Overtourism in Bali? Authorities Deny Overcrowding in Bali

Bali is indeed one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia. The surge in foreign tourists began after the pandemic, but has Bali started to experience overtourism?

One foreign media outlet addressed this and sparked discussion on the internet. Channel News Asia wrote that Bali is overrun with tourists in an article titled “Not quite the Bali it used to be? This is what overtourism is doing to the island.” However, the authorities or government denied the notion of Bali’s overtourism.

Nia Niscaya (Adyatama Tourism and Creative Economy Major Expert) emphasized that tourism in Bali’s current condition cannot be (called) overtourism. 

“In terms of statistics, it doesn’t seem to be overtourism, but there may be a distribution factor that concentrates in the southern part of Bali,” said Nia in The Weekly Brief with Sandi Uno (Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy) program at Sapta Pesona Building, as reported by KOMPAS.

Nia explained, referring to data on foreign tourist visits to Indonesia, that the number is lower when compared to the number of foreign tourist visits before the pandemic. 

“The number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia in 2019 was 16.11 million, and in 2023, the number was 11.68 million. This means that nationally, we have not returned to pre-pandemic times,” said Nia.

Meanwhile, the Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, said that the density of tourists in Bali was not due to overtourism or an explosion of tourists but because the distribution of tourists in Bali was uneven.

According to Tjok Bagus, tourists mostly crowd the South Bali area, including Kuta, Seminyak, Legian, Canggu, Tuban, and Kedonganan. 

To overcome this, several other regions are working on improving transportation infrastructure and highlighting tourist areas.

What is overtourism?

According to The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the term overtourism was first initiated and patented by the American online newspaper Skift

Since then, various definitions of overtourism have emerged. Skift defines overtourism as the negative impact of tourism on a destination, which affects the quality of life of local residents and the experience of visiting tourists.

Several tourist destinations, such as Bali, Barcelona, and Amsterdam, have been on Conde Nast Traveler’s list of overtourism predictions since 2018.

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