On the Edge of Crisis: Contending Perspectives on Development, Tourism and Community Participation on Rote Island, Indonesia


  • Cassandra Wright Monash University
  • Belinda Lewis




Nusa Tenggara Timur, Social Change, Culture, Globalisation, Tourism


The eastern Indonesian province of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) is struggling to overcome the burden of widespread poverty, illness, and illiteracy. Within the context of globalisation and Indonesia’s ongoing transitions in governance, people on Rote Island, NTT, are experiencing rapid socio-cultural change. The increasing arrival of tourists and foreign business interests add further complexity to these processes of transition. The direction forward for Rote is a topic of considerable debate amongst community members, development workers, businesses, and other stakeholders. This qualitative pilot study explores key community stakeholders’ perspectives on development, tourism, and community sustainability in Delha, Rote. It has revealed confl icting perspectives about future development and tourism on Rote, with particular concern regarding social, cultural, and environmental impacts, and loss of autonomy and community control. Important ‘dynamics of exclusion’ between stakeholders are identifi ed. More equitable participation in planning and decision-making is needed to ensure that the benefi ts of tourism and development are not concentrated with a privileged few.

Author Biographies

Cassandra Wright, Monash University

Cassandra Wright holds an Honours degree of the Bachelor of Health Science (Health Promotion) from Monash University, Australia. Her main research interest area is health promotion in both local and international contexts, and her current research is focused on the evaluation of a major Australian government health promotion initiative. Contact: cassandra.wright@monash.edu

Belinda Lewis

Belinda Lewis has a PhD in Health Promotion, and has worked as a practitioner, researcher, and health promotion consultant. Her most recent book is Bali’s Silent Crisis: Desire, Tragedy and Transition. Her forthcoming book is Health Communication: A Media and Cultural Studies Approach.  






Current Research on Southeast Asia