The Balinese seem to be coping with the tourist invasion as well as they have coped with others, that is they are taking what they want, but they are not allowing themselves to be any the less Balinese. This appears to have been the story throughout Bali's history, outside cultures came, perhaps as conquerors, perhaps only as visitors and traders, but Balinese society and culture have remained distinctive, accepting outward forms, but molding them to its own different purposes." (Pickard, 1996)
These insights are showing how the changes in tourism are having an effect on Bali by developing the industry. However, for most local residents, they are maintaining their basic cultural traditions. This is despite the fact that there are added pressures to continually adopt these practices (in spite of the transformations). (Pickard, 1996)
However, many local officials feel that an influx of tourism is having an adverse impact on Bali. This is because they are spending less money in the local economy than previously. At the same time, they are overtaxing local resources. Over the course of time, this has resulted in many people feeling frustrated from these changes. (Karazija, 2012)
A recent example of this can be seen with Bali's Tourism Minister. He is criticizing the increase in tourists with him saying, "Stingy tourists are overcrowding Bali. When they come, we have serious problems of traffic and waste. The island becomes dirty, falling headlong into the time-honored local practice of blaming everyone else except yourself. It's a little shocking to see officials -- whose job it is to attract tourists -- turn on their target market and accuse them of not being good little visitors by staying longer and spending more. It's more than a little disconcerting to see a high-profile public official actually exhibit the same cargo-cult mentality that pervades many less sophisticated villagers here. In effect, he is saying: You have it. We want it. Give it to us. If you don't, you are a stingy bule." (Karazija, 2012)
This is illustrating how many local residents like the positive impact that tourism is having on the economy. However, the problem is that they are over taxing natural resources and creating congestion. This is resulting in mixed attitudes among local residents about these challenges and their lasting effects on everyone. (Karazija, 2012)
Suggestions based on the problems / impacts that tourism had on Bali
To deal with negative effects of tourism on Bali requires carefully managing growth in contrast with the total number of natural resources that are being utilized. What is happening is; government officials have allowed the industry to have unrestricted growth in the past. This has resulted in many large hotels overbuilding in critical areas. The net effects are that Bali is realizing added pressures on its natural resources and infrastructure. (Botetar, 2012) (Hitchcock, 2009)
One possible solution is to place restrictions on the size of these resorts and the total number of visitors that are allowed to go to the region. This will lead to a decline in the amount of tourists. However, the supply has outstripped the demand and there are now challenges impacting the availability of natural resources in these areas. (Botetar, 2012) (Hitchcock, 2009)
Commenting about these changes is Wayan Suardan. He is a local environmentalist who says, "Building more conference facilities makes no sense when the island already has enough. The amount of water being consumes is staggering, at about 669,000 liters a day; that's equivalent to the needs of approximately 4,500 residents in south Kuta. The island is already struggling to meet current demand. Symptoms of the water crisis are now seen more often with a lot of areas experiencing drought. The site for a new project has been used to grow crops like rice, taro and corn so if it goes ahead, farmers will be shoved off the land and lose their income. The impact on farmers is quite large considering they could no longer farm nor have they been provided with other land to farm or any other alternative after eviction." (Botetar, 2012)
This is illustrating how Bali is facing unique challenges in managing the growth of the tourism industry and maintaining the needs of the local economy. These challenges are resulting in a large increase in the number of visitors. This will adversely impact the economy and the demand for natural resources. When this happens, there will be a major transformation in how the people are seeing the importance of the industry and its impact on the future. (Botetar, 2012) (Hitchcock, 2009)
As a result, the best approach is for the government to place limits on the total amounts of building that are occurring. This is because these activities will create long-term challenges for the economy and ecology of the region. When this happens, there will be negative effects upon everyone. If limits were placed upon these projects, there will be greater amounts of control of the natural resources and how they are managed. (Smith, 2006) (Botetar, 2012) (Hitchcock, 2009)
At the same time, this kind of strategy will yield positive results. This is occurring based upon the fact that these limits will more effectively control access to natural resources and how they are utilized. One possible approach to achieve these objectives is to allow select amounts of building. The way that this can be achieved each hotel must demonstrate how they are helping to reduce their environmental impact. This is accomplished by having each location submit an environmental and economic feasibility study. It is demonstrating how these activities are designed to reduce the impact on natural resources and the local economy (such as the displacement of farmers). (Smith, 2006) (Botetar, 2012) (Hitchcock, 2009)
To enhance these practices, the government can impose regulations that will require everyone to show how they are reducing the negative effects of tourism on the local economy. If this were to occur, there will be responsible polices in place that will limit the impact of these negative effects on different stakeholders. This will allow Bali to continue to offer sustainable environmental and economic practices without adversely affecting the environment. (Smith, 2006) (Botetar, 2012) (Hitchcock, 2009)
Clearly, tourism is having a major impact on Bali. This is occurring with the industry accounting for large amounts of job creation and it is helping to spur economic development. However, the problem is that growth has been unrestricted. This is creating a situation where the natural resources are becoming strained and many local farmers are suffering from these activities.
As a result, the government should take an approach that will require the industry to adopt practices that are ecologically friendly. Moreover, they should limit any kind of new constructions projects. This means that everyone must demonstrate how their activities will have a limited impact on the environment and local industries.
If this can occur, there is a high probability that there will be a major transformation in how this product is promoted and the way natural resources are managed. This is the key for Bali to realize an increase in their tourist product. While at the same time, it is ensuring that everyone is following the most responsible practices. This is when the various challenges can be addressed utilizing a responsible approach which is taking into account the views of a variety of stakeholders.
Bali Weather and Climate. (2011). Indonesia Point. Retrieved from: http://www.indonesiapoint.com/tourist-attractions/bali/bali-weather.html
Botetar, R. (2012). The Beauty of Bali is under Pressure. ABC News. Retrieved from:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-05/over-development-of-bali-feature/3760496
Fiegenbaum, E. (2012). The Impact of Tourism in Bali. E How. Retrieved from: http://www.ehow.com/list_7195825_impact-tourism-bali.html
Hitchcock, M. (2009). Tourism in Southeast Asia. Copenhagen: NAIS.