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(8/29/2005) The Governor of Bali recently acknowledged the outstanding contribution and dedication of 7 people in the development and advancement of the island's tourism. In accordance with an official decree issued by the Governor, the following individuals, or their heirs, received trophies, certificates, medals and cash awards:
• I Made Wiranatha - for his pioneering service to Bali in founding Bali's first international airline Air Paradise. Established in 2002, in courageous defiance of the negative business climate of the times surrounding the Bali bombing, Pak Kadek established scheduled air services between Bali and Perth, when many other major airlines were canceling their Bali-bound flights. In the three intervening years, the Airline has grown to also include regular flights from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide – carrying an estimated 130,000 Australian tourist to Bali over the past year.
Born in Singaraja, North Bali, in 1959, Pak Kadek also operates a number of popular hotels and restaurants in his multi-faceted and fast-growing tourism empire.
• Nicholas James Peter Blackbeard - for his pioneering service to Bali in establishing Bali's white-water rafting industry via his company Sobek Bina Utama. After personally exploring Indonesia's many jungle rafting adventures in Sulawesi, Java and Sumatra in the 1980s, Nick came to Bali with Dave Heckman and established Sobek in the early 1990s. Over the years, the rafting business has grown with rafting trips of varying levels of excitements now offered by Sobek and other Bali rafting companies on the Ayung, Telaga Waja, Unda and Bakas rivers.
Born in London in 1959, Nick Blackbeard has adopted Indonesia as his home and his nation, a man eager to share the beauty of Bali with the many thousands of guests who join one of Sobek's memorable river trips each year.
• Ida Bagus Oka Diwangkara - for his pioneering service to Bali in creating a local hotel industry. Born in Denpasar in 1924, Ida Bagus Oka Diwangkara had already embarked on his career as a hotelier when, at the age of only 31 in 1955, he established the Hotel Wisma Pulau Bali. A visionery, already able to see the great future of Bali tourism in the politically and economically uncertain era of the 1950s, Ida Bagus Oka Diwangkara went on to create the Hotel Diwangkara Beach & Bungalows on Sanur Beach in 1966 while at the same time maintaining an active role in Bali's political life. He has also served in a number of professional capacities, including the Chairmanship of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI).
• John Ketut Panca - for his service to tourism development in creating and managing leading tourism companies in Bali. Born in Mengwi in 1941, John Panca originally aspired to be a pilot, spending the first part of his working life as a member of the Indonesian Air Force. Learning the travel trade from the ground up, John Panca started his travel career as a freelance guide working with Pacto Bali. Appointed the Bali Branch Manager for Pacto from 1968-1978, he established his own tour company Dewi Tours which he operated until the early 1980s. After a stint working abroad as a tourism advisor in Vanuatu, John Panca returned to Bali in 1985 to found Delta Tours in 1985, Tour East in 1990 and, later, Sapta Mawar Tours.
Eager to make a lasting contribution to his island and nation, John Panca has served as Chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) and the Bali Chapter of the Society of Indonesia Professional Convention Organizers (SIPCO).
• Ida Bagus Tjethana Putra - for his service to tourism development in the training of Balinese to become professional hoteliers, as well as his pioneering work in establishing the Santrian Beach Cottages in Sanur in 1971. Born in Sanur in 1934, Ida Bagus Tjethana Putra established the first modern hotel training program for Balinese prior to the formal opening of the Grand Bali Beach Hotel in 1965, serving a Assistant Human Resources Director at the Hotel from 1966-1972.
Prompted by the success of the Santrian Beach Cottages, he went on to later establish the Santrian Beach Resort, bringing his hotel holdings to include a total of 278 rooms.
Committed to the Sanur Commuity and the island, Ida Bagus Tjethana Putra has served the PHRI, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and played key roles in the Foundation of Sanur Village Development.
• Ida Bagus Ketut Beratha - for his service to tourism development earned during long service as the Administrative Head of Sanur from 1959 until his death in 1986. A pioneer in the field of community-based tourism development, he served in a wide range of community organizations dedicated to creating a sustainable tourism industry for Sanur, the place of his birth in 1929. During Ida Bagus Ketut Beratha's many years of service to Sanur he was instrumental in helping to establish numerous community businesses, schools and financial institutions.
• I Gusti Bagus Astawa Raka - for his service to tourism development via his leadership role in the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI). More popularly known as Tommy Raka, he served PHRI for 14 years, first as it Secretary General and later as the Chairman of the Bali Chapter from 1988 until 1996.
Born in Denpasar in 1953 and educated both in Bali and Australia, Tommy Raka pioneered cooperative international marketing efforts on behalf of Bali acting as a coordinator and facilitator between Bali's international 4 and 5 star hotels and locally-owned 2 and 3 star properties. The owner of Rapika Transport and the Hotel Kuta Beach Club, he also operated and invested in a number of other Bali tourism enterprises before his untimely death in 1998.
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