Tourism is a ‘disaster’ for the poor: Governor

Written by on June 27, 2012 in Bali Environment with 0 Comments

Tourism is a ‘disaster’ for the poor: Governor

http://www.thejakartapost.com/bali-daily/2012-06-26/tourism-a-disaster-poor-governor.html

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by Ni Komang Erviani on 2012-06-26

Charming beach: Tourists enjoy the charm of Pemuteran Beach in north Bali. An increasing number of European visitors are choosing to holiday there to avoid the crowded beaches in southern Bali. BD/I Wayan Juniarta

The rapid development of the island’s tourism sector is not only apparently not having a positive impact on Bali’s people, it could, on the contrary, have a negative impact on people who are living in poverty if there is no intervention from the government.

“Tourism is a disaster for the poor. When the tourism sector is developed, the price of people’s daily needs become more expensive and, particularly for the poor, unaffordable,” Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika said in an evaluation meeting of the island’s poverty reduction program in Denpasar, Monday.

“For instance, in Buleleng, when tourism in the northern part of Bali has developed, at the same time, people who live in poverty will become poorer. Tourism also attracts many people from outside Bali to come and work here. The influx of these migrant workers will drive the price of food and other needs up,” Pastika said.

Without any attempt from the government to intervene and offset the condition, Pastika added, the development of tourism would result in numerous negative impacts.

“With the low income that the farmers receive, while the price of daily needs becomes more expensive, farmers won’t have any another choice except to sell their land. Being a farmer in this kind of economic setting could prevent them from improving their quality of life,” he added.

Pastika said that the vicious circle of poverty made poor people become poorer, while the rich became richer.

“The rich people will become richer, poor people become poorer, the strong people become stronger. The smart people become smarter, because they have more opportunity to access quality education and other facilities, while poor people can only access lower quality facilities. This creates an ever-widening social gap,” Pastika said.

Government programs, he admitted, should be tailored to solve this problem.

“The vicious circle of poverty should be broken. Government has the obligation to do this and to improve people’s welfare,” Pastika stressed.

The government program on eradicating poverty, however, is facing many problems. “The worst thing is there is no synergy between all the programs that are managed by the government,” said Pastika, admitting that the regional ad-ministrations had yet to achieve synergy.

“The administrations are still divided along the regions’ and agencies’ selfish egos, as well as political interests. This is our big task,” he added.

In an attempt to improve things, the Bali administration has designed a program to accelerate poverty eradication by empowering poor villages in the province. The program, called the Village Integrated Development Program (Gerbang Sadu) Bali Mandara, starts this year and has designated five villages as part of the pilot project. The program provides Rp 1 billion (US$106,000) of aid in cash for each village to kick off community-based economic enterprises. The enterprises are expected to provide a sustainable source of income, as well as job opportunities, for the villagers.

The administration has allocated Rp 5 billion from this year’s provincial budget for the initial phase of the program.

”We really hope this program can accelerate the poverty eradication program,” Pastika said.

Data from the Bali office of the Central Statistics Agency showed that Bali still had around 183,100 underprivileged residents, based on a national survey on socioeconomic conditions in September 2011.

This was an increase of 16,900 people compared to similar data in March last year, when 166,200 Bali residents were classified as poor. Bali ranked second, behind Jakarta, in its percentage of poor people.


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