Sunday, July 17, 2011

Irrigation Organisation Demands Share of Tourism Revenue


Members of a traditional irrigation organisation in Tabanan claim that they reap none of the benefits from tourism created by the panorama of rice terraces that they maintain.

Representatives of the Jatiluwih subuk (irrigation organisation) in Penebel district say that an entry fee charged to tourists wanting to view their fields raises around Rp25 million (US$2,938) a month, but say that none of it reaches the organisation responsible for maintaining the photogenic landscape.

Speaking on Sunday, Krishna, a member of the Jatiluwih subuk, said that 20 percent of the monthly takings were used to pay ticket salesmen, and to maintain their ticket booth. The remainder was split equally between the Tabanan government and village organisations.

“The government gets around Rp10 million, and the village gets Rp10 million,” Krishna said, but he added that none of that went to the subuk.

According to Krishna 35 percent of the village share went to the elected village government to fund infrastructure work and development while 39 percent went to Jatiluwih customary leaders and 26 percent to their counterparts in the neighbouring Gunung Sari hamlet.

“Meanwhile, the Jatiwulih subuk maintains around 303 hectares and yet we’re not getting any of the levy,” he said, adding that without the local agricultural landscape there would be no tourism revenue at all.

“Tourists come here to see the wide expanse of tiered ricefields. Those ricefields are managed by the subuk,” he said.

According to Krishna any cut which the subuk received from the revenues would be used to maintain and repair the extensive network of irrigation ditches that waters the ricefields.

Foreign tourists visiting Jatiwulih are charged Rp10,000 (US$1.18) each to see the ricefields, and are issued with tickets printed by the regency government.

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