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Negative Impacts of Tourism in Bali: A Comprehensive Guide

In this article, we explore the negative impacts of tourism in Bali, such as environmental issues and effects on equality, as well as touching on some of the positive consequences of tourism.

By Victoria Heinz, of www.guideyourtravel.com All images courtesy of Victoria Heinz

Have you ever dreamed of visiting the beautiful beaches and temples of Bali? This Balinese paradise is a popular tourist destination for many travellers, however it’s important to be aware that tourism may have its drawbacks.

In this article we will examine some of the negative impacts that travel in Bali can have on both the people and environment. From increased infrastructure problems to waste management issues – it pays to do your research before planning a trip, especially if you’re planning to visit popular areas like Uluwatu or Canggu. So read on to find out more about these potential pitfalls and how you can make conscious choices while enjoying Bali!

As any traveller to Indonesia is aware, the country is brimming with lush nature and unique wildlife. It’s a paradise for anyone looking to explore or escape in its natural beauty. However, beneath the surface lies an environmental crisis facing Indonesia today that demands action from both local and international travellers alike.

Table of Contents

Overview of Indonesia’s Current Environmental Situation

Indonesia is currently facing a significant environmental challenge. The rapid expansion of industries such as mining, agriculture, and forestry has resulted in deforestation, soil degradation, and air pollution. Additionally, the country’s coastline and marine life have been heavily impacted by plastic waste pollution.

The government has made some strides in addressing these issues by implementing policies and programs aimed at conserving the environment, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable agriculture . However, much more needs to be done to protect Indonesia’s vast natural resources for future generations .

Tourism in Bali

The Most Pressing Environmental Issue in Indonesia – Deforestation and Land Conversion

Indonesia is facing a critical environmental issue that requires immediate attention – deforestation and land conversion. As one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Indonesia’s forests are home to countless species of flora and fauna. However, rampant deforestation for agriculture, logging, and mining activities is causing irreversible damage to these precious ecosystems.

This not only affects the environment but also the livelihoods of local communities and indigenous peoples who rely on these forests for survival. The scale of deforestation in Indonesia is staggering, making it an urgent concern that must be addressed to ensure the sustainability of the country’s natural resources and the well-being of its people.

Tourism in Bali

What are the Negative Impacts of Tourism in Bali?

  • Overcrowding Issues

As our world becomes more connected and travel becomes easier, more people are flocking to popular tourist destinations. Unfortunately, this influx of visitors has led to a host of overcrowding issues.

Certain areas simply aren’t equipped to handle the sheer volume of people, leading to increased pollution, traffic congestion, and unsustainable practices. It’s heartbreaking to see natural wonders like the beaches in Uluwatu and national parks in northern Bali overrun with tourists, leaving trails of litter and damage in their wake.

The challenge now is finding ways to balance the economic benefits of tourism with the need to preserve these destinations for future generations to enjoy. Can we encourage sustainable tourism practices and limit the number of visitors to these sensitive areas? It’s a difficult question to answer, but it’s one that we must grapple with if we hope to protect these precious resources.

Tourism in Bali

  • Environmental Damage

As more and more people travel to exotic destinations, the impact on local ecosystems cannot be underestimated. While tourism can provide much-needed economic stimulus to an area, it can also lead to environmental damage if visitors are not conscientious.

Sun tanning on coral reefs can actually bleach and kill these delicate structures, while littering can overwhelm local sanitation systems and pollute waterways. This is especially a problem in southern Bali and neighbouring islands like Flores . It is important for tourists to understand the impact of their actions on the environment and to take steps to minimise their footprint while still enjoying all the beauty and wonder that our planet has to offer.

Tourism in Bali

  • Loss of Traditional Cultural Practices

Balinese culture has always been a source of pride and identity for its people. However, with the rise of tourism in recent years, the influx of foreign visitors has brought significant changes to traditional cultural practices.

While tourism has brought economic benefits to the Balinese people, it has also resulted in some traditional practices becoming lost or forgotten. Sadly, many younger Balinese generations do not have the same appreciation or understanding of their cultural heritage as their elders do.

It’s important for us to remember that preserving these customs and traditions is vital in maintaining the unique identity of the Balinese people. The loss of these practices can result in the homogenization of cultures worldwide, which would be a great shame.

  • Increase in Prices

As the economy grows, so does the demand for goods and services. However, this surge in demand has also brought with it a rise in prices. Unfortunately, this means that many locals may find it increasingly difficult to afford necessities such as housing, food, and healthcare.

While it’s great to see our economy thriving, it’s important to ensure that no one is left behind. We must work together to find solutions that allow everyone in our community to access the goods and services they need to lead happy and healthy lives.

Tourism in Bali

  • Economic Inequality

Economic inequality has become a growing concern in many places around the world, especially in areas like Bali where wealthy tourists flock for their vacations. The trend of these travellers outbidding local residents for available housing and properties has been on the rise, leading to an ever-widening gap between the two groups.

This inequality can have devastating consequences, such as pushing out long-time residents and making it nearly impossible for them to find affordable housing. As a result, locals are left at a significant disadvantage compared to those who have more financial resources.

  • Negative Impact on Local Economy

Tourism has undoubtedly provided financial benefits to Bali, but the extent of these gains is debatable. Unfortunately, much of the wealth generated is not finding its way into the hands of local businesses and individuals, which is concerning.

Instead, multinational companies appear to be reaping most of the rewards. This has created a negative impact on the local economy, as Bali is becoming increasingly reliant on outside businesses for revenue.

As a result, the Balinese are struggling to keep their businesses afloat, which can have significant consequences for the island’s overall economic stability. It is vital that Bali’s tourism industry takes a more balanced approach to ensure that both local businesses and multinational corporations benefit from the tourism boom.

Tourism in Bali

What are Three Positive Consequences of Tourism in Bali?

The effects of tourism aren’t all bad and it’s important to recognise the positive impacts as well as the negative ones.

  • Boosting Economic Growth

Bali has been experiencing a significant economic growth boost thanks to the surge in tourism. The influx of visitors has brought in tremendous revenue to the local economy, allowing the region to invest heavily in various infrastructure projects.

The island now boasts modern facilities, high-end accommodations, and top-notch dining options, attracting even more tourists to this vibrant location. With the expansion of new attractions, Bali’s economy shows no signs of slowing down, and the local market continues to thrive. There is no denying that tourism has become a crucial driver of economic growth in Bali, bringing with it endless opportunities for progress and development.

Tourism in Bali

  • Creating Job Opportunities

Not only does tourism in Bali provide people with a chance to explore new places and cultures, but it also generates job opportunities for locals. The impact of tourism is particularly profound in rural areas where employment options are scarce.

By providing direct jobs such as tour guides, hotel staff, and drivers, as well as indirectly creating jobs through the demand for local products and services, tourism plays a vital role in sustaining local economies.

Tourism in Bali

  • Spreading Cultural Awareness

As tourists flock to new destinations, they bring with them a desire to experience the local culture, to see and understand what makes a place unique. This desire to learn creates opportunities for locals to share their traditions, arts, and crafts with a broader audience, enabling a cultural exchange that benefits everyone involved.

Through tourism, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for the local way of life, while locals are able to showcase the best of their communities and preserve their cultural heritage. It’s a win-win scenario that enhances local culture while creating lasting connections between people from around the world.

Tourism in Bali

About the Author

Victoria is a travel blogger and writer from Germany who now calls Bali her permanent home. She works full-time on her two travel blogs www.guideyourtravel.com  and www.myaustraliatrip.com  and her sites aim to provide helpful and realistic travel advice.

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negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

Research shows high-end tourism in Indonesia fails to empower local people during COVID-19  pandemic

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

MSc Student and Research Assistant, Marine Systems & Policies, The University of Edinburgh

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

Associate Professor in Aquaculture, Universitas Halu Oleo

Disclosure statement

Chloe King received funding for her work from the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program and Indonesia’s AMINEF. She is a current MSc student and research assistant at the University of Edinburgh with PhD status still pending. She also works for Solimar International, a sustainable tourism consulting firm based in Washington, D.C.

Wa Iba terafiliasi dengan Universitas Halu Oleo

The University of Edinburgh provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

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  • Bahasa Indonesia

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the travel and tourism industry globally. Indonesia is no exception.

The tourism industry in the country with the fourth-largest population in the world has slowed down during the pandemic.

Foreign arrivals dropped by 75% from 16.11 million in 2019 to just 4.02 million in 2020 . This was a hard blow to a tourism economy that supplied 5.7% of the country’s gross domestic product and provided 12.6 million jobs in 2019 .

To revive the industry, the Indonesian government has launched a new approach to promote high-end tourism .

High-end tourism is meant to combat the often unsustainable growth in mass tourism. It attracts fewer tourists who spend more on luxury trips than typical mass tourism experiences. In theory, this reduces environmental impacts while increasing economic benefits.

Our latest research in Wakatobi National Park, an area of immense marine biodiversity spread across four main islands in Southeast Sulawesi province, demonstrates the limitations of high-end tourism development.

