Tourism and the Community : Bali’s Boom

Bali would easily sit in the top 5 destinations for Australian’s and New Zealander’s alike. Only a relatively short flight away, and the low cost of accommodation and leisure, it’s affordable enough for even the most budget conscious traveller. Offering five star luxury and a raw yet beautiful culture to discover, there aren’t too many people who could turn down the beauty of Indonesia.

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Arriving at Nusa Lembongan Island

Tourism is an important part of the economy of many countries, and it is particularly important for island communities like Bali. Not only does tourism bring in revenue in the forms of food, accommodation, and purchases made by tourists, but it also helps to boost employment in local areas, with high demand leading to an expanding infrastructure and wider celebration of the Balinese culture.

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Standing among endless rice fields in Ubud

 

CULTURE

As is the case all over the world, many visitors relish in the opportunity to be able to really immerse themselves in new cultures. To use an example, the ‘Mepantigan’ performances are one art form that has taken root in Bali over the years, and has become incredibly popular among tourists. The rough translation of Mepantigan is ‘throw to the ground’ but it is as much a performance art as it is martial arts. Putu Wisten, a Balinese local practiced in martial arts, wanted to cement a new attraction, with a desire to teach “people about the earth and Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice who is so important to Balinese people.” Activities such as these allow the Balinese to celebrate their culture while generating earnings to keep!

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The Balinese are some of the friendliest people I’ve come across in my travels!

 

COMMUNITY

Many people develop such a strong bond with both the people of Bali and the beautiful regions, that they move there to create a permanent home for themselves and their families. These expats not only then contribute to the community by way of day-to-day living, there are some that further extend their generosity through charity contributions, fundraisers and projects. A shining example of this is Christina Iskander, an expatriate whose philanthropic work has helped many children in Bali, with a large focus on those with disability or special needs. You can read more about Christina’s ventures and the amazing work she does here.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE

Along with the tourist boom has also come a construction boom. In part, it’s proved difficult, as not all of these works are closely monitored (with regards to worker safety) and it would be a sad thing to see the Bali we know and love one day disappear. But on the most part, this progress has been valuable to Bali’s infrastructure. Alongside this, there is also a large force working towards sustaining a ‘greener’ Bali. Naturally sourced power, locally grown produce and the preservation of land should see Bali retain its charm and beauty into the future for tourists and locals alike to enjoy (Find more information on this here).

Tourism has been an invaluable way of introducing the beautiful people of Bali to the rest of the world. Bali is an unforgettable place, with friendly locals, superb surf, wonderful culture and so much more! Tourism should see that this gorgeous island prospers well into the future, and I personally hope that many future generations get to experience what a divine place it is.

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Women wait to carry supplies from boats that dock on shore

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We watched on as kids laughed and played in this courtyard, using branches in place of toys

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The women can carry impressive amounts on their heads

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Our mode of transport to and from the boat on Nusa Lembongan island

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Women unload roof thatching from a traditional Balinese boat (‘Jukung’)

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Little hand-crafted souvenirs along the beach front.