Frequent visitors to Kuta will notice something is missing along the famous beach: food vendors.
Since late August, they have been prohibited from selling food in the area as part of a Kuta Beach makeover.
The decision to ban food vendors was made following the Badung regency administration’s plan to beautify the beach by prohibiting food vendors, with the support from the Kuta customary village.
“We have helped the regency administration to remove food vendors so that the beach becomes cleaner,” village head I Gusti Ketut Sudira said Thursday.
“[Vendors] are still permitted in the area, we are not revoking their permits altogether. They can sell beverages and souvenirs, but not food.”
Data from the customary village shows there are 1,160 registered vendors in Kuta offering, among others, massages, tattoos, surfboard rentals, souvenirs and beverages.
Beach visitors wanting food can walk to the south part of the beach where there are designated food kiosks, Sudira said.
However, some tourists complained that the area became dirty because food was sold there, Sudira said.
“They said food vendors threw away food leftovers in the area.”
Earlier, Badung Regent Anak Agung Gede Agung conveyed his administration’s plan to beautify Kuta and Legian beaches.
Areas along the beach will be organized by following the example set by Kedonganan Beach in Jimbaran. Several years ago, that beach was dirty due to cafes operating along it.
The regency administration has provided facilities and entrusted the management of Kuta and Legian beaches to the customary village, which is responsible for keeping the beach clean and secure.
The absence of food vendors received mixed responses from tourists and frequent visitors.
Mike from Holland, who has visited the beach dozens of times, said he thought the beach was cleaner without food vendors.
“Those vendors are not allowed to sell food here anymore because they could not keep the beach clean,”
However, not all visitors thought the food vendor ban was a good idea, saying it had become
difficult for them to find places that sold food.
Abel, who comes to Kuta Beach almost every day since she moved to Bali a couple of months ago, said now she cannot find her favorite nasi jinggo (rice wrapped up in banana leaf) vendor.
She said she was disappointed that the vendors were not able to keep the area clean. She also lamented visitors for littering.
“I can go to kiosks [in the south part of the beach], but it is a bit far to travel,” she said.
Abel’s friend, Martin from Australia, also a frequent visitor, said he did not like the idea of Kuta becoming too clean for fear it could become a sterile environment.
“Kuta is slowly becoming too ‘pure’, such as some beaches in Australia. It loses its character. I liked it better with vendors,” he said.