While it may offer some conservation benefits, its inherently high price tag means it caters to the most privileged sectors of society, while the local political elite accrue the profits.

Tourism development must do more to focus on providing benefits for communities beyond just financial gains. It should support local communities to increase their skills and knowledge to equip them to be resilient to crises and economic shocks.

Unsustainable travel experiences

Our six-month research effort compared high-end, volunteer-based and community-based tourism operating in the marine-rich Wakatobi National Park. The aim was to see which form of tourism development best equipped communities to respond to crises like COVID-19.

Wakatobi National Park is part of a government initiative to develop “high-quality” tourism destinations across the country through its so-called “10 New Balis” program. This effort aims to accelerate tourism development in 10 new destinations beyond the country’s top tourist destination, Bali.

According to interviews with the regional tourism office in Wakatobi, the local government has set a goal of increasing visitor numbers from 20,000 to 100,000 by 2025 by focusing on high-end tourism development.

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

Wakatobi National Park was designated as a national park in 1996 and covers an area of 13,900 square kilometres. The park has two foreign-owned dive operators on the islands of Tomia and Hoga, with local homestay operators proliferating throughout the park.

A high-end dive operator in the national park offered a valuable case study in exemplifying how exclusive and expensive tourism development has left communities less resilient and ill-prepared to face a crisis.

Guests pay between US$300 and US$1,000 per person for a single night stay. The operator is able to use these fees to pay each village around Tomia (17 in total) between Rp 1.25 and 7 million (about US$85-475) each month in exchange for halting destructive fishing practices and avoiding fishing on 30 kilometres of reef, including a no-take zone. Local dive operators cannot take guests on or near the resort’s reef.

While this has significantly protected and improved natural resources and financial capital, local fishers and dive operators alike lost agency and ability to use the reefs.

Additionally, other respondents noted that the payments did not reach the community directly. The Badan Permusyawaratan Desa (BPD), considered the “parliament” of local villages in Indonesia’s new era of regional autonomy, controls the money.

Respondents felt they did not have a say in how the BPD spends the money it receives from the high-end dive operators.

Respondents alleged it benefited the local “political elite” in the BPD as the politicians spend the money based on “their will, not the will of society”.“

"What [the high-end operator] does is right, with their regulations and money, but they have a greater responsibility to society. Society does not need the money, we need the skills. If they just give money, it will only benefit the political elite,” one respondent said.

Due to the exclusive and closed-off nature of the resort, guests rarely interact with the local community. This was frequently cited as a point of frustration.

Intercultural exchange and informal interaction facilitated through home-stay operators help to increase human capital and community skills. With high-end resorts, this interaction is rare.

Furthermore, no local people from the national park had been trained as dive guides during the 25 years the foreign operator was in business. Few respondents were able to identify opportunities for upward mobility and skills training for local staff.

Such tourism development is reminiscent of colonialist structures that pervade Indonesia to this day, through the acquiescence of rural elites to extract profits and control resources, whether through exploitation or today’s modern modes of conservation.

Tourism for all

High-end dive tourism models, where marine reserves are privately financed and enforced, may have led to critical and obvious gains in marine biodiversity and conservation success.

Misool in Raja Ampat, in the most eastern island of Indonesia, is another example of an area that has seen substantial biodiversity benefits . The total biomass of the marine reserve increased by 250% over just six years due to a similar luxury tourism model.

However, for whom are these resources being conserved? What is being made to be resilient, and why? Suppose the answer is to drive future tourism growth, limited to those wealthy enough to provide and access such “high-quality” tourism experiences. In that case, we must return to view the crisis at hand.

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

With tourism at a standstill for more than a year, local communities have been left to face the consequences without opportunities to increase their skills and knowledge, which would have helped ensure their resilience to such a crisis.

Emerging into a post-COVID-19 landscape, where climate change threats loom large in the communities where tourism once boomed, tourism must first and foremost be developed with local communities in mind.

As one respondent said in a focus group discussion: “[People from capital] Jakarta wants to develop only high-end tourism, but I don’t agree. Tourism should be for everyone to come, not just the rich.”

Senior Research Fellow - Curtin Institute for Energy Transition (CIET)

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negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

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The impacts of tourism in bali.

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

I’ve got a love-hate relationship with Bali. On one hand, it’s a beautiful island with amazing scenery, lovely locals and an intriguing Hindu culture. On the other, it’s suffocatingly touristy, can feel very inauthentic and has some real problems that are arguably worsened by mass tourism.

Bali has spectacular sunsets and gorgeous views, but it is arguable that a) you’ll be sharing your experience with thousands of other tourists and b) that the way tourism in Bali is set up inadvertedly negatively impacts people there, even if it is not meant to.

Now, I’m not against tourists in Bali – I was a tourist in Bali, after all. I’m against the way tourism in Bali is executed, which has caused a beautiful island to become a tourist trap. After spending five weeks in Bali, I saw some amazing sights. I climbed up Mount Batur, snorkeled in Nusa Penida and explored the rice fields of Ubud and Canggu.

However, I still felt kind of uncomfortable there. Because a lot of the time, you can’t escape the mass tourism of the island, and as a responsible traveler , it left me thinking about the real impact that I had by being there.

The Positive Impacts of Tourism in Bali

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

Tourism has brought a lot more jobs to the island, many of which are paid better than other opportunities. Balinese employment is now varied, with some people opting to own guesthouses and others doing their own tours of the island. Generally, most Balinese people I spoke to were optimistic about tourism because of the range of employment options that are now available to them. Many Balinese and other Indonesian people have moved to the tourist hotspots to work and send money back to their families.

Economic Advantages

Tourists bring money, and when it’s spent in the right place, it helps the Balinese economy. Because many tourists to Bali are in ‘holiday mode’, they’ll often spend a sizable amount on food, drinks, and shopping. When spent in the right places, this helps the individuals who run the restaurants, guesthouses cafes, etc. Furthermore, as their money is often spent within Bali it strengthens the economy of the island and Indonesia as a whole.

Meeting Foreigners and Sharing Cultures

Globalisation is both good and bad. In a positive light, tourism to Bali has helped locals learn about other countries and has opened them up to the possibilities of remote or international work. Meeting people from all over the globe has amazing advantages, as we can all learn from each other in so many ways, and many people in Bali who aren’t even in the travel industry are now doing a different job, thanks to tourism.

The Negative Impacts of Tourism in Bali

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

Even without the growing westernization of Bali, it is crazily busy. Bali has a huge population anyway, and then when you take into account the thousands of tourists who descend on the island each year and Indonesians who have moved to the island to work in the tourist industry, you’ve got an island that’s about to sink.

Busyness isn’t something that many people favour when they want a beach break and yes, sometimes you’ll struggle to get a good spot on some of the busier beaches in Bali. But overpopulation has some bigger concerns, especially in places as small as Bali. More people means more traffic (it once took me an hour to drive five kilometres), more development – which can affect the environment – and sadly, more rubbish.

Plastic Pollution

It is no secret that Indonesia has a plastic problem . Not much on the island gets recycled, and because everywhere is so close to the sea, that’s where it ends up – very quickly. It’s easy to forget about the huge plastic crisis that the world is experiencing when we’re offered a straw or a plastic bag – but when visiting Bali or anywhere else in the world (particularly coastal destinations) we really need to be helping the solution, not contributing to it. Sadly, more tourists mean more plastic cups and straws, and more trash in the ocean. I’m not very comfortable contributing to this.

There are also other environmental impacts of tourism on Bali, like the growing need of accommodation options for wiping out protected natural areas. This disrupts the ecosystem and could create a lot of problems for Bali in the long run.

The Dark Side of Bali

Tourism has also introduced some less than desirable qualities to Bali – prostitution, and subsequently, human trafficking is on the rise. The introduction of tourists has also seen the introduction of drugs, which have the death penalty for in Indonesia. You can learn more about these issues – and how to help to prevent them – at Dark Bali .

Economic Leakage

While tourism in Bali has brought more money, a lot of the time it only benefits the owners – who are often foreign. Staff of these big companies are typically not paid that much, and most of the money goes into the wealthy owner’s pocket, who may be from Britain, Australia, the US or any other country – generally a wealthier one than Indonesia. This means that the impacts of these businesses to the Balinese are mainly negative – business is taken away from local competitors, land is taken up, and prices are hiked up for locals.

Cultural Suppression

Balinese culture is one of the main reasons that I love the place. But, due to the overtourism, culture is being more and more suppressed – and it’s really sad. This is one of the negative effects of globalisation – tourists who come to Bali and treat it as their own place, without paying attention to the Balinese way of life, are really wrecking the traditions here. This is a problem all over the world, but out of everywhere I’ve visited I noticed it especially in Bali.

Is Bali Worth Visiting?

