TED Conversations

Closing Statement from Daniel Raven-Ellison

Thank you TED community for taking the time to join our conversation. I have been fascinated by the diverse range of contributions that have been made. The stories that have been shared are particularly powerful, with examples of how globalisation is impacting on the communities that we live in, visit and influence.

What is clear is that many of us are working from very different definitions of what 'local' means. Ronald Estrada describes local as "minimal, ecological, and symbiotic" while Iain Ellwood says it is more of "a state of mind not a geographic destination". This idea links well to Dustin Smith's suggestion that technology "changes who we spend time with, and allows us to choose "our own local".

The diversity of definitions of 'local' goes a long way to explain why we have so many different predictions about the future. Steve Knight had the most radical prediction, suggesting that personal air travel "will allow people to re-populate currently remote and unpopulated areas of the world". Pabitra Mukhopadhyay, Dorian Knus and many others share our concern that global forces are damaging local places and raise valid concerns for the future. These worries are met by many points that express the advantages of globalisation, including one by David Rogers who asks "Is the advantage of globalisation the ability to start a conversation anywhere in the world around common experiences?"

There have been a number of engaging solutions, including ways for tourists, travel companies and host communities to act more responsibly and sustainably. The common areas here appear to be high quality research, learning, education, empowerment and participation. Scan through to find some real gems.

Finally, thank you to InterContinental Hotels & Resorts for sponsoring this conversation. This specific discussion is closed, but you can follow the "Future of Local" project via Twitter on #FutureOfLocal. And we'll begin a new conversation on TED.com in the coming weeks.

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  • Mar 3 2013: Like Star Trek's Prime Directive it could be fatal to a primitive indigenous culture if our advanced world introduced them to Starbucks, McDonalds, K-Mart, much less weapons technology. Even hen we visit a fairly well-touristed country, we can certainly interfere with their natural progression.

    Take for instance, Bali. Cribbing from Wikipedia:
    In 1999, about 30,000 hotel rooms were available for tourists.[50] As of 2004, the island achieves over 1,000,000 visitors per year, versus an initial "planned" level of 500,000 visitors, leading to overdevelopment and environmental deterioration: "The result has been polluted and eroded beaches, shortages of water, and a deterioration "of the quality of life of most Balinese".[49][51] Political trouble has also affected the island, as the bombing in 2002 by militant Islamists in the tourist area of Kuta killed 202 people, mostly foreigners. This attack, and another in 2005, severely affected tourism, bringing much economic hardship to the island.
    Writing in 2004, Professor Adrian Vickers expressed that "the challenge of the twenty-first century will be to restore tourism while making Bali livable".[49] Tourism has strongly picked up again, with a 28% increase in the first quarter of 2008 with 446,000 arrivals.[52] By the end of 2008, tourism in Bali had fully recovered, with more than 2 million visitors, but the long term livability of Bali, plagued with overdevelopment and traffic jams, remains an issue.[53]
    The people of Bali never needed tourism to survive before as few as two decades ago. I tell my friends that one of my favorite personal beliefs about the island is my conviction that if no more tourists came ever again the island would go back to being almost purely artistic and concerned primarily with their practiced religion. But the fact remains that the West has infiltrated & left it's unmistakeable and permanent impression there

    And virtual travel is just ridiculous. Who'd want to miss out on being in Bali?

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