In a developing country like Indonesia, one might think a booming tourist trade on one of its prettiest islands could only be good. There are certainly some benefits. But mass tourism on Bali also creates some serious problems:
Tourism on Bali has largely been planned by the Indonesian government (far away in Jakarta) and by foreigners. Few Balinese have been involved in the planning and management of most tourism in Bali. Instead, they have become the tourist attraction! But a tiger in a zoo doesn’t make much money from its visitors, and neither do most Balinese. Most profits from mass tourism on Bali go to wealthy entrepreneurs and corporations outside Bali, while the Balinese suffer the negative environmental and social impacts.
All islands are fragile. Limited land means limited fresh water (among other resources) and tricky problems with waste disposal. Demands for swimming pools and golf courses, beachfront resorts and air-conditioning put a huge strain on Bali’s ecosystem. Did you know that an average 500-room hotel uses as much water as could be used to irrigate 33 hectares of rice paddy? And on average each of these rooms produces ten times the waste of an average family home in Bali? Yet slowly the rice paddies in south Bali are giving way to more such hotel rooms, villas and tourist shops.
Balinese culture often loses its meaning. The sacredness of many rituals and dances are abused for the consumption of tourists. Religious festivals such as Ngaben, are made more ostentatious especially to impress outsiders. Buildings created for tourists often completely ignore the Balinese philosophies that dictate traditional architecture and planning. Balinese who work in the tourism industry often prioritise their duties in the tourist world to the detriment of their traditional and social obligations in their communities. Now the lives of some Balinese are completely lost in the tourist nightlife of alcohol, illicit drugs and various shades of prostitution.
Our trips connect you with locals who are excited to share Bali as they know and love it. Your trip helps local economies and gives back to environmental and historical preservation programs. The result is a unique chance for travelers like you to experience village life, see what Bali is all about, and leave a lasting impact.
Venture into mixed-crop coffee gardens with local farmers and watch the organic coffee making process unfold. Coffee almost runs in the veins of the people here and you will gain in-depth insight into the work involved in filling your coffee cup and behind the scenes issues of staying afloat in the coffee business.
An internet-based resource about nature and the natural areas of Asia . Has a good resource centre for both ecotourism operators and for travellers, including an ecotourism directory. Wildasia has supported JED with seed funding. Learn More
A guidebook of Bali destinations, accommodations and activities based on the Natural Guide principles of: traveller-friendly, nature-friendly, community-friendly. Also has good background on social and eco-issues in Bali.