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

Everything being said, I still love Bali, and I still will go back to Bali. I just want to promote the right kind of Bali tourism. There are ways that we can increase the positive impacts of tourism in Bali and decrease the negatives. How? I’ll tell ya…

  • Eat at local warungs – not only are these restaurants delicious, and have good vegan and vegetarian options, but they are locally run so the money goes back to the owner, which is normally a family. The prices here are a lot cheaper than what you’ll pay in western restaurants as well. Plus, Indonesian food is great and caters for most dietary restrictions .
  • Stay in homestays when possible – Bali is dotted with these. Some are basically locally run hotels, others are local homes. As long as it’s run by Balinese people, it will help them out.
  • Take taxi drivers’  tours – many drivers do this as another way of earning an income and find it more enjoyable than driving different people around all day. They are really flexible with their tours and will take you to less touristy places if you ask. If there’s a few of you in the car, it’s a great deal.
  • Cut your use of plastic – take reusable straws (you can buy some here), resuable coffee cups (click here to buy) and reusable bags (here’s some)
  • Get to know the Balinese people! – English is quite widely spoken in Bali, and the locals are lovely people. They’re always down for a chat, and will love to share their culture and traditions with you.
  • See traditional shows – Balinese dance shows are easy to come across, especially in Ubud. There are lots of other ceremonies and rituals, some which tourists are allowed to watch. Having an interest in these keeps them alive.
  • Learn about the history and religion of the island – you can do this by visiting some of the many temples in Bali  and chatting to locals about their spirituality and beliefs.
  • Head to some less explored places of the island – these areas will be quiet and calm, and a place to experience ‘real’ Bali. You’ll be able to meet some locals here and stay in a homestay.
  • AVOID big companies that obviously have their roots in other countries. This includes multi-national hotels, some beach clubs and foreign restaurants and bars.
  • Get involved in ethical volunteering, read up about some of Bali’s issues and spread the word about what we can be doing to help. I highly recommend ‘Under the Volcano – The Story of Bali’ ( purchase it here )  to get a good understanding of the island’s history.

Have you visited Bali? What did you think of it? For more ethical travel posts, subscribe to Claire’s Footsteps or follow me on Facebook!

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

19 thoughts on “ The Impacts of Tourism in Bali ”

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Thumbs up Claire for seeing what is happening. Bali by now stinks and sinks under mass tourism who treat the island & take up land as if it IS theirs. Then too, this cannot happen if tourism development is a well balanced arm of government. Alas, it’s AGAIN a corrupt money game, misused by government & foreign investors and overused by long & short terms tourism wrecking it even further. At least most of them.

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Thanks for the comment Elisa. I know, it’s really sad and it’s such a beautiful culture that’s being oppressed 🙁 I will still visit Bali, however, and support all of the local businesses and cultures that I love there. I hope you can still find some beauty in the island as well!

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I first went to Bali 24.years ago. I then went 9 years ago and again recently. My opinion is that Bali is sinking as you say under the consequence of mass tourism. Attitudes of the Balinese have changed in a negative sense towards tourists. They desire a better life for themselves and their families which is human nature. The main worry of recent is that they can now obtain credit from lenders relatively easily, thus there is more traffic on the roads. I noticed a huge amount of new scooters and cars. They are paying up to 40% interest, private investors can obtain over 20% interest. What would happen if there was a natural disaster like an earthquake or volcanic eruption? Total collapse of the infrastructure leading to the end of tourism for an unknown period of time. These are very worrisome times and I don’t see a solution.

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I enjoyed reading your post Claire. My family are visiting Bali in a few weeks and I am using your site to help my IGCSE Geography students understand the good things and bad things about international tourism. Well done

That’s great to hear Neil, I’m glad it’s helping! Thanks a lot for your comment 🙂

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Wonderful Post. Really, this is the perfect case study for analyzing how tourism impacts indonesia.

Thanks Prakriti!

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Thank your for your attention in bali tourism impact. i am a balinese born and rise in rich culture area of ubud and i can say that all your writing are correct. nowadays beside cultural degradation because of mass tourism we also face a land use change where more and more rice field and riverside, green area were change to villa, hotel and other tourism facility. many of balinese aren’t aware of current change, there are feel more satisfied with evoluiton of thing because its easier to make money from tourism. *sorry for my english

Hi Nyoman, it’s great to hear from a local and thanks for your encouraging comment. Yes I completely agree, industries are changing fast in Bali but that doesn’t necessarily convenience everyone and it definitely should be taken more into account. If you have any more ideas about how tourists in Bali can be more sustainable please do drop me an email at [email protected] , it would be great to get some local perspectives in this post. Also your English is really good! My Indonesian is very bad but I try to speak some words when I’m there and I really like the language 🙂

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Hmm yes, interesting.

I found your work to be very helpful with my English tourism assignment, Thanks

Glad to hear that!

GIad to hear that!

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I am a Balinese born in Kuta and yes these tourism problems are a great deal in my area.

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This really helped me a lot thank you!!??

You’re welcome!

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Thank you Claire for your analysis..I use this in my geography class to discuss the impacts of tourism industry in Bali..

Glad to hear this is helpful! 🙂

Comments are closed.

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The Bali Sun

Bali To Begin Fighting Against Overtourism

Posted on Published: August 10, 2023

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Indonesia’s Minster for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, has issued statements calling for Bali to start mitigating against the risks of overtourism.

Bali is the most famous travel destination in Indonesia and is considered to be the country’s flagship tourism offering.

Ariel View of Nusa Dua In Bali.jpg

Welcoming over 6 million international tourists a year before the pandemic, the island is showing signs of the negative impacts of tourism, something Minister Uno says must be reckoned with quickly. 

While Bali has certainly benefited from the positive impacts of tourism in many ways, it is evident that the huge pressures the tourism sector puts on the island’s natural resources, infrastructure, and communities are starting to become too much.

Some may argue that the effects of overtourism have been felt on the island for the last decade or more, but officials within the government are more aware than ever that protection mechanisms must now be put in place.

Battling the negative impacts of over-tourism before it’s too late will help protect local communities, the environment, and, in the long run, tourists’ experience too.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno (@sandiuno)

Overtourism is defined by the United National World Tourism Organization as “the impact of tourism on a destination, or parts thereof, that excessively influences the perceived quality of life of citizens and/or quality of visitors experiences in a negative way.”

Examples of the implications of over-tourism include a rising cost of living for local people, and the redirecting of resources to the tourism sector away from local people, in turn reducing the quality of life and livelihoods for local people.

Environmental degradation, including water pollution, noise pollution, air pollution, issues with waste management , and the conversation of viable agricultural land and deforestation in some cases, have all been linked to tourism development and over-tourism. 

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@keepsiekits Comment your fav off-the-beaten path places to visit 🌿✈️ #sustainabletravel #overtourism #eco #traveltiktok #explorethenature ♬ Don't Delete The Kisses – Wolf Alice

Although Minster Uno and his teams have worked on increasing international tourism in the wake of the pandemic, data shows that demand for travel in Bali by foreign tourists is growing at a much greater rate than for domestic tourists. 

Minister Uno said, “I see visits continuing to increase by more than 80 percent year on year for foreign tourists. Meanwhile, domestic tourists are still growing between single digits or low double digits.”

@jetsetterjulia Staying away from the big tourism destinations is also better for local economies and sustainable travel! Overtourism is a real problem that can lead to ecosystem destruction, overpopulation, excessive pollution, overreliance of local economy on tourism, neglect of other economic sectors, loss of or exploitation of local culture, and more. #ethicaltourism #travelthoughts #traveladvice #femaletraveler #traveltrends #travelhotspots #overtourism #sustainabletravel #ethicaltravel ♬ Storytelling – Adriel

According to Minster Uno, Bali has yet to hit all the criteria to be identified as experiencing over-tourism, but it’s getting close.

He used examples of over-tourism in Europe and shared, “Even before the pre-pandemic. This is what reports that the number of tourists is increasing, and in the end, it has a negative impact on destinations.”

Dreamland-Beach-in-Bali-Busy-With-Tourists

With this in mind, Minster Uno says that to mitigate the potential risks of over-tourism, great effort should be focused on developing “quality and sustainable tourism.”

These are principles that are not new to Bali, nor is it a new point of discussion for leaders.

For years Minster Uno and Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster, as well as other key tourism stakeholders, have been discussing the need for higher quality and sustainable tourism on the island. 

Ariel-View-of-Seminyak-Beach-Busy-With-Tourists-At-Sunset

High-quality and sustainable tourism comes at a cost for tourists. While Bali is best known as a luxurious destination, the vast majority of tourists who visit the island opt for experiences and accommodations that fall within the mass tourism category.

This is to say most tourists stay in resort-style accommodations, visit the most well-known attractions, and participate in high-demand activities. 

Ariel-View-Of-Jimbaran-Coastline-and-Village-Resorts-in-Bali

What leaders like Minister Uno want to see is a shift towards attracting tourists who want to experience a more high-end stay in Bali, those who are willing to pay more for a vacation that promotes sustainable tourism and perhaps even stay longer on the island. 

