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Partners in Paradise

Tourism Practices, Heritage Policies, and Anthropological Sites


Robert J. Shepherd

How and why do some places in the world become symbols of illusive paradise, and what does this mean for their residents? Moving between anthropology, tourism, and the increasingly influential cultural heritage movement, Partners in Paradise examines the origins of a Euro-American fascination with places imagined to exist outside of Modernity. Focusing on the emergence of Tibet and Bali as, in turn, anthropological field sites, tourist destinations, and cultural heritage sites, it argues that the work of academic researchers, tourists, and cultural preservationists inform and constitute each other, in the process constructing particular places as «paradise». Unpacking this process is a necessary first step in understanding how Tibetans and Balinese negotiate their place in a modern world in which the meaning of «paradise» is contested. Drawing on anthropology, history, and tourist studies, Partners in Paradise offers a unique lens on the politics of development, modernization, and cultural preservation.


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Chapter V: Marketing Paradise: The Bali Tourism Project 77


Chapter Five Marketing Paradise: The Bali Tourism Project Following the Japanese invasion and occupation of the Dutch East Indies in early 1942, Bali’s expatriate community of writers, academics, tourist promo- ters, and colonial agents fled to Australia or were interned in concentration camps in east and central Java. After the Pacific war ended in 1945, the island was engulfed in the conflict between returning Dutch forces and independence fighters. A peace treaty was not signed until 1949. By the early Fifties the marketing of Bali as Indonesia’s paradise island resumed (Republic of Indone- sia, 1957). These early promotion efforts culminated in the opening of the Bali Beach Hotel at Sanur, financed by Indonesia’s President Sukarno with Japanese war reparations. Sukarno was overthrown in a 1965 military coup which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of people. The new government under President Suharto declared a “New Order”, under which foreign investment was encouraged and party politics restricted. Tourism was also officially proclaimed a key tool of nation-building (K. Adams 1997: 157). This decree led to a 1971 World Bank-funded “Master Plan” for the development of Bali as an international tourist destination, a plan implemented beginning in 1975 as the Bali Tourism Project. As part of this project the airport near the island’s administrative capital, Denpassar, was upgraded to serve international arrivals, visa requirements for foreign tourists were eased, and tax incentives were granted for foreign investment in the tourist sector (Lansing 1995: 115). Most importantly, a spatial zone for...

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