Published July 19, 2011
Who would believe that there is such a thing as too many tourists? But that appears to be the reality in the case of Indonesian Bali.
Often dubbed the Island of the Gods, Bali–that prides itself in a reputation of a haven of tranquility and peace, of wondrous beaches and spiritual atmosphere–lives off tourism.
The country should ideally hold a population of 1.5 million. In reality, 4 million inhabitants live there. An additional 2.5 million tourists arrived there last year, which is a 25% increase on previous two years.
With so much attention, problems are starting to pile up, including water shortages, increasing crime and polluted beaches. Local officials are rather slow in admitting to these issues, and are currently planning to create a second airport to cater for a wave of Chinese middle-class tourists who are expected to start arriving soon.
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While the 2002 and 2005 terrorist attacks in Bali targeted Western travellers, the Indonesian island has now returned to pre-2002 visitor numbers. And such news would have been fantastic, if only there were no side-effects of such great tourist influx.
While EAT, PRAY and LOVE, a US film starring Julia Roberts shot in Bali may have contributed to the return of U.S and Australian visitors, the planned visit of US President Barack Obama should be a definite confirmation Bali is safe again. Furthermore, the East Asia Summit takes place there in November 2011, which is yet another event of great strategic relevance.
Being in the spotlight is crucial for Bali to retain its glamorous tourist status; however, experts are starting to appeal to local officials to make them realise there is such a thing as too many tourists.
The Top 5 Offbeat Travel Tours
Meanwhile, Womansday.com presents ‘The Top 5 Offbeat Travel Tours’ aimed at meeting the expectations of diverse travellers: No matter if you like it historical, literary, spooky, or adventurous, the top 5 offbeat travel tours have it all. Here they are:
1. Baltimore Street Tour: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
The Ghosts of Gettysburg walking tours based on Mark Nesbitt’s book, Ghosts of Gettysburg, are perfect for Civil War history fans. The tour begins in a courtyard, where disembodied voices have been recorded and a child has been spotted . . . a century after his death. Tour participants can also look forward to seeing the County Courthouse, (that witnessed the battle of Gettysburg and was filled to over-flowing with wounded soldiers) and now holds visitors from another world. The next stop is the church where so many amputations had to be done that holes in the floor had to be drilled to let the blood run out. The tour guides state that today a spectral undertaker continues to walk there.
2. Millennium Tour : Stockholm, Sweden
Experience Stockholm following the lives of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander , the main characters of Stieg Larsson’s three Millennium books (or the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series). Over 50 million people around the world read the books turned into films and TV series. During approximately two hours tourists can learn interesting facts not only about the books and the author but about Stockholm as well. The tour starts at Bellmangatan 1, where Mikael Blomkvist lives, then passes the Millennium editorial office, Lisbeth Salander’s luxury apartment and many other locations mentioned in the books and films.(Stadsmuseum.stockholm.se).
3. Jack the Ripper Tour and London Ghost Walk , London, UK
Popular Jack the Ripper Tours take brave tourists back in time when the infamous London serial killer lived and frightened the whole city. Over the three-hour long tour, often done after the sunset, the participants visit four of Jack’s murder sites in Whitechapel. The tour guide, an expert ‘Ripperologist’, vividly explains the history of the world’s first recognized serial killer. Moreover, for those who still have the stomach Berkeley Square is the perfect place to be. With London Ghost Walks you can explore this site of what was once called the “most haunted house in London.” (Walksoflondon.co.uk).
4. Dracula Tour , Transylvania, Romania
A week-long tour for the fans of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or Vlad the Impaler, includes Sighisoara, the birthplace of Dracula, Snagov Monastery with its tomb of the infamous ruler, as well as the Castle of Dracula in the Carpathian Mountains. Some itineraries however also cover the capital of Romania, Bucharest or Tokaj region where you can taste Dracula’s favorite wine.(Dracula-tour.com).
5. Day of the Jackal, London, England
Tourists admiring the characters of Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Day of the Jackal will love this day-long adventure. First the participants are taken by a helicopter to a secret place where they are trained by ex-Special Forces operatives. The intensive training session includes hands-on experience of the equipment and weaponry that the participants will be using. After the lunch the would-be spies get an opportunity to practice their new skills on a mission. Once the mission is complete, they are debriefed before returning to their hotel in an armored luxury vehicle.(Quintessentiallyescape.com).