Minster Uno said, “We [want to] ensure that the number of tourism visits with a target of 8.5 million this year starts shifting to tourists who stay longer and spend on the larger local economy. Bali, for example.” 

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negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

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Saturday 30th of September 2023

I like the comment : "it starting to become too much" when actually you cannot even see the sand of kuta beach under the pastic 6 months per year.

Tuesday 15th of August 2023

If you want us to stay longer increase the visa extensions by 60 days at least instead of 30 Or offer multi exit and re entry visas 12 months

Sunday 13th of August 2023

Bali isnt a Luxury Holiday destination at all and this is why its busy as people have been coming here as its affordable.

The South of the Island is so over developed now and so much mess and trafic that its not enjoyable anymore and people coming here for a luxury holiday will grow fed up with the conditions.

Prices have become Crazy for anyone living and working on the Island to pay rent and greed has taken over.

The whole attitude has become less friendly and Less tolerant and the type of people coming to the Island also is spoiling the atmosphere.

Over tourism is already here.

Saturday 12th of August 2023

How about applying the actual building codes and not pungli/ korrupsi to build obscene amount of hotels etc. Must be well over 5000 hotels not to mention other forms of accommodation.enforcevthe environmental laws, traffic laws etc. It's all there to enforce but nothing happens. To many fingers in the duit pie. This is the same guy who said" we Indonesians value our rules and regulations" lol. Wouldn't be this problem if rules n regs were followed. As usual what is said and what is done here are 2 different things. Malu.

@Neol, Laws and regulations are highly valued by the civil service. The more strict laws and regulations -- the more leverage when "negotiating" deals with the public to circumvent rules.

Friday 11th of August 2023

This island is a mess. Don't let money get in the way of law and order. Keep the tourists to under 200,000 arrivals per month. It's an absolute nightmare, people coming and going, being crazy, encourages scams and lack of ethics and morality because people will be leaving anyways. It's like parachuting into a mosh pit at a festival and then catching the helicopter out in a week, so obviously you don't care what will happen in that week.

That shouldn't happen to this island which is supposed to be one of spirituality. Bali and Nusa Penida have become a joke corrupted by the USD, AUD, and Euro.

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Inside Indonesia

  • Edition 155: Jan-Mar 2024

Bali’s pandemic, its impacts and legacies

Jemma purdey.

In February 2022, Bali’s international border reopened after almost two years. Long-awaited and warmly welcomed by most on the island whose livelihoods are so deeply connected to the dominant tourism industry, there is also a level of concern and trepidation. The sudden and prolonged halt to an ever-increasing flow of international visitors into Bali, whilst devastating for tourism and the economy at large, has forced many to reflect upon and rethink the over-dependency on this sector and its social and environmental impacts.

Compared to its neighbouring island Java, Bali has to date avoided a large-scale COVID-19 health crisis due to its high vaccination rates and adherence to social-distancing and other health protections. However, the pandemic induced international border closures and restrictions on mobility meant that Bali’s economy was most likely the hit hardest in all of Indonesia. The raw numbers are stark and extraordinary. In 2019 Bali welcomed over six million international visitors, in 2020 this number was just over one million, and in 2021 only 45 international visitors arrived directly in to Bali. It is estimated that prior to the pandemic around 70 per cent of the economy was linked to tourism and over half of all jobs.

As Anton Muhajir details in his article in this edition, when compared to past crises, including the 2002 Bali Bombings and 2017 Mt Agung eruption, the economic and social impact of the pandemic has been unprecedented - a prolonged period of being closed off from a global market upon which Bali had become so intrinsically, if not totally, connected and dependent.

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

All of our contributors to this edition lived in Bali during the pandemic. We invited them to reflect on their experiences, on how they, their neighbours and organisations have faced the challenges brought by the economic and health crisis; how communities have remained connected and individuals have found a way through.

Nicodemus Freddy Hadiyanto puts faces to the numbers, sharing stories from his neighbours and friends who, like so many, found themselves out of work and with no idea when the tourists would return. Whilst some are looking forward to Bali’s reopening and returning to their pre-pandemic employment, many others, through necessity, grit and ingenuity have found new paths and new livelihoods away from tourism and do not expect to go back.

In their essays Paul Walters and Suzy Hutomo reveal how the pandemic has exposed Bali’s complex predicament – long known, but until this crisis perhaps conveniently overlooked – whereby the very beauty and relaxed living for which Bali is famous is under constant threat due to the ever-larger numbers of tourists who come to experience it. As the wonderful photos from Syamsul Sofian accompanying Hutomo’s essay show us, in their absence nature has reclaimed parts of the island and wildlife has returned.

Likewise, Sue Useem’s article on Bali’s much-loved dogs reminds us of the close relationship between human and animal in Balinese culture. Pandemic restrictions created challenges for organisations caring for these dogs, but re-connecting with their local communities during this time has given rise to youth-led grassroots animal welfare efforts that offer much hope for the dogs' future wellbeing.

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

Fransiska Prihadi and Iko Amadeus and Ni Nyoman Clara Listya Dewi share their experiences with organisations dedicated to helping locals maintain connections across their fractured communities. Their efforts to bring people together digitally and in COVID-safe ways in-person focused on warding off isolation and fear born of a lack of information about the virus, and the importance of continuing to foster cultural activity.

Across the articles in this edition the role of local and national government is ever-present, either as an enforcer of rules, public health protector or aid-giver, but in all cases with varying levels of efficacy and relevance. The stories told here demonstrate the centrality of community-led resilience and ingenuity in response to Bali’s pandemic crisis.

The pandemic has forced the people of Bali – like all of us – to reflect on what is important. To take stock. As the island begins to welcome visitors back in the coming months and years it remains to be seen what has been learnt from this period of pause. Will Bali return to the way it was before March 2020? We join our contributor Hadiyanto in posing the question, ‘Bali, where are you heading?’

Jemma Purdey is commissioning editor of Inside Indonesia.

Inside Indonesia 147: Jan-Mar 2022

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Tourism in Indonesia

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Tourism in Indonesia is big business. But why is this industry so important and what does it all mean? Read on to find out…

Geography of Indonesia

The tourism industry in indonesia, statistics about tourism indonesia, popular tourist attractions in indonesia, types of tourism in  indonesia, economic impacts of tourism in indonesia, social impacts of tourism in indonesia, environmental impacts of tourism in indonesia, faqs about tourism in indonesia , to conclude: tourism in indonesia.

Tourism in Indonesia 

Indonesia, an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, offers a mesmerising blend of cultures, landscapes, and historical wonders. Stretching from the bustling streets of Jakarta to the serene beaches of Bali and the ancient temples of Yogyakarta, Indonesia presents a unique tapestry of experiences for every traveller. In this article, I’ll provide insights into the diverse world of Indonesian tourism, capturing its vibrant traditions, natural beauty, and the myriad attractions that beckon visitors from around the globe. Join me as we embark on a journey through the multifaceted allure of Indonesia.

Indonesia is an archipelago located in Southeast Asia and is the world’s largest island country. Here is an overview of the geography of Indonesia:

  • Location: Indonesia is situated between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, spanning both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. It is located between mainland Southeast Asia and Australia.
  • Archipelago: Indonesia consists of more than 17,000 islands, with five main islands: Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi, and Papua. These islands are surrounded by smaller islands and islets, forming a vast archipelago.
  • Size and Borders: Indonesia covers a total land area of approximately 1.9 million square kilometers (736,000 square miles), making it the 14th largest country in the world by land area. It shares land borders with Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste.
  • Mountains and Volcanoes: Indonesia is known for its stunning mountain ranges and active volcanoes. The highest peak is Puncak Jaya in Papua, standing at 4,884 meters (16,024 feet). Other notable mountains include Mount Bromo, Mount Rinjani, and Mount Merapi.
  • Rivers and Lakes: Several rivers flow through Indonesia, including the Kapuas River in Kalimantan, the Musi River in Sumatra, and the Citarum River in Java. Lake Toba in North Sumatra is the largest volcanic lake in the world and a popular tourist destination.
  • Biodiversity: Indonesia is incredibly rich in biodiversity, with diverse ecosystems such as rainforests, coral reefs, mangroves, and savannas. It is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, home to numerous endemic species, including the Komodo dragon and orangutan.
  • Climate: Indonesia experiences a tropical climate, characterized by high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. The country has two main seasons: the wet season (October to April) and the dry season (May to September).
  • Coastal Areas: Indonesia has an extensive coastline that stretches for approximately 54,716 kilometers (34,000 miles). It is surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the west and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the north and east.
  • Coral Reefs: Indonesia’s waters are renowned for their vibrant coral reefs, making it a popular destination for diving and snorkeling. The Coral Triangle, located in the waters surrounding Indonesia, is considered the world’s epicenter of marine biodiversity.
  • Natural Hazards: Due to its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. It is important for visitors to stay informed about any potential hazards and follow local authorities’ instructions.

