Perceptions of Impacts and Development in a Cultural Tourism Hub: Ubud, Bali
Tourism provides a raft of economic benefits to destination communities, including employment, income, foreign investment, improved infrastructure and facilities. However, core benefits received are often juxtaposed with local concerns regarding economic, environmental and social impacts of tourism, such as seasonality, congestion, acculturation and foreign ownership. Much literature supports the notion that residents support tourism, as long as benefits derived outweigh any costs incurred. However, such studies have not specifically considered the perspectives of locals who work in the tourism industry. Consequently, the aim of this research is to explore the perceptions of locals employed in the tourism industry of Ubud, Bali, towards further development. To achieve this objective a series of 21 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with Balinese locals employed in the tourism industry were undertaken. The interviews were conducted with the help of a bilingual university-educated local “gatekeeper”, and were audio recorded, transcribed and then analysed using open, axial and selective coding to identify common themes. Key findings revealed that respondents value their community and surroundings, due primarily to the village feel, scenery and climate. Respondents showed concern for the potential of tourism development changes to Ubud such as modern, western style accommodation, loss of traditional farming land and increased traffic. However, many were equally appreciative of the benefits received from tourism such as job opportunities, economic development, opportunities for cultural creativity and improvements to the local infrastructure and facilities. Respondents expressed a desire for more tourists to travel to Ubud whilst keeping development levels sustainable for future generations. While an increase in tourists and job opportunities in the future was welcomed by most respondents, some also stipulated that authorities must maintain control of tourism development, limiting the number and scale of new hotels and restaurants whilst preserving the physical environment and culture. Long-term tourism industry employees tended to express more caution about further tourism development in Ubud as opposed to recently employed locals. Distance was also a key factor, with locals with a workplace situated further away from the centre of Ubud more likely to support further development than those who worked in the centre of town. These findings suggest that locals employed in tourism in Ubud would likely support further development if located away from the centre of town and built according to Balinese tradition and local developmental regulations. Younger respondents also were more supportive of future development than older respondents citing job creation and career opportunities as incentives. Future research should consider perceptions of residents in destination communities not directly employed in the tourism industry to compare and contrast their views on the impacts of tourism and future development with those who are tourism industry employees. In addition, future research should enhance the conceptual clarity surrounding issues of how tourism and future development impacts destination communities of unique culture and traditions.
Balancing Development and Sustainability in Tourism Destinations: Proceedings of the Tourism Outlook Conference 2015
Tourism not elsewhere classified