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(9/2/2006) Australia's foremost entertainment, marketing and personality management entrepreneur Harry M Miller recently returned from his first-ever trip to Bali singing the praises of its people, products and professional hospitality standards.
"I just had the best time – it was absolutely fantastic. This wonderful place and wonderful people do not deserve the negative treatment they so often get in the mainstream Australian media, which is often unfair and stupid," he said.
Miller and Sydney-based fine-food entrepreneur Simmone Logue visited Bali on a trip organized by Garuda Indonesia in conjunction with Conrad Bali Resort and Alila Hotels to enjoy some of the many rest, relaxation and fine food experiences the island has to offer.
As a former Director of Qantas – and as the representative of Australian fashion and style leaders including Maggie Tabberer, Deborah Hutton and Ita Buttrose - Miller is well positioned comment on the quality of services encountered over a stay of more than two weeks.
Miller and Logue shared their very positive Bali holiday experience with the estimated 2.6 million readers of the September 2, 2006 edition of New Idea Magazine.
The Bali Travel Experience
"Right from the outset, the Bali experience was world class," says Miller. "I was fascinated by the leg space in Garuda's Executive class and by the gracious staff attitude and service. The trip up there was just amazing.
"Then when we arrived at the Conrad Bali Resort, Tanjung Benoa, we were delighted again by the quality of experience. The staff training there was the best I have ever seen," said Miller, who has more than a decade’s experience advising on international hotel chain hospitality standards.
"The Alila Ubud was just wonderful, as was the Alila Manggis, where Simmone and I were immersed in the local organic cooking culinary experience, starting with a trip to the market and going through private tuition for the both of us. This was very well done and has great tourism potential. The Alila's organic gardens on the beachfront property were fantastic."
"The total resort experience in Bali was wonderful – I do't think I have ever had so many massages and such good massages, it is just such a relaxing place."
Bali's Greatest Asset is its People
"But the thing that makes it truly memorable for us is the people. They are the best thing of all about Bali. They are amazing. They have no hidden agendas – they are just genuinely delighted to serve you and to see to your comfort."
"We were trying to think about what it is that makes the people so wonderful and different - perhaps it is the cultural and spiritual Hindu influence," says Miller, who practices Raj yoga.
"Whatever it is, it is delightful, and I get annoyed when I see our Australian media warning people off Bali. It is so unfair to single out Bali."
What is the Australian Median on About, Anyway?
"When London had a major terrorist alert (in August) no-one was warned to stay away from the UK, just advised to exercise sensible caution."
"Whenever there's anything in the news about Indonesia or Bali, however, you get a warning missile from Foreign Affairs shouted out through the media saying don't go there - avoid the place for all but essential travel."
"The media is not full of warnings about all the other places where there have been terrorist issues – terrorism is a worldwide problem - so why do we single out our friends in Bali?"
"The Australian media is a real problem. Often they have only negative things to say. It is one thing to counsel caution when it is appropriate, but in Australia the overwhelming daily media coverage is negative."
The Need for Ambassadors of Travel
"The issue is one of a lack of leadership. It would be wonderful to see some prominent Australians stand up as Ambassadors for Bali, and speak out for them.
"Perhaps the industry in Bali should look at appointing, say, a half a dozen prominent Australians as Ambassadors for Bali. They could project their message straight to target audiences by way of picture theatre presentations, for example, where you can show the real beauty and the real people that people aren’t seeing in media headlines."
"The industry in Bali has such a wonderful resource to work with, that it just has to cut through the negative perceptions and show people how Bali really is," he said.
The visit by Harry M Miller and Simmone Logue to Bali is one of a series of visits by high profile individuals and editors of high-profile lifestyle publications organized by Garuda Indonesia to broaden Australia's perceptions of Bali and promote positive coverage of the destination.
Shown on balidiscovery.com are, left to right, Simmone Logue and Harry Miller receiving their Garuda Boarding pass at Sydney Airport.
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