The geography of Indonesia offers a diverse and picturesque landscape, from towering mountains to pristine beaches, making it a fascinating destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Indonesia is a country that attracts millions of tourists each year with its diverse culture, natural beauty, and rich history. The tourism industry in Indonesia plays a significant role in the country’s economy. Here is an introduction to the tourism industry in Indonesia:

Cultural Heritage: Indonesia is home to a vibrant mix of cultures, including Javanese, Balinese, Sumatran, and many more. Tourists are drawn to explore ancient temples, traditional dances, music performances, and local arts and crafts.

Natural Attractions: Indonesia boasts stunning natural landscapes, including pristine beaches, lush rainforests, active volcanoes, and diverse wildlife. Popular natural attractions include Bali’s beaches, Komodo National Park, Borobudur Temple, Mount Bromo, and the Togean Islands.

Adventure Tourism: Indonesia offers numerous opportunities for adventure tourism. Activities such as hiking, trekking, diving, surfing, and whitewater rafting are popular among tourists seeking thrilling experiences in destinations like Raja Ampat, Lombok, Yogyakarta, and Borneo.

Ecotourism: With its rich biodiversity and conservation efforts, Indonesia has become a hub for ecotourism. Travelers can explore national parks, wildlife reserves, and marine protected areas, contributing to sustainable practices and supporting local communities.

Culinary Experiences: Indonesian cuisine is diverse and flavorful, with regional specialties like nasi goreng, rendang, satay, and sambal. Food tourism is popular, and tourists can embark on culinary tours, cooking classes, and street food adventures.

Wellness and Spa Retreats: Indonesia offers a range of wellness and spa retreats, particularly in Bali. Tourists can indulge in traditional massages, yoga classes, meditation retreats, and wellness treatments set amidst serene natural surroundings.

Island Hopping: Indonesia’s vast archipelago provides opportunities for island hopping adventures. Travelers can explore different islands, each with its unique landscapes, cultures, and attractions. Popular island destinations include Bali, Lombok, Java, Sumatra, and the Gili Islands.

Heritage Sites: Indonesia is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, Komodo National Park, and Ujung Kulon National Park. These sites attract history enthusiasts and cultural travelers.

Shopping and Souvenirs: Indonesia offers a range of shopping experiences, from bustling markets to modern shopping malls. Tourists can purchase traditional handicrafts, batik textiles, silver jewelry, wood carvings, and other unique souvenirs.

MICE Tourism: Indonesia has also gained prominence as a destination for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism. The country has modern convention centers and facilities that cater to business and corporate events.

The tourism industry in Indonesia continues to grow, offering a wide range of experiences and attractions for visitors. The government, along with tourism organizations, promotes sustainable tourism practices to preserve the country’s natural and cultural heritage while providing economic opportunities for local communities.

Tourism in Indonesia 

Now lets put things into perspective. Here are some statistics about tourism in Indonesia:

  • Tourist Arrivals: In 2019, Indonesia welcomed over 16 million international tourist arrivals, making it one of the most visited countries in Southeast Asia.
  • Contribution to GDP: Tourism contributes significantly to Indonesia’s economy, accounting for approximately 6% of the country’s GDP.
  • Employment: The tourism sector in Indonesia provides employment opportunities to millions of people, both directly and indirectly. It is estimated that tourism supports around 13 million jobs in the country.
  • Top Visitor Countries: The top five countries of origin for tourists visiting Indonesia are China, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, and India.
  • Popular Destinations: Bali is the most popular destination in Indonesia, attracting the majority of international tourists. Other popular destinations include Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Lombok, and Bandung.
  • Cultural Tourism: Cultural tourism plays a significant role in Indonesia’s tourism industry. The country is home to numerous cultural attractions, including ancient temples, traditional dances, and unique arts and crafts.
  • Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism: Indonesia is known for its diverse natural landscapes and offers opportunities for ecotourism and adventure tourism. Popular activities include diving, hiking, wildlife watching, and exploring national parks.
  • Cruise Tourism: Indonesia has been focusing on developing cruise tourism, with several ports of call for cruise ships. Popular cruise routes include Bali, Komodo Island, and Raja Ampat.
  • Domestic Tourism: Domestic tourism is also a significant contributor to the tourism industry in Indonesia. Indonesians travel within their own country to explore different regions and enjoy local attractions.
  • Tourism Infrastructure: The Indonesian government has been investing in improving tourism infrastructure, including airports, roads, accommodations, and attractions, to enhance the visitor experience and support the industry’s growth.

These statistics highlight the importance of tourism in Indonesia’s economy and the country’s popularity as a tourist destination.

Indonesia offers a wide range of popular tourist attractions that cater to various interests. Here are some of the most renowned attractions in Indonesia:

  • Bali: Known as the “Island of the Gods,” Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination. It offers stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, lush rice terraces, ancient temples, and traditional arts and culture.
  • Borobudur Temple: Located in Central Java, Borobudur Temple is the world’s largest Buddhist temple. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts visitors with its intricate stone carvings and panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
  • Komodo National Park: Situated in the eastern part of Indonesia, Komodo National Park is home to the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard. Visitors can explore the park’s diverse marine life, hike to scenic viewpoints, and witness the unique reptiles in their natural habitat.
  • Mount Bromo: Located in East Java, Mount Bromo is an active volcano and a popular destination for adventure seekers. The stunning sunrise views from its summit, the otherworldly landscape of the surrounding Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, and the opportunity to hike and ride a jeep across the volcanic terrain make it a must-visit attraction.
  • Ubud: Nestled in the heart of Bali, Ubud is known for its lush green landscapes, traditional art and crafts, and serene atmosphere. Visitors can explore art galleries, visit ancient temples, experience traditional Balinese dance performances, and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding rice fields.
  • Raja Ampat Islands: Located in West Papua, the Raja Ampat Islands are a paradise for diving enthusiasts. The region boasts stunning coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and an abundance of marine life, including manta rays and colorful fish species.
  • Tana Toraja: Situated in South Sulawesi, Tana Toraja is famous for its unique funeral rituals and traditional houses known as Tongkonan. Visitors can witness elaborate funeral ceremonies, explore traditional villages, and admire the intricate wood carvings that depict the local culture.
  • Yogyakarta: Yogyakarta, often referred to as Jogja, is a cultural hub in Java. It is known for its ancient temples, including the UNESCO-listed Prambanan and the magnificent Borobudur. Visitors can also explore the royal palaces, visit art markets, and indulge in traditional Javanese cuisine.
  • Gili Islands: The Gili Islands, located off the coast of Lombok, offer a tranquil escape with their pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, and laid-back atmosphere. These islands are perfect for snorkeling, diving, and enjoying a relaxing beach vacation.
  • Jakarta: As Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta offers a blend of modern and traditional attractions. Visitors can explore historical sites such as Kota Tua (Old Town), visit museums, enjoy shopping in malls, and experience the vibrant city life.

These attractions showcase the diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and natural beauty that make Indonesia a popular destination for travelers from around the world.

Tourism in Indonesia 

Indonesia offers a wide range of tourism experiences that cater to various interests. Here are some of the most popular types of tourism in Indonesia:

  • Beach Tourism: With its thousands of islands, Indonesia is famous for its stunning beaches. Bali, Lombok, Gili Islands, and Raja Ampat are just a few of the many destinations that attract beach lovers with their pristine white sands, crystal-clear waters, and opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and water sports.
  • Cultural Tourism: Indonesia is rich in cultural diversity, and cultural tourism is a major draw for visitors. Places like Yogyakarta, Solo, and Ubud in Bali offer insights into traditional arts, crafts, music, dance, and local customs. Visitors can witness traditional ceremonies, explore ancient temples, and immerse themselves in the unique cultures of different regions.
  • Adventure Tourism: Indonesia’s diverse landscapes provide ample opportunities for adventure tourism. Hiking volcanoes, such as Mount Bromo or Mount Rinjani, trekking through lush jungles, white-water rafting, and surfing are popular activities for adventure enthusiasts. The country also offers opportunities for wildlife spotting, including orangutans in Borneo and Komodo dragons in Komodo National Park.
  • Eco-Tourism: Indonesia’s rich biodiversity and natural wonders make it a prime destination for eco-tourism. Visitors can explore national parks like Taman Negara in Sumatra, explore the rainforests of Kalimantan, or venture into the remote areas of Papua to witness unique flora and fauna.
  • Wellness and Spa Tourism: Indonesia is renowned for its wellness retreats and spa resorts. Places like Bali and Lombok offer a wide range of wellness experiences, including yoga retreats, meditation centers, traditional healing therapies, and luxurious spa treatments.
  • Historical Tourism: Indonesia has a rich history dating back thousands of years, and historical tourism is popular among visitors. Sites like Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, and Sultan’s Palace in Yogyakarta attract history enthusiasts who want to explore the country’s ancient past.
  • Culinary Tourism: Indonesian cuisine is diverse and flavorful, making culinary tourism a popular choice. Visitors can indulge in local delicacies such as nasi goreng (fried rice), satay, rendang, and sate lilit. Exploring traditional food markets and taking cooking classes are also popular activities.
  • Shopping Tourism: Indonesia offers a vibrant shopping scene, especially in cities like Jakarta and Bandung. Visitors can explore modern malls, traditional markets, and art markets to find unique handicrafts, batik textiles, traditional souvenirs, and fashionable items.
  • Religious Tourism: Indonesia is home to various religions, and religious tourism is prominent. From visiting the iconic Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple for Buddhist and Hindu pilgrimages to exploring mosques and historic churches, there are religious sites that attract visitors of all faiths.
  • Diving and Snorkeling Tourism: Indonesia is part of the Coral Triangle, which is known for its rich marine biodiversity. Diving and snorkeling enthusiasts flock to destinations like Bali, Komodo National Park, Raja Ampat, and the Gili Islands to explore vibrant coral reefs, encounter colorful fish species, and witness manta rays and sea turtles.

