A province of Indonesia, Bali is an island of natural beauty known for its forested volcanic mountains, rice paddies, gorgeous beaches and coral reefs as well as for its religious sites and yoga/meditation retreats. The island is an incredibly popular tourist destination, which has seen a significant rise in tourists since the 1980s (Vickers, A. 2013). Tourism-related business makes up 80% of its economy (Time, 2002; Baker, A. 2003) and in March 2017, TripAdvisor named Bali the world’s top destination in its Traveller’s Choice Award (Nzherald.co.nz, 2017).
Ecotourism, in short, is tourism that operates in relatively wild and natural areas. Bali has the potential to develop its ecotourism sector even further, especially with the rise of eco-resort holidays and the increased interest in a more spiritual, ‘down to earth’ lifestyle. However, with the boost in tourism to the area comes impacts – but Bali’s culture has stayed the same and has grown alongside globalisation, which makes the Balinese civilisation different from other destinations that have been negatively impacted by globalisation.
But despite the culture being somewhat unaffected by the increase in visitor numbers, the need to preserve and protect the local environment and its primates becomes ever more important. With an influx in tourists comes the need for new infrastructure such as more hotels or the improvement of roads. This ultimately comes at a cost, not just financially but it can impact the environment as well; for example, deforestation or even trampling of local flora from a tourist that strays from the designated path.
In creating eco-resorts, it not only supports the conservation efforts and the protection of wildlife and the local environment in which it operates, but it promotes eco-tourism in a positive way and creates awareness amongst the tourists so that they come away from their holiday being more informed about the impacts than when they came. Eco-resorts can also do things such as giving a share of the monetary benefits to local communities, employing local people and using locally produced food, all whilst providing the visitor with a nature-based experience that is sustainable and still of quality.
An example of an eco-resort is the four-star Puri Dajuma, situated in West Bali. Founded in 1998 by a family of French origin, the resort makes up a small village run by two families from Indonesia and Europe. They have 50 employees who are from the surrounding villages. Boasting 18 cottages, 2 suites and 5 villages, plus a spa & wellness centre and beach-front dining with 3 restaurants and 4 bars, this is an eco-friendly paradise.
Puri Dajuma Beach Eco-Resort & Spa’s aims for a sustainable eco-resort are objectives such as zero marine pollution and the support of local communities and projects, as well as others such as using compost from organic waste, recycling glass and plastic, and collecting rain water.
At Dajuma, they care about Bali and are a part of BOOKGREENER, a network of leading resorts in
sustainability. They are just one of many properties on the island that have taken extra steps to minimise the negative impacts (waste, water, energy, pollution) as well as make sure they take good care of their employees.
In conclusion, the eco-resort that I have chosen to highlight in this blog post is a brilliant example of what a sustainable eco-resort should strive to be, and it has the possibility to influence other hotels, resorts and tour operators to follow in their steps by reducing their waste consumption, taking care of their employees and locally sourcing them, as well as using local food and preserving the natural environment around them.