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Seaweed Farming Could Be The Next Big Tourist Attraction In Bali

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For those who have seen the film Ticket to Paradise, the notion of falling in love with a seaweed farmer in Bali and living happily ever after seems like a not-too-farfetched way to end a vacation on the island.

Seaweed farming is one of the main income generators for families on the island of Nusa Penida, and farmers want to see their livelihood merge with the growing tourism sector on their island home.

Seaweed Farmer Hands Close.jpg

Bali is on a clear mission to establish more sustainable and culturally respectful tourism in Bali.

This includes creating tourism projects, initiatives, and attractions in new areas of the province and combining tourism with existing industries and landscapes.

The island of Nusa Penida has seen a rapid tourism development boom in the last ten years, especially so in the last five.

Before then, many families’ main source of income was fishing and seaweed farming. To this day, those families not involved in tourism are still very much connected to seaweed farming.

Now, leaders want to find a way to bring seaweed farming and tourism together, and there are more opportunities for genuinely fun and engaging collaboration than you might first think.

Speaking to reporters, the Head of the Regional Research and Innovation Agency in Klungkung, I Ketut Budiarta, said, “The innovation we are carrying out is a synergy in developing this superior product (seaweed), with developing tourism destinations, and creating a supply chain for seaweed and its processed products to support the creation of seaweed tourism destinations in the Nusa Penida Islands.”

In essence, leaders and farmers want to bring seaweed farming and tourism together, just like rice farming and tourism, quickly become a match made in heaven.

Visiting Bali’s iconic rice terraces is one of the most in-demand travel experiences on the island; whether Tegalalang, Jatiluwih, in Sideman, or beyond, all Bali tourists dream of taking an undisrupted stroll through the rice paddies.

So, can the seaweed farms of Nusa Penida do the same in time?

Buidarta said that the development of tourism, alongside seaweed farms, can help boost the local economy and local people’s income.

He noted that the number of people living on or below living wage is highest in Nusa Penida, up to 39% of the local residents, and 60% earn their sole income from the agricultural sector, either fishing or seaweed farming since Nusa Penida is not ideal land for growing crops.

Budiarta said, “So we see the need for innovation that increases access to seaweed products in Nusa Penida by developing tourism destinations.”

“This innovation process has been ongoing since 2020, starting from training, assistance with product packaging, determining seaweed cultivation villages, planning tourist destinations until 2024, providing assistance with production facilities and infrastructure.”


Many of the seaweed farms are operated by women, meaning the development of tourism in these communities will also help boost women’s empowerment in this area.

A group of women farmers have come together to create the Sari Segara Women’s Farming Group.

Together, they make seaweed-inspired products, including dish soap, hand soap, and more, that can be marketed directly to tourists as souvenirs or to hotels to be used throughout the guest rooms and hotel complexes. 


Seaweed farming is a big business; according to the 2023 Agricultural Census, over 15 million tonnes of seaweed was farmed in Bali, produced by just 1,066 farmers.

If these farmers could also be part of tourism programs that genuinely engage and inspire tourists, their income could grow substantially.

New tourism programs on offer in Nusa Penida would help attract more tourists to the island and improve tourism distribution around it.


At the moment, most tourists visit just for the day or a single overnight, visiting hotspots like Kelingking Beach, Diamond Beach, and Manta Bay before whizzing back to mainland Bali before sunset. 

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Friday 12th of April 2024

Err - nah.


Monday 8th of April 2024

Please get a dose of reality.

How many tourists are going to make a visit to a seaweed farm a priority.

Remember Geger beach at Nusa Dua? A village dedicated to it.

Tourist came to swim, laze on the beach, eat.... It's gone as it got no interest or commercial benefit to the locals and catering to tourist wants was far more profitable.

The same will possibly happen with Penida. Demand on space by tourist will constrict the area given to production.

More importantly not many people will be attracted to, or pay to watch grass grow.

Wayan Bo

Monday 8th of April 2024

Good weed is always welcome, especially to Germany since legalization of a few days ago🤣With seaweed can feed vegans and cosmetic industry 😂


Monday 8th of April 2024

Quote "Many of the seaweed farms are operated by women".

Yes the Balinese women cannot catch a break. I spotted some Balinese women working on a construction work next door carrying cinder block and sand. Meanwhile I can see and hear the young sons of Bali are racing around on their noisy motorbikes.


Friday 12th of April 2024


Why is observing Balinese cultural practice pathetic?

Your second comment is bull****. I've never posted excusing unacceptable behaviour by men.


Wednesday 10th of April 2024

@Shorty, what a pathetic response. Everything that you write is an excuse for the unacceptable behaviour of local men.


Tuesday 9th of April 2024


It's a long standing cultural practice particularly in rural/agricultural things.


Sunday 7th of April 2024

Why would this be a tourist attraction? Who cares?