These types of tourism showcase the diverse offerings of Indonesia, attracting travelers with varying interests and preferences.

Tourism plays a significant role in the economy of Indonesia, contributing to its GDP, employment, and foreign exchange earnings. Here are some key economic impacts of tourism in Indonesia:

  • GDP Contribution: Tourism makes a substantial contribution to Indonesia’s GDP. In 2019, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the country’s GDP was approximately 5.2%. When considering the indirect and induced impacts, the total contribution of tourism to the GDP was estimated to be around 11.8%.
  • Employment Generation: Tourism is a major job creator in Indonesia. The industry provides employment opportunities for various sectors, including hotels, restaurants, transportation, tour operators, travel agencies, and handicrafts. In 2019, travel and tourism supported about 13.8 million jobs, accounting for approximately 10% of total employment in the country.
  • Foreign Exchange Earnings: Tourism brings in significant foreign exchange earnings to Indonesia. In 2019, international tourism receipts amounted to around $20.7 billion. This revenue helps improve the country’s balance of payments, supports the local currency, and contributes to economic stability.
  • Regional Development: Tourism helps in the development of various regions in Indonesia. Popular tourist destinations, such as Bali, Yogyakarta, and Lombok, receive substantial investments in infrastructure, accommodation, and services. This development spreads economic benefits beyond major cities and contributes to the growth of local economies.
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Tourism provides opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to thrive. Local businesses, such as homestays, restaurants, handicraft producers, and tour operators, benefit from the demand generated by tourists. This promotes entrepreneurship, empowers local communities, and supports sustainable economic growth.
  • Infrastructure Development: The growth of tourism in Indonesia has led to infrastructure development. Airports, roads, ports, and other transportation facilities have been expanded and improved to accommodate the increasing number of tourists. This infrastructure development not only enhances the tourism experience but also benefits other sectors of the economy.
  • Investment Opportunities: The tourism industry attracts both domestic and foreign investments, driving economic growth and diversification. Investments are made in hotels, resorts, entertainment facilities, eco-tourism projects, and transportation infrastructure. These investments create employment opportunities, generate revenue, and stimulate economic activities in the related sectors.
  • Income Distribution: Tourism in Indonesia contributes to income distribution by generating employment and income opportunities for local communities. Revenue generated from tourism activities can have a multiplier effect, as it circulates within the local economy through spending on goods and services. This helps improve the standard of living and reduces income inequalities.
  • Cultural Preservation: Tourism in Indonesia often promotes the preservation of cultural heritage and traditional practices. Communities with unique cultural attractions benefit from tourism, as it encourages the preservation and promotion of their customs, arts, crafts, and traditional performances. This not only helps sustain cultural identity but also provides economic incentives for cultural preservation efforts.
  • Diversification of Economy: The tourism industry contributes to the diversification of Indonesia’s economy. It reduces dependence on specific sectors and creates alternative sources of income. This diversification strengthens the overall resilience of the economy and reduces vulnerability to external shocks.

It is important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the tourism industry worldwide, including Indonesia. The full extent of its impact on the economic contributions of tourism in Indonesia is still being assessed, and recovery efforts are underway to revive the sector.

Tourism in Indonesia has several social impacts that influence local communities, cultural preservation, and social dynamics. Here are some key social impacts of tourism in Indonesia:

  • Cultural Exchange: Tourism in Indonesia facilitates cultural exchange between visitors and local communities. Tourists have the opportunity to experience Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage, traditions, and customs. This interaction fosters mutual understanding, appreciation, and respect for diverse cultures.
  • Preservation of Cultural Heritage: Tourism in Indonesia often plays a vital role in preserving cultural heritage. Popular tourist destinations in Indonesia, such as Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, and traditional villages, receive conservation efforts and financial support due to their cultural significance. Tourism revenue helps maintain and protect cultural sites, arts, crafts, and traditional practices.
  • Community Empowerment: Tourism in Indonesia provides income and employment opportunities for local communities. Small-scale businesses, homestays, local guides, and artisans benefit from the demand created by tourists. This economic empowerment enhances the quality of life, improves infrastructure, and supports community development initiatives.
  • Awareness of Environmental Conservation: Tourism in Indonesia can raise awareness about environmental conservation. Many tourist attractions in Indonesia are natural wonders, such as Komodo National Park, Taman Negara Gunung Leuser, and Raja Ampat. Visitors, through guided tours and educational programs, learn about the importance of preserving natural resources, ecosystems, and wildlife habitats.
  • Infrastructure Development: Tourism development often leads to improved infrastructure in local communities. Airports, roads, accommodations, and public facilities are upgraded to cater to the needs of tourists. This infrastructure development benefits not only tourists but also local residents, improving their access to services and enhancing their overall living conditions.
  • Cultural Revitalization: Tourism in Indonesia can contribute to the revitalization of traditional cultural practices. Local communities may revive traditional dances, music, handicrafts, and rituals to showcase their cultural heritage to visitors. This revitalization helps preserve and promote cultural traditions that may have otherwise declined over time.
  • Education and Awareness: Tourism provides educational opportunities for local communities. Visitors often show interest in learning about the local culture, history, and traditions. This encourages local communities to share their knowledge and traditions, leading to the preservation and transmission of cultural knowledge across generations.
  • Pride in Local Identity: Tourism in Indonesia can instill a sense of pride in local communities. Recognizing the value and appeal of their own cultural heritage, communities may take pride in preserving and showcasing their traditions, resulting in increased self-esteem and cultural identity.
  • Social Integration: Tourism in Indonesia can foster social integration by bringing together people from different backgrounds. Visitors and locals interact, exchange ideas, and share experiences, contributing to social cohesion and understanding.
  • Community-Based Tourism Initiatives: Community-based tourism initiatives empower local communities to participate actively in tourism development. These initiatives ensure that the benefits of tourism are distributed more equitably, allowing communities to have a voice in decision-making, preserving their cultural heritage, and maintaining control over their resources.

While tourism in Indonesia brings numerous social benefits, it is important to manage its impacts responsibly to avoid negative social consequences such as over-commercialization, cultural commodification, and social inequalities. Sustainable tourism practices that involve local communities and respect their traditions and values are crucial for maximizing the positive social impacts of tourism in Indonesia.

Tourism in Indonesia 

Tourism in Indonesia, like in many other countries, has both positive and negative environmental impacts. Here are some key environmental impacts of tourism in Indonesia:

  • Natural Resource Consumption: Tourism in Indonesia places demands on natural resources such as water, energy, and land. Increased tourist arrivals often lead to higher water consumption, increased energy usage for accommodation and transportation, and land development for hotels, resorts, and infrastructure. This can strain local resources and put pressure on ecosystems.
  • Waste Generation: The tourism industry generates significant amounts of waste, including plastic, packaging, food waste, and other disposable items. Improper waste management and disposal practices can lead to pollution of water bodies, soil, and air, impacting the natural environment and ecosystems.
  • Loss of Biodiversity and Habitat Degradation: Popular tourist destinations in Indonesia often include natural areas, such as rainforests, coral reefs, and marine ecosystems. Increased tourism activities can lead to habitat destruction, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity. Unsustainable practices like overfishing, improper waste disposal, and unregulated development can degrade natural habitats and harm wildlife populations.
  • Pollution and Carbon Emissions: Tourism-related activities contribute to pollution, including air and water pollution. Transportation, especially air travel, generates greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Water pollution can occur through wastewater discharge from accommodations and recreational activities, impacting marine ecosystems and coral reefs.
  • Deforestation and Land Conversion: Tourism development can lead to deforestation and land conversion for hotels, resorts, and infrastructure projects. This can result in the loss of valuable forest ecosystems, disrupt wildlife habitats, and contribute to soil erosion and land degradation.
  • Coral Reef Damage: Indonesia is known for its stunning coral reefs, which attract divers and snorkelers. However, irresponsible diving practices, anchoring, and the use of harmful chemicals for sunscreen can cause damage to coral reefs, affecting their health and biodiversity.
  • Water and Coastal Erosion: Increased tourism activities and infrastructure development along coastlines can contribute to water erosion and coastal degradation. Beach erosion, loss of sand dunes, and alteration of natural sediment patterns can impact coastal ecosystems and diminish the aesthetic value of the area.
  • Water Pollution from Tourism Activities: Recreational activities such as boating, swimming, and snorkeling can introduce pollutants into water bodies, including oil spills, sewage discharge, and litter. These pollutants can harm aquatic life, coral reefs, and water quality.
  • Pressure on Protected Areas: Indonesia has many protected areas, including national parks and reserves. High visitor numbers and inadequate management can result in increased pressure on these fragile ecosystems, leading to habitat disturbance and wildlife stress.
  • Cultural and Heritage Impact: Increased tourism can put pressure on cultural and heritage sites, leading to overcrowding, erosion of traditional practices, and loss of authenticity. Uncontrolled tourism development can disrupt local communities and their way of life.

