Since tourism took off on this tropical island paradise, throngs of visitors and development projects have taken their toll on its ecology. The necessary infrastructure to deal with high-rise hotels and large resort towns has not adequately kept up with the environmental strain. Yet there are efforts to combat pollution, clean up affected areas and encourage the kind of development that benefits the local people, while preserving the natural ecology of the island. These efforts strive to create a Bali that visitors and locals alike will love, respect and enjoy far into the future. In short: a sustainable Bali.
Surfing is in essence a sustainable activity and can contribute to achieving a sustainable Bali. Yet tourism efforts within surfing, along with tourism across the board, must be conscious of the environment in all related matters – from accommodation to equipment to holding major surfing events. Surfers contributing to a sustainable Bali include those involved with Soul Surf Project Bali and the R.O.L.E. Foundation (Eco Surf Rescue).
Based on a study conducted by the Bali Tourism Agency, a new program aims to contribute towards a people-focused sustainable Bali by developing 100 villages across the island for community-based tourism.
From the Jakarta Post:
The program will integrate every rural activity — agricultural or creative industry — into tourism activities.
Every village must have something different from the others; we are trying to explore their best potential to be developed as rural tourist sites.
Some villages have modest tourist-related facilities, such as home stays, basic roads and generally improved facilities to showcase their rural activities.
–I Ketut Astra, head of research and development, Bali Tourism Agency
While tourism is usually a double-edged sword, it is increasingly seen as the only way of preserving local environments and cultures in a changing world economy. If it is precisely natural beauty and vibrant tradition that attract tourists, then it makes economic as well as ecological and ethnological sense to preserve these very things. That’s what a sustainable Bali is all about.