The just concluded visit to Perth, Western Australia by a delegation of 19 Bali travel operators together with ranking representatives of the Balinese Provincial Government and Bali Police has provided ample proof that Bali is definitely on the come back trail in terms of regaining its Australian market share which declined after a the October 1, 2005 terrorist attacks.
Armed with special air prices and hotel packages, Bali's hotels and tourist attractions launched a "Bali Endless Summer" promotion from an artistically decorated pavilion at the Perth Holiday and Travel Expo held at the Fremantle Ferry Terminal February 10-12, 2006. Consumer interest in Bali was extremely high with many consumers hoping to meet with the Bali delegation having to wait in line for the chance to learn more about the special Bali offers. The Bali presentation was apparently a hit all round with Perth newspaper The Sunday Times naming the "Bali Endless Summer" pavilion the "best of show" at the 3-day event.
The Bali Press Conference
In conjunction with the travel exposition in Perth, the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) organized a press conference led by BTB Chairman Bagus Sudibya, Bali's Chief of Police Inspector General Sunarko, and the Chief of the Bali Tourism Authority Gede Nurjaya.
Well attended by both regional and national press, the Perth press conference provided the opportunity for Bali to share new and views on recent developments in Bali, including:
• Following the October 1, 200, Bali bombing attack, the Government of Indonesia has hardened its already firm stand in the war on terrorism. In the days following the October 1, 2006 attack, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said: "Terrorism is no longer considered an extraordinary crime but it is a subversive action that threatens the nation’s integrity."
• The Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) – one of Indonesia's largest and most respected Islamic associations, has consistently and very strongly condemned all terrorist acts that have occurred in Indonesia.
• Indonesia has welcomed and sought multinational support and assistance in combating terrorism and is recognized internationally for its front-line role in this struggle.
• Following a hiatus of nearly 5 years, Australian Special Forces have now resumed training exercises with the Indonesian Special Forces.
• Indonesian police have a record of unrivalled success in capturing terrorists. Bali's Police successful handling of the investigations following the October 12, 2003 terrorist bombing is seen as a "best practice" model of international police cooperation. Since the October 1, 2005 bombing, more than 36 arrests have been made and terror mastermind Dr. Azahari was killed in a police raid on November 9, 2005.
• Since the October 1, 2005 incident, the Government has committed over US$27 million to the police in security enhancements.
• Since October 1, 2005, there has been a 400% increase in the number of Tourism Police Officers deployed in Bali alone.
• Stricter controls are now being introduced in Bali, including: improved national ID card issuance procedures; random road checks and check of local boarding houses; tighter registration procedures for boarding houses, Inns and local hotels; and ID registration now required for the purchase of mobile phone cards.
• The formal establishment of the "Bali Security Council" bringing together police, military, and various government intelligence agencies under a common coordinating umbrella is now in operation.
• Active participation of Bali's traditional Pacalang - the local village volunteer force found in every Balinese community – in intelligence and community policing activities has been introduced.
• The Administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is making significant inroads in restructuring the State bureaucracy to bring fundamental improvements in the lives of all Indonesians. For example, the national immigration and custom's departments, taxation authority, and the national judiciary are all undergoing well-publicized shake ups and fundamental reorganizations.
• The Government recently passed legislation empowering law enforcement agencies to make pre-emptive strikes against suspected terrorist cells.
• Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport is working closely with the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) to urgently improve airport security in Bali.
• A sophisticated Emergency Response Centre is now in operation at the airport. Regular drills anticipating a whole range of emergency scenarios have been introduced.
• A police certification system for local hotels, emphasizing safety and security, is now in operation in Bali.
• Substantial additional investment has been made in security hardware including CCTV, boom gates, detection devices, guard dogs and security training awareness for all hotel and restaurant staff.
• Bali’s popular Jimbaran Beach Restaurant area now has CCTV surveillance, security fencing, and access control from both beach and street now in place.
The Bali tourism industry and the larger community as a whole are hopeful that the resurgence in interest in Bali tourism following the Perth Holiday and Travel Expo will be sustained and that Bali will quickly regain its traditional position as Australia's most preferred overseas holiday destination. In the past, Western Australian travelers have accounted for nearly 40% of all Australia visitors to Bali.
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