Sustainable and inclusive spiritual tourism development in Bali as a long-term post-pandemic strategy

Jaeyeon Choe, Luh Putu Mahyuni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
145 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic caused devastating socio-economic impacts in tourism destinations around the world. Many governments and tourism authorities could use the pandemic to seek more sustainable tourism development futures; for example, pre-pandemic Bali’s ‘tourism boom’ barely benefited local people and local businesses because of economic leakage and ‘tourist bubbles’. With an increasing demand on spiritual travel in the post pandemic period, Bali is seeking new opportunities as a spiritual tourism destination. This opportunity is based on their rich cultural and natural resources, and living heritage that can be related to spiritual tourism activities. This spiritual tourism development can contribute to local communities by creating sustainable livelihoods and providing diverse income sources as well as helping revitalise the local spiritual culture. However, tourism activities should be connected to, involve and empower local people and communities. Beyond the luxury yoga resort developments, governments, tourism authorities and large businesses should invest in supporting small-scale spiritual tourism businesses, so as to build more sustainable and inclusive spiritual tourism futures. This type of development would serve evolving tourist interests, as greater numbers of tourists prefer small-scale, community-based and cultural experiences, prefer to travel to remote and rural areas, and like to engage in spiritual practices and activities for their psychological recovery. Therefore, any post COVID-19 tourism recovery strategy must focus on the poorest communities in rural Bali where poverty rates accelerated during the pandemic. Authorities in Bali and similar destinations should support more opportunities for the poor and offer investment, education, and appropriate training programmes to reduce poverty and develop sustainable communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Pages (from-to)100-111
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Bali
  • COVID-19
  • Indonesia
  • Southeast Asia
  • spiritual tourism
  • sustainable tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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