InterContinental Hotels & Resorts are to face global protests by the Free Tibet movement today over the hotel group’s plans to open a lavish 1000+ room hotel in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa next year.
Free Tibet is an anti-occupation group aimed at protecting Tibetan rights against what it sees as the Chinese occupation. A source at the organization confirmed that the Intercontinental Abu Dhabi Hotel is one of the intended targets of demonstrations that will take place across five continents and in many major cities including London, Sydney, Mexico City and Delhi.
Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren stated: “IHG will sell the image of a spiritual and peaceful Tibet to the world but Lhasa is not another exotic location for the wealthy to tick off their bucket lists. This is an occupied and deeply repressed city and its apparent stability under Chinese rule is a product of Orwellian surveillance and the pervasive threat of lethal force.”
“IHG failed to consult any Tibet groups before inking the deal on this hotel, has failed to respond to the concerns we’ve repeatedly raised with them and looks quite happy to ignore oppression if there’s money to be made. Tibet supporters have had enough of this multibillion-dollar multinational’s reckless and ignorant disregard for the harm this development will do. It is time to do the right thing and pull the plug on this hotel. Tomorrow is a warning that if IHG chooses profit over ethics, the Tibet movement will ensure the world knows about it,” she added.
When asked if IHG had responded to the planned protests, Free Tibet spokesperson Alistair Currie said: “We have had a number protests in different places which we believe has helped initiate those discussions but we have not had any response from them yet on these particular protests
Responding to a request for comment from Hotelier Middle East, an IHG spokesperson said: “InterContinental Lhasa will be held to our high operational standards and policies, including the recruiting, training and development of our hotel staff.”
“Our hotels not only create jobs but also drive tourism income, thereby helping to increase living standards in those countries where we have a presence,” the spokesperson added.
The campaign began in May 2013 with a protest outside IHG’s annual general meeting in London and is poised to continue until IHG’s executive agree to withdraw from Tibet and scrap plans for the hotel.