Children of tanjung Setia Sumatra

Bali arrives in Krui Sumatra

Since the launch of the WSL Krui Pro in 2017 local residents and businesses have been waiting for the inevitable wave of surfers to arrive. The COVID-19 years and their aftermath kept that wave at bay but it finally broke on the shores of Sumatra in June 2023. Soon Krui was brimming with refugees from the lost paradise of Bali in search of a new destination.

Cultural ignorance or insensitivity ?

Krui surf spots became dominated by surfer dudes posing for their next hero shot while their G-string clad camera women paraded in front of the local Muslim families. Local children who previously sold banana fritters and donuts quickly adapted to their new clientele and began peddling organic narcotics in the surf camps and backroads.

It's now August and the new arrivals remain blissfully unaware of the social impact their foreigner's dream of a New Bali is having.

Children walking on Labuhan Jukung beach Krui Sumatra Foreign tourist Tanjung Setia Sumatra

Clearly cultural ignorance had reached a new high when more than a few well educated foreign visitors were surprised to discover the population of Lampung is Muslim and cultural insensitvity rife when a bikini clad woman visiting the Krui market was indignant about the hostile reception she received.

On the surface Gilbert Chesterto summed it up when he wrote

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.

First world privilege and neo-colonial tourism

However below the surface of simplified labels like traveler and tourist lies the ugly face of first world privilege which enables the destructive force of neo-colonial tourism with its ever-expanding appetite to colonize and consume new places.

Nirvanification (J. Ponting et al., 2005) of the Krui area has begun. And like the Mentawais, Costa Rica and Bali it seems the local community will bear the burden and suffer marginalisation from the economic benefits.

Reference List

Ponting, J., McDonald, M., & Wearing, S.L. (2005). De-Constructing Wonderland: Surfing Tourism in the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia. Loisir et Société / Society and Leisure, 28, 141 - 162. Link.

Tara Ruttenberg (2014). Stealing Pura Vida: Surf Tourism on Trial in Costa Rica. Link.