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Evolution of the image of Bali as a touristic destination : a comparative approach between international and domestic tourism


Thèse de Sari NI PUTU SARTIKA (ESO Angers)
Direction :
Financement :
  • Bourse du gouvernement


In the beginning of the 20th century, tourism in Bali had attracted attention of various parties. Tourism in Bali was initially born abroad (Pickel-Chevalier & Sari, 2016) during Dutch colonialization; in their tourism brochure, Bali was promoted as "the Gem of the Lesser Sunda Isles” (Picard, 1990: 37-74; Howe, 2005:18-37; Hitchcock, 2009). This promotional activity did work in attracting tourists to visit and to explore Bali. It is reported by Tourism in Netherlands East Indies magazine in 1927 that 213 tourists visited Bali in 1924 and then increased by 480 tourists in 1926; some of them were artists and intellectuals coming from Europe and America who then played important role in advertising and shaping tourism in Bali. In less than 10 years the visits were increasing as reported by Tourism in Netherlands East Indies, it was 1,428 people in 1929 and then it was reaching 3,000 people in 1934.

The inauguration of Ngurah Rai international airport in 1969 was the starting point of the widely open international tourism in Bali. It was more than 24,000 of foreign tourists came to Bali in 1970 as reported by Bali Tourism Office and almost reached 150,000 foreign visitors in 1980. Meanwhile, after the war of independence, the state government has also reinforced domestic tourism with the purpose of nationality and economic objective. Thanks to its promotional activities, the number of tourists coming to Bali in 2015 reached its target.

Beginning in 1920s, under a two-stage marginalization (Sylvine and Violier, 2013) – as minority religion in the archipelago area (Brown, 2003; Vickers, 2012) and under colonialization but also political centrality in Java (Picard, 1996) – tourism in Bali is created. Being shaped by Dutch government and Western artists, Bali began generating international tourists into the island. That is tourism in Bali rooted in culture and nature. Toward political integration of the nation-state after independence, tourism in Bali is therefore used as an engine for development of the country, largely organized by the central actors.

Currently, Bali is hosting 7,147,100 of international tourists and 4,001,835 of domestic tourist in 2015(Bali Tourism Statistic, 2016). Contemporary tourists to Bali are coming from variety of geographical origins. Bali is visiting by foreigners with 966,869 Australians, followed by 688,469 Chinese, but also 228,185 Japanese, 190,381 Malaysians, 152,866 South Koreans and 146,660 Singaporeans representing the largest contribution. Australia has been at the top list for many years. It has been a favorite holiday destination since 1970’s (Sobocinska, 2011). Following Australia, some Asian countries including China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore appeared to be the largest contribution. According to MIT (2011) and Violier (2013), the third tourist revolution is notably characterized by the appropriation of the tourism by the non-western societies. The European is taking the next position, namely, UK is in the top European list with 167,628 tourists, followed by France with 131,451 visitors, Germany with 120,348 visitors, the Netherlands with 81,678 tourists and Italy with 33,266 visitors.

The flow of International and domestic tourists arrival questioned the accusation of homogenization generated by tourism in the context of globalization. This research is analyzing the most important issues of social and cultural practices in the context of international tourism flow; that is questioning the convergence toward a common set of tourist behavior and practices as well as the diversity of tourist activities in relation to space, and time. Different tourist from different geographical background displays a wide mixture of motivations. The island could accommodate all together from wealthy hedonist, conventional package tourist, adventurous travelers, tranquillity seeker, spiritual believer and just-for-fun visitors. In relation to time and space, this island is an excellent place to analyze tourist behavior and the diversity of their activities. This research is analyzing several problems; 1) How does the international and domestic diffusion of the tourism create a homogenization or a diversification of tourist practices in Bali? 2) What are the influencing factors in shaping either homogenization or diversification of tourist practices in Bali? 3) As a result of tourism globalization, how does a new model of tourism practice emerge through cultural hybridization? 4) How tour operators from different country origin are projecting the image of Bali through the tourism activities they sold? 5) How Bali tourist guides appropriate the activities proposed to tourists in relation to their perception about international and domestic tourists’ behavior?