The aim of this paper is to present the process of appropriation of public space by the tourism industry in island states with the example of the temple of Borobudur, addressing the question of the changing trends of the temple’s basic functions, from sacred to tourist functions, and the effects of the presented changes on the traditional users of the temple. The Borobudur temple complex has been (symbolically and practically) transferred from the hands of Buddhists into the hands of tourists. The Javanese cultural heritage has been commoditized in a systematic way and lacks religious functions. This is one example of how tourism increasingly appropriates spaces and redefines the meaning of cultural objects. Structural inhibitions to the Borobudur temple being used for traditional religious purposes can be considered an example of tourist neo-colonialism (both from the perspective of postcolonial theory and in light of previous research on the subject).