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The Jakarta Bombing, New Visa Policy, Air Paradise Flights to Sydney, and Bali Named as the World's Best Island - All Caused People to Write Last Week.

Bali News:
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Air Paradise Flights to Sydney

Last week's report [Air Paradise Expands Fleet and Services] caused Rae Cook to ask:

"Well done on getting in air after last year's disaster!!! When will you fly from Brisbane?"

The Jakarta Marriott Bombing

The Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Indonesia Chapter, Alistair Spears wrote:

"Another tragedy, another severe blow to our reputation and our livelihoods."

"But first our thoughts must go to the victims of this senseless atrocity and to their families. We grieve their loss."

"But now, once again, we must pick up our loads, heavier again than before, and work for the future."

"We must not give in, we must use this, as our colleagues did in Bali, to rid ourselves of this cowardly evil. The world must not see Jakarta as a dangerous place but as a victim of terrorism as it saw Bali."

"Let us work together to that end. Your ideas, your assistance and your prayers will all be of great help in this time."

Similarly, the Chief executive Officer of the International Conference and Convention Association (ICCA), Martin Sirk sent the following on behalf of his organization:

"I am writing to express our deep shock and outrage at yet another terrible attack on Indonesian soil. It seems that the bad news in 2003 is not yet at an end, just when we were hoping that the impact of SARS and the Bali bombing were starting to be overcome."

"... Sadly, nowhere in the world is genuinely safe from terrorism, and ICCA recognizes that we have a responsibility to publicly argue that international meetings must continue to take place, whilst at the same time recognizing and taking steps to try to minimize the risks. The multi-cultural understanding that such meetings encourage is one of the few genuine antidotes to the destructive fanaticism of terrorists."

Chris MacLean, the former General Manager of Bali's Jayakarta Hotel and now running a new property in Bangkok, wrote:

"Just a few words to express my sincere concern for you all after hearing the terrible news about the Marriot in Jakarta."

"Having been through this with you last year and after seeing the start of a return to semi-normal business levels, I want you to know that my thoughts are with you and wish that it will not have too big an impact on your business levels."

The Visa Issue

The Decision to Change the Visa-Free Policy and start charging the nationals of many countries US$ 35 for a 30 day visit to the Country is still causing many readers to write.

From Australia, Lynne Murray wrote:

"What is the government thinking about? They are putting a great burden on travelers coming back to Bali. Surely your country has been through enough hurt and hardship over this last year. You will turn more travelers away."

A reader in Holland, Harald Mexsenaar, had some pointed words for Indonesia's policy makers:

"Next month we are visiting Bali for the second time this year. We are doing this for the last 6 years. This time we come with 4 people. If we have to pay US$ 35 per person this will be our last visit for a while and we will visit Malaysia next year instead."

"In Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore we do not have to pay for visas. Malaysia is promoting itself on CNN as Malaysia truly Asia. According to our travel agent this commercial is working very well as a lot more people are going to Malaysia this year."

"What is Indonesia doing? Their promotion: If you dare to visit Bali we will punish you and we will charge you US$ 35."

"Unbelievable but true!"

A Canadian reader, Bill 'Dutchy' from Toronto wrote:

"A few months ago I was visiting Holland and met 15 people who are regulars each January for 2 months in Bali. All were making plans to go again to Bali in 2004, myself include."

"I have been to Bali 27 times for 2 months and have made many friends in all those years."

"Last week when Bali Update arrived, (it carried) the news that the government changed their minds again. It has become very hard to make plans to come to Bali. I cannot make plans in December. Why doesn't the government come out and say we don't want tourist? We can go to different places, but i prefer Bali. Please let us come back for 2 months so that I can see my many friends again."

"Mr. Made Suryawan keep up the good work and we will be there!"

Joe Stryczek contributed the following:

"I have been coming to my Beloved Bali for over 12 years and believe that the imposition of this visa fee will deter first-time visitors. I will continue to come to Bali and would like a reasonable explanation as to why this fee must be imposed. Surely the Balinese people will see none of it."

And Peter Lyndrof from Scandinavia had this to say:

"I am planning my tour no. 19 since January 1996. I normally travel with a group I have collected on private initiative. I assure you that it is very, very difficult to convince citizens from Sweden and Denmark that Indonesia is the place to go for a holiday they will not forget and that Indonesia is a safe place to go. Indonesia has no tourist office in the Nordic countries at all and it is more or less impossible to obtain as little as a suitable brochure. For the moment I have 14 people interested in going to Bali with me in October and I will definitely not inform them of a visa fee appearing as a thief in the night. I will rather cancel the tour as we already pay a lot of money from here to Bali."

Bali The Best Island

And finally, a regular contributor from Queensland, Australia Andrew Sivijs wrote this about [Indestructible Magic - Bali] - our coverage of Bali being named the world's best island.

"They're telling us what we already know! Just proves that no matter what the atrocities and obstacles, a quality destination and product like Bali continues to shine. Here's hoping the consumer responds with their feet. My family and I eagerly anticipate our next visit. Well done and keep up the great work."

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