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  The Nusa Dua

In 1974 the government concocted the Nusa Dua Experiment, calling for the construction of luxury hotels along the East Coast of the arid, thinly populated Bukit Peninsula. By offering foreign investors 50-year leases with maximum incentives and tax holidays, it was hoped the Nusa Dua resort would accommodate and contain the surge in visitors.

Nusa Dua constituted a major shift to elite tourism, planned as an isolated, self-contained ghetto that would allow visitors the experience of Bali but keep their interactions with the natives to a minimum. Because relatively few of the island's 2.7 million people live near the sea and few tourists want to stay anywhere else, the plan looked really good on paper. But the resort was very slow to develop. It was only in the 1980s that Nusa Dua finally came into its own. It wasn't until late in the decade those tourist projections were met.

In this Mediterranean-style, self-contained hotel resorts tourists can sun their near-naked bodies on white sandy beaches without scandalizing anyone and watch abbreviated pseudo-events performed in expensive hotel foyers. Those with a spirit of adventure may day-trip around the island in air-conditioned buses to pre-selected villages and tourist sites, leaving untainted the rest of Eden.

The early 1990s brought a more formal experiment in 'village tourism', wherein groups of tourists move discreetly in small numbers with a minimum of intrusion, making direct, low-impact contact with the Balinese. The idea is being tried in three Balinese villages, Jatiluwih (rice-planting and fabulous views), Penglipuran (a nearly Bali Aga village in Bangli), and Sebatu (woodcarving and other art forms).

Guests from the southern hotels experience something 'real' by joining day or weekend excursions to these villages. This cultural tourism is really just an extension of enclave-style tourist development, consistent with the policy of limiting and canalizing tourist development to minimize its impact on Balinese society.

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