It’s important to note that many efforts are being made in Indonesia to promote sustainable tourism practices and minimize the negative environmental impacts of tourism in Indonesia. This includes implementing waste management programs, promoting eco-friendly accommodations, educating tourists about responsible behavior, and supporting conservation initiatives. Responsible tourism practices and awareness are essential for protecting Indonesia’s diverse ecosystems and preserving its natural beauty for future generations.

Tourism in Indonesia 

Now that we know a bit more about tourism in Indonesia, lets answer some of the most common questions on this topic:

Sure! Here are 10 frequently asked questions about tourism in Indonesia along with their answers:

What is the best time to visit Indonesia?

The best time to visit Indonesia is during the dry season, which generally falls between April and October. However, the specific ideal time to visit may vary depending on the region you plan to explore.

What are the must-visit destinations in Indonesia?

Some popular destinations in Indonesia include Bali, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Komodo National Park, Borobudur Temple, Mount Bromo, and Raja Ampat.

Do I need a visa to visit Indonesia?

It depends on your nationality. Many countries are eligible for visa-free entry or visa on arrival, allowing visitors to stay for a certain period. However, some nationalities may require a visa in advance. It’s recommended to check the visa requirements for your specific nationality before traveling.

What is the currency of Indonesia?

The currency of Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). It’s advisable to carry local currency for convenience, although major tourist areas also accept major credit cards.

Is it safe to travel in Indonesia?

Overall, Indonesia is considered a safe destination for tourists. However, it’s always important to take general safety precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and taking necessary precautions against theft.

What are some traditional Indonesian dishes I should try?

Some popular Indonesian dishes to try include nasi goreng (fried rice), satay, rendang (spicy beef stew), gado-gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce), and nasi padang (rice with various side dishes).

Is it necessary to get vaccinations before traveling to Indonesia?

It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or travel clinic to get the necessary vaccinations and medical advice based on your travel plans and personal health history. Common vaccinations include Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Tetanus.

Can I drink tap water in Indonesia?

It’s generally advisable to drink bottled or filtered water in Indonesia to avoid any potential health risks. Bottled water is widely available and affordable.

Are there any cultural customs or etiquette I should be aware of?

Indonesian culture values politeness and respect. It’s advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and to ask for permission before taking someone’s photo. Learning a few basic Indonesian phrases can also be appreciated by the locals.

What are some popular water activities in Indonesia?

Indonesia offers various water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and island hopping. Popular spots include Bali, Gili Islands, and Komodo National Park.

Indonesia’s rich tapestry of islands offers a captivating blend of cultures, landscapes, and historical wonders. From the bustling streets of Jakarta to the serene beaches of Bali, the archipelago promises diverse and unforgettable experiences. If you enjoyed this article, I am sure you will like these too:

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Travel and tourism in Indonesia - statistics & facts

Indonesia as a global tourism destination, indonesian tourism: on the road to recovery, key insights.

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Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide from 2019 to 2022, by subregion (in millions)

Travel and tourism contribution share to GDP in Indonesia 2019-2021

Contribution of travel and tourism sector to GDP in Indonesia from 2019 to 2021

Travel and tourism contribution to GDP in Indonesia 2019-2021

Contribution of travel and tourism sector to GDP in Indonesia from 2019 to 2021 (in trillion Indonesian rupiah)

Absolute economic contribution of tourism in Indonesia 2014-2029

Absolute economic contribution of tourism in Indonesia from 2014 to 2029 (in million U.S. dollars)

Inbound tourism

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Number of international visitor arrivals in Indonesia from 2014 to 2023 (in millions)

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Number of international visitor arrivals from Asia Pacific to Indonesia from 2014 to 2023 (in millions)

Number of international visitor arrivals Indonesia 2023, by mode of transport

Number of international visitor arrivals in Indonesia in 2023, by mode of transport (in 1,000s)

Number of foreign visitor arrivals in Indonesia 2023, by port of entry

Number of foreign visitor arrivals in Indonesia 2023, by main port of entries (in 1,000s)

Monthly international air passengers at Soekarno-Hatta airport Indonesia 2019-2024

Number of monthly international air passengers at Soekarno-Hatta Airport (CGK) in Indonesia from January 2019 to February 2024 (in 1,000s)

Average length of stay of inbound visitors to Indonesia from 2012 to 2021 (by number of days)

Domestic tourism

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Number of domestic trips Indonesia 2013-2022

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Number of domestic trips made in Indonesia in 2021, by mode of transport (in millions)

Breakdown of domestic trips in Indonesia 2021, by purpose

Number of domestic trips made in Indonesia in 2021, by purpose of travel (in millions)

Monthly domestic air passengers at Soekarno-Hatta airport Indonesia 2019-2024

Number of monthly domestic air passengers at Soekarno-Hatta Airport (CGK) in Indonesia from January 2019 to February 2024 (in millions)

Number of domestic guests in star hotels Indonesia 2013-2022

Total number of domestic guests in star hotels in Indonesia from 2013 to 2022 (in millions)

Average length of stay in hotels by domestic travelers in Indonesia 2012-2021

Average length of stay in hotels by domestic travelers in Indonesia from 2012 to 2021 (by number of nights)

Common concerns about traveling Indonesia 2023

Most common concerns about traveling among tourists in Indonesia as of January 2023

Economic impact

  • Premium Statistic Average daily expenditure of inbound visitors to Indonesia 2012-2021
  • Premium Statistic Inbound tourism expenditure value Indonesia 2013-2022
  • Premium Statistic Value of international tourism receipts Indonesia 2011-2020
  • Premium Statistic Number of employees in tourism industry Indonesia 2011-2020

Average daily expenditure of inbound visitors to Indonesia 2012-2021

Average daily expenditure of inbound visitors to Indonesia from 2012 to 2021 (in U.S. dollars)

Inbound tourism expenditure value Indonesia 2013-2022

Value of inbound tourism expenditure in Indonesia from 2013 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)

International tourism receipts in Indonesia from 2011 to 2020 (in million U.S. dollars)

Number of employees in tourism industry Indonesia 2011-2020

Number of employees in the tourism industry in Indonesia from 2011 to 2020 (in 1,000s)

Accommodations, hotels, and bookings

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Number of accommodation establishments for visitors Indonesia 2013-2022

Number of accommodation establishments for visitors in Indonesia from 2013 to 2022 (in 1,000s)

Number of hotels and similar establishments Indonesia 2012-2021

Number of hotels and similar establishments in Indonesia from 2012 to 2021 (in 1,000s)

Total number of hotels by star ratings Indonesia 2023

Total number of hotels in Indonesia in 2023, by star ratings

Number of employees in accommodation services for visitors Indonesia 2011-2020

Number of employees in hotels and similar establishments in Indonesia from 2011 to 2020 (in 1,000s)

Occupancy rate in classified hotels in Indonesia 2013-2023

Room occupancy rate of classified hotels in Indonesia from 2013 to 2023

Leading online travel agencies used in Indonesia 2023

Most popular online travel agencies among consumers in Indonesia as of June 2023

Preferred accommodation booking methods for year-end holiday Indonesia 2022

Most preferred accommodation booking methods for year-end holiday travel in Indonesia as of November 2022

Impact of COVID-19 on tourism

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  • Premium Statistic International tourism receipts during the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia Q4 2022
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Quarterly change in international tourism receipts COVID-19 in Indonesia 2022

Quarterly change in international tourism receipts during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Indonesia in 2022

Monthly number of international visitor arrivals Indonesia 2020-2023

Number of international visitor arrivals in Indonesia from January 2020 to March 2023 (in 1,000s)

International tourism receipts during the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia Q4 2022

International tourism receipts during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Indonesia as of 4th quarter in 2022 (in thousand U.S. dollars)

Monthly change in international tourist arrivals due to COVID-19 Indonesia 2020-2022

Monthly change in international tourist arrivals during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Indonesia as of December 2022

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The Impact of Coastal Tourism Activities on The Environment and Socio-Culture (Case Study: Berawa Beach, Canggu)

  • Bella Desita Yusnny Master Program in Tourism, Faculty of Tourism, Udayana University, Indonesia
  • Ni Made Sofia Wijaya Master Program in Tourism, Faculty of Tourism, Udayana University, Indonesia
  • Ni Putu Ratna Sari Master Program in Tourism, Faculty of Tourism, Udayana University, Indonesia

This research aims to analyze the impact of coastal tourism activities on the environment and socio-culture in the Berawa Beach Coastal Area, Canggu. This research uses a qualitative descriptive method with a case study approach. Researcher conducted in-depth interviews with the following sources: Tibubeneng Village, represented by the Head of the Welfare Section, Community Empowerment Institutions, business owners, art shop owners and cafe owners, three local communities and one person who works in the Berawa Coastal Area. This research examines in more depth the impact of coastal tourism activities on the environment and socio-culture. Apart from interviews, researcher made observations and studies from news, articles and journals of previous research.

