Although tourism increases employment, raises incomes, brings valuable foreign exchange to the island and has helped improve the standard of living of vast numbers of Balinese, it's also a big part of the environmental problem.
This is especially true now that, due to the unregulated spread of alcohol licenses and discos, "beach" tourism has become dominant over "cultural" tourism.
In the 1990s the illegal mining of building materials-limestone, sand, rock-for hotel construction and airport extensions is out of hand, particularly in the Badung area. Typically, small violators are punished while the major criminals are left alone to go on wreaking havoc.
Because of the extensive harvesting of coral for the tourist industry, many reefs around Bali have been totally destroyed. To prevent further erosion of beachfront, long, ugly concrete jetties have been built in Nusa Dua and Candidasa.
The construction of a monumental gold statue of Garuda on the Nusa Dua Peninsula, an Rp 80 million monstrosity rivaling the Statue of Liberty, is underway. Other depredations include a gigantic statue of Garuda in the main Tuban intersection and the huge Nirwana Hotel Resort in Tabanan Regency.
The cause of reigning in unchecked tourism development was not helped by Bali's governor, Ida Bagus Oka, who seems to have the tendency to blithely rubber-stamp any project that originates in Jakarta.
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