On 14 March, our Director Dr Stroma Cole was a guest lecturer at the Tourism and Social Justice Symposium at the Australia and International Tourism Research Unit at MONASH University in Melbourne, Australia. Her presentation Tourism, Water and Social Justice in Bali explored how, whilst governments and international organisations fanatically measure tourism in terms of arrival numbers and revenue, no one is measuring whether it has a detrimental impact on the very resources that sustain both residents and tourists.
Stroma’s seminar discussed what is happening in Bali in relation to one critical resource: water. Rapid and unchecked development of tourism has led to the mismanagement of water resources, causing social conflict and environmental problems. Those worst affected are the marginal communities at the fringes of social power, with little bargaining strength and little force in the political process. Women usually bear the brunt, as they are responsible for providing their families with water for domestic purposes. It is only a matter of time before Bali’s water crisis hits tourism and Bali’s economy.