Bali Post reports that a chorus of local voices is growing on the Island seeking to ban the building of city hotels in the traditional arts community of Ubud.
A member of the Gianyar Regency House of Representatives (DPRD-Gianyar), Ketut Karda, says he is opposed to the further development of City Hotels in Ubud. He is concerned that an onslaught of budget city hotels in Ubud will destroy that destination’s appeal as a “village destination.”
Karda asks: “If we allow this (city hotels) to develop, what will be the difference between Ubud and other tourism areas such as Badung or Denpasar?”
Karda is concerned that budget city hotels in Ubud will eventually foster unhealthy price competition between budget hotels and villas, home stays, family hotels and bungalows owned by local people. The Gianyar lawmaker is concerned that the economic livelihoods of long-term residents of Ubud could be destroyed by the introduction of city hotels.
By Karda’s own calculation there are already two city hotels operating in Ubud, on of which is located in Padang Tegal. He wants future development of such hotels to be halted to avoid Ubud becoming branded as a “cheap destination.” Continuing, he adds, if the Government cannot avoid allowing new investments in order to increase local tax revenues, then, at the very least, zoning and building regulations should be enforced to protect Ubud’s branding and image.
Also adding his comments to the discussion was local environmental activist Wayan “Gendo” Suardana, also originally from Ubud. He lamented the fact that despite the low tariff of city hotels, these businesses are, in fact, well-managed in comparison to many family-owned hotels.
Because of this, Gendo calls on the Government to provide training and business counseling to locally owned businesses in order that they can better compete with powerful newcomers to the accommodation market.
“In Ubud many local people depend on the tourism sector. If there are City Hotels this will disrupt the lives of local residents. Eventually guesthouses and home stays will become boarding houses. This is what happened earlier during the tragedy of the Bali bombing,” said Gendo.
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