‘Stop Deifying Tourists’: Bali Urged To Make Big Change

Lifeblood or locusts?

‘Stop Deifying Tourists’: Bali Urged To Make Big Change

Image Credit: Wandernesia.com

From floating breakfasts in Nusa Dua to Crossfit centres in Canggu, many tourists in Bali certainly worship themselves.

But do Indonesian authorities need to wade into the pool and throw the coffee off a cliff?

We’ll let you answer that one yourself…

Speaking of radical proposals, though, Nyoman Sukma Arida, a Tourism Faculty lecturer at a university in Denpasar, thinks it’s time Bali stopped prioritizing international tourists over domestic ones.

According to local media outlet Coconuts, Sukma said during a virtual discussion that Bali should stop treating foreigners like gods.

“It’s time Bali stopped deifying foreign tourists, in the future after the pandemic it will be difficult to attract tourists because tourism competition will be even tighter between countries,” Sukma reportedly said.

Sukma said Bali must pivot.

“We’ve observed how Bali differentiates treatment between foreign and domestic tourists. But this doesn’t happen in other regions like Yogyakarta and Malang, where both tourists are treated equally,” Sukma said.

“Before the pandemic, Bali leaned towards mass tourism, but in the future this will change. Bali must adjust.”

Coconuts reports the COVID-19 pandemic is changing people’s travel patterns, writing: “staycations [have been] rising in popularity in the past year.”

Sukma allegedly reckons Bali should tap into this, in order to support local tourism, developing tourism villages and the like, as he thinks people will move away from choosing such crowded destinations.

Bali is arguably Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination. The island saw a total of almost 6.3 million direct foreign tourist arrivals in 2019.

Australian and Chinese tourists made up more than half of that total, according to Statistica.

Indonesian tourists, however, still make up the vast majority of visitors to Bali.

According to Coconuts, over 10.5 million Indonesian tourists visited Bali in 2019, while about 4.5 million travelled to the province in 2020 (international arrivals were likewise slashed to around 1 million in 2020 thanks to the pandemic).

RELATED: I Went To Bali’s Most Instagram-Famous Oasis & It Was A Complete Disaster

Tourism is both an opportunity and a challenge being wrangled by authorities all around the world, and there is no easy solution. Perhaps the pandemic will shake things up enough for a few positive initiatives to take hold though.

Given what some foreign tourists have been up to lately in Bali, with the most notable being a Russian expat who was deported for riding a motorbike into the sea, and a pair of pranksters who painted masks on then entered a supermarket in breach of COVID-19 rules, perhaps it’s not surprising there is a sense of ‘enough is enough’ in some parts of the community.

Still reading? Watch what happens when influencers come face to face with a monkey in the video below…

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