Ultimate Island

Tropical climate -- 30C+ in the dead of December. Beautiful beaches of smooth sands lending themselves to gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Active volcanoes and fertile soils. Lush forests populating the rolling hills and rivers. They say Bali is the "ultimate island", and it really is.

My first trip ever south of the equator, and I have to say that it's a lovely little paradise, and cost of living isn't too high (for locals).

But much as Bali is a fantastic vacation destination, it's seriously lacking something: its own sustaining economy. This Indonesian island relies almost competely upon tourism -- selling admissions, trinkets and arts & crafts, hotel services, and related driver services and touristy needs. To me, it's a real shame, because I can see that over the next few decades, Bali's rich Hindu traditions and culture will probably be preserved only to the extent that money can be made from it (via tourists).

I think it's terrible for a locale to not have an ability to maintain its own lifestyle without an external influx of money to keep it going. They will always be subject to the "culture" and whims of vacationing tourists, and must in most ways cater to it. How can they keep their identity and traditions strong without letting it steep in the stench of holiday dollars?

No comments: