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Bali, Bali Shining Bright, Fading from Our Very Sight

Leading Bali Academic Says Rapid Rise of Tourism is Destroying Islandís Unique Cultural Persona

(1/1/2012) A leading professor at Bali’s Udayana University, Dr. Ir. Dewa Ngurah Suprapta, blames the rapid rise of tourism in Bali, particularly that which has occurred since the 1990s, as causing a dilution of Bali’s traditional cultural-tourism image.

“Many foreign cultures and foreign cultural products have displaced Bali’s unique culture,” explained Suprapta in on December 31, 2011.

Suprapta describe the tourism business as an industry that places service and treating the tourist visitor like a king at center stage.

“Café businesses, karaoke joints, discos and various other forms of entertainment that formerly did not exist in Bali are now very commonplace, while traditional Balinese warungs are becoming rarer,” said Suprapta.

He emphasized that if the current situation was allowed to continue unabated, Bali will eventually lose its unique character and, in turn, its ability to attract tourist visitors.

“If Bali is no longer is attractive to visitors, the island will be abandoned by the same tourists who today represent the mainstay of hope for the Balinese people and tourism will no longer be able support the local Balinese economy ,” he explained.

Suprapta also sees a condition in which the farmers in Bali are economically poorer than their counterparts in other parts of Indonesia. He says that many parties in Bali are forgetting to calculate the negative impact of tourism on Bali’s agricultural sector.

The arrival of large number of tourists in numbers that exceed the population of Bali will make the price of many basic commodities in life increase sharply.

Suprapta warned that farmers, who are already living a hand-to-mouth existence, would be compelled to compete with tourist visitors and those employed in the tourism sector to try to buy daily necessities. The farmers, with little buying power, will be the net losers in such a scenario.