Dive Tourism in Coral Reefs - Impacts and Conditions for Sustainability:

A Case Study from Desa Pemuteran (Bali / Indonesia)


Nicole Piskurek


University of Eichstadt, Germany




This case study from Desa Pemuteran (Bali / Indonesia) investigated the dive tourism in coral reefs and the impact and conditions for sustainability. Desa Pemuteran is a village in the north-western part of the Indonesian island Bali. Tourism there begun in 1992 and is still on a small-scale basis due to the remoteness of the area. During the period of research from which this paper is written (1997), there were only two bungalow resorts and three dive centres (one just starting up) in the same bay.

As scuba diving is a booming segment in the tourism industry all over the world and especially in the tropics with a high annual growing rate, it is a usual consequence that conflicts between the economic valuation and the conservation of coral reefs on which dive tourism depends may occur.

This paper took different sides of sustainability and sustainable development into consideration. On the one hand the dive tourists at Pemuteran were interviewed by the means of a questionnaire also to find out about their demands and level of satisfaction concerning the opportunities of recreational activities offered in Pemuteran. The interviews were evaluated by the means of a statistical program (SPSS). On the other hand it was talked not only to locals working in the tourism but also to locals who aren’t really influenced by the tourism yet in order to learn about the possible socio-cultural impact on the locals. Those interviews were evaluated qualitatively and not quantitatively as the ones with the tourists.

Besides that the reefs used as dive spots were investigated in the way of the ‘Reef Check’ presented during the International Year of The Reef 1997.

In the long-term a balance between the economic goals of the people participating in the tourism, the socio-cultural requirements of the locals and the ecological needs of the nature should be reached.

It is concluded that the concept of carrying capacities and the critical threshold level are a good basis approach to guarantee a sustainable development. Different strategies like the rotation of dive sites, the limitation of access to the dive sites, the regulation of underwater photography, the search for alternative dive spots including artificial reefs, improving the divers’ education with emphasis on environmental awareness etc. can help to manage and preserve coral reefs as a tourist destination.

Summing up it could be said, that the dive tourism in Pemuteran is a good example for how dive tourism can be developed in a sustainable way with benefits for all people participating in any way in the tourism and with benefits for the environment at the same time, even though not everything is working perfectly yet.