Destinations: Cultural Landscapes of Tourism

By Greg Ringer | Go to book overview

3

LANDSCAPE RESOURCES, TOURISM AND LANDSCAPE CHANGE IN BALI, INDONESIA

Geoffrey Wall

Tourism is both an agent of preservation and change of landscapes and landscape elements. Many destination areas are noted for their special landscapes, and tourism provides an impetus and an economic rationale for preserving valued features. At the same time, the introduction of tourists into an area, plus the facilities to cater to their needs, inevitably results in landscape change. In some situations, as in many coastal and mountain resorts, the growth of tourism can result in the creation of novel landscapes which are so strongly influenced by tourism that it is reasonable to label them as tourist regions with tourism landscapes. Thus tourism is at the same time both a conservative and a radical force in landscape evolution.

The pace and scale of change associated with tourism vary considerably from place to place and, for any particular place, from time to time. Also, traditional, relict, modified and new landscape features may be juxtaposed in a kaleidoscope of land uses and visual forms. Furthermore, these features may have different meanings to different people. At a very basic level, for residents, the landscape may be one associated primarily with work and everyday living, whereas for visitors it may be a landscape of pleasure experienced in a brief sojourn. In some developing countries where the tourism economy is dominated by outside investors, the landscape may reflect differential access to power, with tourism being viewed as a form of neo-colonialism by many local people and as a means of development by an elite (Nash 1989).

Even where the same features are valued by both tourists and visitors, they may be valued for different reasons: perhaps as sites and places to be lived in and possessing profound personal, cultural and religious significance for local residents, as compared with sights to be viewed, passed by and, perhaps, captured on film by the traveler (Hull and Revell 1989). The differences in backgrounds and interests between locals and visitors suggest that it may be necessary to interpret the local landscape and its meanings to visitors, and a

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