Tourism and water scarcity: a gendered analysis in Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia

Project funder

British Academy

Project lead

Dr Stroma Cole (UWE Bristol)

Research partner/collaborator

Marta Muslin (non-university affiliation)

Project duration

April 2015 - April 2017

Project summary

This is a unique research project, being the first to explicitly explore the gender dimensions of the impact of tourism-related water scarcity in an emerging tourism destination. In Labuan Bajo (Indonesia), the number of tourists has more than doubled in the past five years, yet the area is extremely high risk in terms of both quantity and quality of water.

The research builds on studies which have:

  1. identified the impact of tourism on water availability in destination communities
  2. set out the gendered inequalities embedded in the policy and practice of tourism
  3. explored the gender issues inherent in the management and usage of water.

The research project will bring together these theoretical strands to understand the tourism-related water shortages and how these interact with gender inequalities. Participatory methods will be used to map out gendered power relations of water access, usage and control. The research aims to understand the gendered dimension of tourism-related water scarcity in workplaces, households and communities as precursor to seeking solutions.

Key outputs

Key findings

  • Tourism is out-competing locals for access to water leading to women suffering in multiple ways.
  • Women bear the brunt of burdens related to water scarcity.
  • Patriarchal cultural norms, ethnicity, socio-economic status, life-stage and proximity to water sources are intertwined to (re)produce gendered power relations.

For further information on the project, please contact us.