecosystem that enables startups and established brands to evolve their technologies.

What will be on the island?

The plans include the construction of yacht marinas integrated with resorts, hotels, and multifunctional commercial resort complexes, as well as a wellness center and an educational and technological park. Investors have already committed to establishing a cultural park, a luxurious shopping center, an exclusive higher education institution, and an intercultural school.
A unique and promising project is the Knowledge Park of Innovations and Technologies. It will serve as a new regional hub for technology-oriented companies, accommodating laboratories and educational centers of any size.
As for the yacht marina, it will meet international standards. This means that yachts that currently only dock in Singapore, Thailand, or Darwin will be able to visit. The island's master plan also includes the creation of a bird sanctuary.

What is already prepared?

Part of the infrastructure necessary for businesses entering this area has already been built. This was accomplished during the pandemic when Bali was closed. During this time, they managed to:
- Lay 8 km of roads
- Create pedestrian and bike paths
- Install water storage tanks with a capacity of 1 million liters
- Lay 2 km of water channels
- Provide internet on the island with 5G support
The developers' main pride is that all cables and pipes were laid underground. No more wires in the air.
Thanks to greening efforts on Turtle Island, 160 bird species have already been spotted. 69 of them are migratory, now making a stop there. The 35 hectares of mangrove forests and the coastal reserve of Kura Kura Bali are crucial resting and feeding grounds for endemic and migratory birds.
photo: donny dic wijaya

What does “special economic zone” mean?

SEZ stands for Special Economic Zone, which is a territory with a special legal status compared to the rest of the country. This is mainly manifested in favorable tax or customs conditions for entrepreneurs. Such a status is often granted to territories in which the government has an interest in development.
Therefore, for example, according to, among the incentives for investors on the Turtle Island will be:
- Tax holidays,
- Exemption from value-added tax (VAT) for 10 years for projects with a value ranging from 100 billion to 500 billion rupiahs,
- Exclusion from luxury goods tax (PPnBM),
- Exemption from import duties.
Entrepreneurs will also expect relaxation of labor legislation, immigration rules, assistance in obtaining licenses and permits. All of this is intended to stimulate investment in the development of the island.
According to calculations by, the Turtle Island will attract investments worth 104.4 trillion rupiahs. This will create about 100,000 new jobs. And when the SEZ is fully operational in 2052, it will contribute $31.8 billion USD in foreign currency to Indonesia's economy.

What other SEZs are there?

Before this, another SEZ was already created, Sanur SEZ. Its main objective is to become a hub for medical tourism in Bali. This will be achieved through the establishment of a world-class medical campus. The focal point will be a large multifunctional international hospital, which is being constructed in collaboration with the prestigious American clinic, Mayo.
Thanks to this project, on one hand, top-notch medical specialists will have the opportunity to work in Bali under special visas. On the other hand, the island will have the capability to provide high-tech assistance for critical conditions in cardiology, oncology, and neurology. Artificial intelligence and robots will assist doctors in their work.
According to the Minister of Industry of Indonesia, Airlangga Hartanto, in the Special Economic Zones, 30.9 trillion rupiahs of new investments have already been attracted, which accounts for 27% of the total volume of cumulative investments. Additionally, 27,526 new jobs have been created.
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