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Keeping Local Business Local

Protests Grow Over Opening of City Hotel in Central Ubud, Bali

(8/19/2012) Despite assurances from the Gianyar regency administration that low-cost City Hotels would be banned from opening in Ubud, complaints are circulating in Bali's press that this promise is being ignored with the imminent opening of a new hotel located in Padang Tegal, in the heart of Ubud.

Local government officials and local businesses are concerned that inexpensive City Hotels located in downtown Ubud will prove fatal to Ubud’s large home-stay industry, the main source of income for many indigenous residents of that community.

Wayan Gendo Suardana, an environmental activist who also hails from Ubud, quoted in Denpost, criticized the Gianyar administration for allowing a City Hotel to be built in Padang Tegal. Driving home his point, Suardana has called on the regent of Gianyar, Cok Ace, who also serves as the Chairman of the Hotel and Restaurant Association, to accept personal responsibility for allowing the City Hotel to be built in Ubud.

Continuing, Suardana said: “If the regent doesn't know about the hotel, then his supervision of staff is very weak. The City Hotel should have never passed the application process. The gap between public statements and the facts in the field stand in stark contradiction to each other.”

Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (Cok Ace) had earlier issued public statements assuring that City Hotels would not be allowed in Ubud as such develops were not in keeping with Ubud’s concept of village and cultural tourism.

Separately, speaking to the Bali Post, Made Gunarta, a founder of the Bali Spirit Festival, joined the chorus of people protesting the new City Hotel in Ubud. Seeing such hotels as defeating the medium and long-term tourism development goals of Ubud, he worries about the future of locally owned bungalows and home stays.

Others are also questioning if the soon-to-be-opened City Hotel meets zoning requirements for at least 40% of the included in an accommodation project to remain undeveloped and open to rainwater absorption.