Tourism Leads to Land Conflict, Says Academic

JIMBARAN

The spate of recent land disputes in Bali has been exacerbated by rapid tourism development and changes of usage, a senior scholar has warned.

I Nyoman Sirtha of Udayana University’s law department said the dramatic rise in land prices caused by tourism had led to tensions, such as those between Budaga and Kemoning village sin Klungkung, which resulted in the death of a 52-year-old man last week.

“Almost every plot of land in Bali now has high economic value, especially in tourist areas,” he said, adding that this gave extra impetus to disputes over plots of land that had not previously been coveted by local residents. Temple land was often uncertified he said, because the spot had been under long continuous use.

“Land that has not been declared via a legal ownership certificate can become a source of communal conflict. People might claim that it is their land for the sake of money,” he said.

With land prices in major tourist areas such as Kuta now as high as Rp10 million (US$1,126) per square metre, such conflicts were likely to continue, Sirtha said, despite the fact that violent incidents would likely damage tourism.

“Conflicts could discourage tourists from visiting this island. Therefore, it is vital to maintain security,” he said.

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