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Warning for Bali  

by on Thursday, 10 April 2008No Comment | 878 views

Since the dawn of tourism in Bali, many researchers, writers, tourists, and others people have showed a great concern on the negative effects of tourism to the environment, culture and people of Bali. Here are some examples of the warnings from them on the threats that tourism brings to the island of Bali:

“How much more tourism can the island take? How much more traffic? How much more craft shops? How many more Kutas? How many more jets? The answer is that it never stops, the road are widened, the hotels multiply, the direct flight increase. Commercialism has crept into every aspect of Balinese life… It is now clear that the unbelievably complex social and religious fabric of the Balinese is at last breaking down under the tourist onslaught (Dalton 1990: 35-36)

“Say Bali, and two things come in mind: tourism and paradise. Both are inalienable features of the island, and also incompatible. For as fast as paradises seduce tourists, tourists reduce the paradises… Hardly has a last paradise been discovered than everyone converges on it so fast that it quickly becomes a paradise lost”. (Iyer 1988: 88)

These warning are not without a base; A.S. Travis in his book “Managing the Environmental and Cultural Impacts of Tourism and Leisure Development” states that

“Tourism can destroy tourism. Tourism as a user of resources, can be a resource destroyer, and through destroying the resources, which give rise to it, make the resource based tourism short-lived. Impacts, benefits, and costs should therefore be evaluated in advance of tourism development”. (Travis 1982: 257)

Warnings have been given, but there are some people who realize the resilience of Bali in facing the “onslaught” of tourism

“Has the tidal wave of tourism sweeping over the East Indies washed away the idyllic culture that enchanted the visitors? With its hamburger joints, discotheques, and Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets, has Bali succumbed to the gritty homogenization of modern world? The short –and definite- answer is: By no means! Beset by invaders for millenniums, the Balinese are responding to the latest incursion, as they have past to past the incursions, by becoming even more like themselves. The fabric of Balinese society is too strong and too flexible to be rent by easy money”. (Elegant: 1987:7)

Though Bali has a remarkable resilience in facing the negative effect of tourism but it is obvious that tourism has changed Bali and Balinese. Time will tell how long Bali can survive.

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