Tomorrow Will Be Better
Bali forced to confront its economic dependence on tourism
As the pandemic has curtailed tourism in Bali, the island's ecosystem has had the chance to regenerate. But can a region so dependent on holiday makers survive without the travel industry?
For almost a year, Indonesian tourism has come to a halt as a result of coronavirus restrictions. This has been a shock to the Balinese system: around 80 per cent of Bali's economy is generated by tourism. 'Tourism started to explode. There were more people coming from outside than the people living here', explains one Bali resident. Since the pandemic began, the number of visitors has dropped to zero. 'Nobody makes [a living] on the beach', says Marcello, a life guard. 'People who sell massages, or merchandise on the beach... I heard they all [went] back home to their village. It's a very sad situation.' Yet tourism in Bali has contributed to congestion, pollution, and rubbish on beaches. Could the drop in travel pave the way for a new approach? 'We hope that when the tourists come back, they are coming with a good energy, they are not littering, with more respect for the local rules', says Marcello. All in all, residents hope for a more balanced approach to tourism: 'We learnt that in the future we should not glorify only one sector of work. If things return to normal, we must be able to balance tourism with the natural way of life here', explains Wayan.FULL SYNOPSIS