Towards an alternative Tourism
Our View on Tourism
Today the orientation of the traveling activities and the tourism in general has swung the pendulum. More and more travelers are aware of the impact of their journeys over a territory and commence to try out an alternative way of traveling. In one hand, they wish their traveling activities benefit fairly to the local people and want to contribute to sustainable development of their region. On the other hand, they wish to have a direct contact and to make relation with the local people in order to understand and to soak up their culture and tradition as well as their way of life. Thank to the special services by the local providers and local organizations, this expectation is not without end but quite feasible without neglecting the quality of their vacations. These travelers are finally successful to make use of their journey as a means of cultural communication between nations resulting in a unique and unforgettable experience.
"Fair Travel" and International Solidarity
The idea of 'fair-travel' came to us throughout our experience in guiding the tour program offered by big tour operators overseas, and there has been important things that we could learn from it. First, we have seen a very weak fairness in the distribution of resources between the travel designers (read : tour operators) and real actors in the field (read : local service providers). On the other hand, we also noticed the disappointment among the travelers regarding the organization of their holidays in our island, and this seems to have brought about a less friendly image to our island and our country (see section "About us"). This state of affair has led us to think and to develop another different approach to tourism and traveling activities on our island that can probably be offered to ‘future travelers’.
From our point of view,”fair-travel" is first of all concerned with “you” - the travelers. It is about “choice” that you make related to the way of traveling. You are the consumer as well as the primary initiator of this process. You choose Bali - our island as an ultimate destination of your holiday and then decide at the very beginning to get in touch with us (the local designer as well as the local actor) to realize your travel plans on the spot. The effect of your choice is fair only if there is no in-between in this relationship. The purchase and other expense you make during your trip on the spot regardless of the amount constitute a real, direct and valuable contribution to the local people, to the sustainable development of their territory and also a great support to the local fair trade.
What is more, the fair-travel that you choose will benefit not only to the local community in terms of the economic fallout, but it allows you traveling more closely to the reality and the authentic side of the country while offering you the opportunity to learn more in person about the country – its environment, its culture and tradition and the way of life of its people. By this way, you will gain a better understanding of our island and understanding of yourself, all of which is an excellent base to grow up a sense of international solidarity.
So, Bali Essential is created to achieve the following purposes :
• To benefit to the Economy of the local Community.
It's been over 30 years since we developed the mass tourism in Bali. Until the late of 2005, we have counted 25.5 million tourists from all over the world coming to Bali. Then in 2008, the Bali Chamber of Tourism has set the total number of visiting tourists to 31 million. It is really fantastic ! One might think that this phenomenal contribution from the tourism industry must have been able to raise significantly the life of the population of the island. But it's not unfortunately the case. More or less than 20% of expenses made by the tourists is left on the island, while the other 80% are repatriated by the western companies (airline companies, hotel chain, tour operators, etc.).
The creation of 'Bali Essential' is an effort by a small group of young people who cannot stand watching the tourism practices more and more destructive and demoralizing to the local population. At least, this intervention could motivate the others to think about the way how to counteract such practices.
In our mind, this tourism development should be more in favor of the local population, and the tourism practice itself should therefore benefit to the local population as well. Back to our activity related to tourism, we prefer to keep our clients away from tourist-crowded places by taking them to the remote and quite areas so they can discover the authentic side and the reality of the country. The people who live in such regions are hardly affected by the fallout of tourism activities that often take place before their eyes. We hope therefore that the expenses made by the travelers during their visits for meals and some other shopping can benefit to the local people who actually need it very much, and not only to the "intermediate". For this reason, some alternative options of tourism services such as the 'organization of home stay', staying in hotels held by the local people, eating in small local restaurants, shopping in small local shop, buying small handicrafts in the village are very helpful and good solutions to achieve adequately this ambition.
• To prioritize the Services provided by the local People.
In organizing touristic activities for our clients like hiking, biking, cooking classes, scuba diving, rafting, etc.), we prefer to work in partnership with local service providers, with friends and with village organizations. We are sure that these people really need the economic fallout to improve their daily life and to support the education of their children while motivating them to improve the quality of their services. We hope, this can be of a good help to the population of the visited regions (our partners, our friends, the small craftsmen in the small isolated villages, and those whom we encounter frequently in the countryside), or at least this action can slow down the exodus of the young people to go to the town.
• To permit the Travelers to have personal Contact with the local Population.
We are also committed to take you to the circumstance where you have the opportunity to encounter the local population, exchanging with them and exploring their culture, their traditions and their way of life. This experience is accessible for everyone provided that he/she agrees to respect the local values (culture, beliefs, life custom, environment, etc.). Besides, we avoid as much as possible the places crowded by the tourists and take you to the quieter and more peaceful sites, pass on the small roads, walk down in the rice fields, cross the small villages, visit traditional markets, stay in lodge house, eat in a small outlet run by local people. This kind of travel organization does not necessarily neglect the quality of your discovery and exploration of the fabulous places of interest.
• To encourage the Travelers to take responsible Actions towards the local Culture, Customs and Environment.
To ensure the smooth running of your whole stay and trips on the island, we attempt to make our clients aware of the local culture, tradition, people and our environment so that they can develop good attitudes and responsible actions towards the local values. We always inform the travelers about the local rules and local norms. For example, in Bali there is a dress code to be respected before entering into a temple, not to pass before the pilgrims in prayer, not to touch someone's head, even with a small child, use always the right hand when getting in touch with someone, etc.
All Services tackled by local Providers
• Undisputable Knowledge and Experience in the Field.
Our team is composed of Balinese people who are born and raised in Bali and have always been living with our culture and our tradition. Therefore, we know our island and our country very well, better than those who have just been staying on the island for some times. Similarly, our expertise in tourism develops over time through our experience over the years. More than just a simple agent, we are a team of "real craftsmen" who are constantly in search of new horizons in order to give a more unusual color to our range of services. In addition, we are not less responsive to all your questions and requests about your travel plans on our island.
• By a Teamwork consisting of local People.
In Bali there are a great number of tour guides of different languages, who come from all over Indonesia, even quite a few coming from overseas and working there in secret. However, we still hold tightly our initial principle in order that our team consists solely of original Balinese tour guides. However, beware...! It's not a racist way of thinking. We have a very good reason for this, that is, to give more opportunities to the Balinese tour guides. We wish you getting more information about Bali, about our culture, about our tradition and about our way of life. When you make a trip and excursion around Bali, it is not only about “what you see visually” but also “what lies behind the vision” in front of you. Our experience shows that only those who are living with their culture and tradition and experienced enough in the profession are competent and eloquent to tell you about their culture, about their tradition and about their philosophy of life, and oftentimes this information outreaches of your guide book. On the contrary, we will regret so much if any of our tour guides turns you away from visiting the fabulous cultural sites simply because he/she doesn’t have enough information to tell, and this is unfortunate.
• With a Will to limit the Capacity of Reception.
To ensure the quality of our services, we keep our first commitment: to voluntarily limit our capacity to accept clients because it is impossible for us to accommodate everyone. Beside that, we are not a big team, and therefore we will look at the availability of our guides and our hotel partners. We prefer to accept few guests so that we can take care of them better. For this reason, we invite you to take out several months in advance because every year we are often forced to turn people away. For those who plan to travel to Bali and to make some tours and trips there during the peak season between July and August, it is better to reserve their stay (accommodation, guide, trips) at least ten months in advance in order to get what they really want.