After conducting in-depth interviews with resource people, researche found that there were negative and positive impacts on the environment and socio-culture due to coastal tourism activities in the Berawa Coastal Coastal Area. From the impacts felt by the interviewees, the negative impacts were more significantly felt on the environment due to land conversion and poor waste management. Meanwhile, significant negative socio-cultural impacts are felt, namely the occurrence of traffic jams and crime.

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negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

Indonesia Travel Experiences

Navigating the Pitfalls Understanding the Negative Impacts of Tourism in Indonesia

Indonesia , with its mesmerizing beauty and warm hospitality, has long been a traveler’s paradise . But as the tourism industry continues to flourish, it’s essential to take a closer look at the not-so-sunny side of the picture. In this article, we’ll delve into the less-talked-about but crucial topic: the negative impacts of tourism in Indonesia . By understanding these challenges, we can work towards a more sustainable and responsible way of exploring this stunning archipelago.

Environmental Consequences

Overdevelopment and Habitat Destruction

The allure of Indonesia’s natural landscapes has led to rapid development in tourist hotspots . While this brings convenience, it often comes at the expense of pristine environments. Lush forests give way to resorts, and untouched beaches transform into crowded shorelines. The result? A loss of biodiversity and natural beauty that initially attracted visitors.

As tourists flock to Indonesia , the environmental footprint grows. Air, water, and noise pollution become significant concerns in heavily frequented areas. The marine ecosystems suffer too, with coastal areas bearing the brunt of marine pollution. Trash and debris endanger marine life and disrupt fragile ecosystems, creating a detrimental ripple effect.

Deforestation

Tourism’s demand for infrastructure often leads to deforestation, impacting Indonesia’s wildlife habitats. Logging and land clearance for hotels, resorts, and roads destroy critical ecosystems. Wildlife loses their homes, and these pristine areas are forever altered.

Cultural Disruption

Loss of Cultural Authenticity

While tourism brings economic benefits, it can erode the authenticity of local cultures. Commercialization and the quest for mass appeal can homogenize indigenous traditions, robbing them of their uniqueness. The charming villages and their way of life that initially drew travelers may slowly disappear in the face of globalized tourism.

Social and Economic Inequality

Tourism’s impact isn’t always evenly distributed. While some benefit, others face economic hardships. Income disparities can widen as tourism generates jobs with varying pay scales. Gentrification, driven by tourist demands, can push out local communities, further perpetuating inequality.

Erosion of Traditions

Indonesia’s rich tapestry of traditions is at risk of unraveling. As tourism takes center stage, traditional practices can fade into obscurity. The lure of modernization and economic opportunities can pull younger generations away from their cultural roots, leading to the loss of time-honored customs.

Strain on Infrastructure

Overcrowding

Indonesia’s popularity as a tourist destination can result in overcrowding, particularly in iconic locations. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of visitors, these destinations can lose their charm. Infrastructure struggles to cope, leading to congestion and inconvenience.

Environmental Degradation

With more tourists come increased waste, putting pressure on waste management and sewage systems. Improper disposal can lead to environmental degradation, impacting local ecosystems and water quality. The paradise that travelers seek can be marred by the very presence of tourists.

Increased Cost of Living

The demand for accommodations and services from tourists can drive up property prices. This, in turn, raises the cost of living for locals, making it increasingly challenging for them to afford homes in their own communities. This phenomenon can create resentment and further exacerbate social issues.

Economic Dependency

Vulnerability to External Factors

Indonesia’s heavy reliance on tourism leaves it vulnerable to economic fluctuations and global events. Natural disasters, political instability, and health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic can have severe consequences on the tourism industry, leading to economic hardships.

Leakage of Tourism Revenue

While tourism generates substantial revenue, a significant portion of it may not benefit local communities. Foreign-owned businesses often repatriate profits, leaving only a fraction of the economic benefits within Indonesia . This leakage limits the positive impact of tourism on local economies.

Understanding the negative impacts of tourism in Indonesia is the first step towards more responsible and sustainable travel. As travelers, we have a role to play in minimizing these adverse effects. Supporting local businesses, respecting local cultures, and advocating for responsible tourism practices can help preserve Indonesia’s natural beauty , cultural heritage, and economic stability. By being conscientious travelers, we can ensure that future generations can enjoy the wonders of Indonesia without compromising its integrity.

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Impacts of Tourism in Ubud Bali Indonesia: a community-based tourism perspective

N M Ernawati 1 , N M Sudarmini 1 and N M R Sukmawati 1

Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd Journal of Physics: Conference Series , Volume 953 , The 2nd International Joint Conference on Science and Technology (IJCST) 2017 27–28 September 2017, Bali, Indonesia Citation N M Ernawati et al 2018 J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 953 012078 DOI 10.1088/1742-6596/953/1/012078

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1 Politeknik Negeri Bali, address: Jalan Kampus Bukit Jimbaran, Badung, Bali, Indonesia - 80364

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The impact of tourism is vital to be assessed to measure the results of the development, in order to maximize the benefits gained from tourism. Academics are encouraged to conduct research on this field. This study aims to identify the impact of tourism in Ubud tourist destination, Bali, Indonesia. It is a quantitative method, study using survey method, and Factor analysis, Frequency and Mean analyses as analytical tools. The impact of tourism is assessed against impact measurement instrument developed by Koster and Randall. The study used a sample of 170 respondents consisting of teenagers, productive age population, and senior citizens of Ubud. The result of the Average analysis shows that the impact of tourism in Ubud in general lies at 1.9 which indicates that the people are agreed that the impact of tourism in Ubud is positive. Factor analysis classified the impacts of tourism based on the positive or negative influences inflicted on society. Further, the four Factors extracted show: Factor 1 indicates areas of the most obvious positive impact, Factor 4 lies the issues, wherein the community members disagree that tourism effects Ubud positively. It is expected that the analysis of tourism impacts at Ubud could be used as an input by tourism stakeholders in developing a plan for future tourism in Ubud tourist destination, and to anticipate and mitigate the undesirable impacts that may occur and in order to maximise the positive results from tourism.

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Reshaping Tourism Industry in Indonesia: The Attraction of Halal Tourism Practices and the Drive of Digitainability

  • First Online: 31 May 2024

Cite this chapter

negative impacts of tourism in indonesia

  • Farah Hida Sharin 3 ,
  • Ilham Sentosa 3 ,
  • Martin Spraggon 4 ,
  • Ni Luh Putu Indiani 5 &
  • I Made Suniastha Amerta 5  

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Tourism is undeniably a burgeoning industry segment, as Muslim visitors actively seek sites that cater to their specific requirements, such as dietary restrictions, appropriate attire, and religious ceremonies. There has been a significant increase in the market for halal tourism. Nevertheless, there is a dearth of study on the extent to which Muslim tourists are content with their experiences in non-Muslim nations based on the significance and effectiveness of Islamic characteristics. Contemporary organisations include tourism operators necessitate resource orchestration to a greater extent due to their predominant emphasis on immediate profits, disregarding any contemplation of the future. Entrepreneurial capabilities are essential in reshaping the tourism industry for successfully operating in the dynamic and chaotic business environment, and satisfying client demands especially related to halal tourism concern. This research suggests a strategic framework to transform the tourist business in Indonesia. It identifies entrepreneurial bricolage and adaptable capability as the main factors, halal tourism practices as the mediator, and digitainability as the moderator. The proposed framework validates this perspective, as the main catalysts of economic performance are an intricate interplay of internal and external factors that impact tourism through digitalisation and alignment with halal concerns. By analysing the connections between different variables and applying the Dynamic Capabilities View and Diffusion of Innovation theories, this proposed strategic framework can confirm Indonesia's appeal as a halal tourism destination. Further investigation is necessary to gain a deeper understanding of the several crucial factors that will ensure the efficacy of this framework in the sector.

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Sharin, F.H., Sentosa, I., Spraggon, M., Indiani, N.L.P., Amerta, I.M.S. (2024). Reshaping Tourism Industry in Indonesia: The Attraction of Halal Tourism Practices and the Drive of Digitainability. In: Rahman, N.A.A., Ali, M.H. (eds) Emerging Technology and Crisis Management in The Halal Industry. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-97-1375-2_7

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