As Tourism Rises, So Does Poverty

Even as Bali experiences an economic boom fuelled by tourism, the level of poverty in urban areas is on the increase, according to officials.

According to government spokesman Ketut Teneng, a total of 92,000 urban residents across the island were recorded as living below the poverty line last year, an increase of 9000 from 2010.

Teneng said that the urban poverty was a result of a mix of increasing urbanisation with existing and previously rural poor communities being subsumed into growing cities, and poor people from the countryside moving to urban areas in search of work.

“Urbanisation has caused many social and environmental problems in urban areas, including a lack of housing, sanitation problems and increasing crime rates,” Teneng said.

Teneng said that despite the increasing urban poverty, in rural areas rates of poverty had dropped, from 91,000 in 2010 to 73,000 in 2011.

He said the provincial government’s Simantri integrated agricultural scheme had helped improve conditions for farmers, which not only alleviated rural poverty but also helped dissuade economic migrants from leaving rural areas to head for cities in search of work.

The programme provides assistance to farmer expanding and diversifying their trade.

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