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Land Rights and Preserving Bali's Culture

Seminar Discusses the Effect of Tourism on Land Holdings and Preserving Bali's Unique Heritage.

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A seminar on "Bali's Tourism Development From the Perspective of Traditional Villages and Preserving the Island's Cultural Landscape" was held by the Law Faculty of the Dwijendra University in Ubud on Saturday, April 17, 2004.

That seminar focused on the willingness of many Balinese to disenfranchise their hereditary property rights and the future implications that trend will have on Bali's cultural character.

The meeting, attended by a number of traditional village leaders, saw the Village Chief of Kesiman, Drs. I Made Karim, call for the imposition of local village laws based on the recognized autonomy of traditional villages that will forbid the wholesale transfer of land to non-Balinese owners. He also underlined his disagreement with the government when they permit the development of hotel projects that consume large tracts of land in Bali, pointing out that Bali's unique world culture is founded on the local commitment to the principles of Tri Hita Krana, namely: the maintenance of harmonious connections of man with God; man with his fellow man; and man with nature.

The University's Dean, I Made Winaya, S.H., accompanied by a senior lecturer, I Nyoman Anrana, S.H., re-echoed Drs. Karim's comments suggesting traditional village law can be used as a tool of social control to preserve local cultural norms and values.

The seminar attended by 125 participants suggested that the success of tourism development efforts must be measured not only in economic terms but also in terms of its ability to improve the living conditions of the local population and preserve traditional Bali-Hindu values.

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