Save The Waves teamed with Conservation International, the Center For The Blue Economy, and Project Clean Uluwatu to initiate an economic valuation study based on the direct expenditures of surfing tourists at Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia. The goal of this study was to gather data to support local management of the marine and coastal resources of Uluwatu and the Bukit Peninsula. 

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Uluwatu has a prosperous tourism industry, yet the findings of this research present a common paradox in tourist-driven development. The attributes of Uluwatu that have facilitated economic development may be adversely affected by that very development, thus reducing the potential for further expansion into the future. Such an outcome (frequently observed in many tourist destinations such as Torremolinos in Spain, Pattaya in Thailand etc) is clearly unsustainable. To explain the local and regional significance of the development paradox this study has quantified the direct expenditure associated with the dominant recreational ecosystem service at Uluwatu.

While the computed value of actual annual expenditure reflects the current economic importance of surf related tourism in a specific location, it does not explain the environmental value of the area. Values can be variously defined and their measurement is fraught with difficulty. Therefore, this study has sought to explain existing markets rather than quantify theoretical markets. To date we do not yet fully understand the complete structure and function of ecosystems, and so to value them accurately is as yet impossible. Nevertheless, it is important to develop some means of including them in monetary assessments, so that policy makers can develop measures to support better management.

The annual expenditure on the use of recreational ecosystem services at Uluwatu presented here is not, and should not be viewed as a standalone figure as this research has not sought to holistically value ecosystem services at Uluwatu and further, does not communicate the importance or values of ecosystem services entirely. Rather, this research explains a consequence of desirable ecosystem services in terms a direct expenditure assessment. The data gathered during this research is of considerable importance in providing a baseline assessment of the use of specific recreational ecosystem services at Uluwatu, and as such, provides some measure of the economic value of its coastal ecosystem. It is hoped that this will be of use to those interested in developing more active and adaptive policies for effective coastal management. On the basis of these results it does appear that urgent action is needed to counteract the current negative environmental impacts of poorly regulated tourism development along the Bukit Peninsula.

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