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(2/10/2007) Everyone at balidiscovery.com loves to hear back from readers of Bali Update, particularly when that mail demonstrates "mission accomplished" in our weekly labors.
▪ Gary Taylor, writing from Australia said:
"Hello John Daniels and associates.
I have been traveling to Bali since 1979 and have enjoyed my holidays as a single person, with my wife and now with children.
As a subscriber, I am sending this email to applaud Bali Update for its balanced reporting of news and events from Bali. It would be very easy for a travel company to only highlight the positives of the country it does business from but Balidiscovery's Update has endeavored to make its readers aware of the impact tourism is having on Bali and social and environmental issues and challenges facing the Balinese and Bali environment and economy.
Please keep up the good work. It is heartening to know that a company will put into practice its mission statement and employ best practices in relation to responsible tourism."
▪ Nick Lawson, a travel agent in Australia provided his insights on why Australian arrival numbers to Bali continue to lag:
"I'm a travel Agent and have done a quarter of my total sales for last year in this month alone...Guess what? I specialize in Bali. 99% of my business is Bali only. Great news . . .
With that said, I think that it will certainly be a sensational year for Bali with one major problem. We have no service form Garuda Ex Brisbane, Adelaide or Auckland.
The decreased services are seeing business now head towards Singapore Airlines as there is no alternative for many. Further, many who really wanted to go back to Bali have opted for other destinations as they don't want to be mucked around.
We can't even get Adelaide passengers on a domestic flight to Melbourne and make the International connection to Bali as it now leaves too early. When you consider the cost of two connecting flights and a hotel for a night as they have to come in the night before it becomes illogical not to go via Singapore. No double handling and change in your pocket.
I wish these auditors would look at the bigger picture as they are now costing Garuda a fortune . . .
Bali can boom and Garuda can make some good money if they take the bean counters out and put someone involved in tourism at the helm. Bring on good sense."
▪ Our editorial [Editorial: A Warning About Warnings] brought the following endorsement from the Chairman of the Bali Hotel Association. Michael Burchett wrote:
"Jack – fabulous article and right on the money!! For one, I plan to continue where I left off in 2006, stating the same message that you have so eloquently printed."
▪ Sue Bateman from Australia wrote to explain why many Australians still consider Bali to be the "home away from home":
"I just want to say I travel to Bali EVERY year & absolutely love it there . . . I live in Sydney (Australia) & am really fed up with the travel warnings put on Bali because they are unwarranted. I have no intention of ceasing my travel to this beautiful, warm, caring & welcoming paradise & tell anyone who will listen to go & see for themselves & many have done just that & fell in love with it as I did . . .
Please . . . never think that all Australians have deserted you for there are some very stubborn ones (myself included) that will always continue to grace your beautiful shores... keep up the great work & see you in Feb 2007.”
▪ A somewhat more sobering assessment of travel warnings was offered by Bob Danks in Australia :
"I have been a regular visitor to Bali and Java for the last 15 years. I have studied the Indonesian language, culture and history and my love affair with the country continues. My daughter is married to an Indonesian and lives happily in Bali with her husband and 3 children. Because of these facts I am considered somewhat of an 'expert' on Bali amongst my friends most of whom have visited there often because of my enthusiasm for Indonesia and things Indonesian.
When discussing Bali with friends and associates regarding the reduction in Australian visitors the same reason for them not returning to Bali is cited. It is not the threat of terrorist attack. We are as safe in Bali as anywhere else from such an attack including Australia. It is not Government travel warnings. Australians never listen to what the Government says on any subject anyway but make up their own minds. The term 'covering their own backsides' is the one that best describes travel warnings. It is not the threat of natural disasters. They have always been there. It is not the convictions and sentences received by Australian drug smugglers. The vast majority of Australian never doubted their guilt (including Ms Corby) and agree if you break the laws of any country you are subject to their penalties.
The reason my friends do not return is they feel a strong sense of injustice. The recent freeing of Abu Bakar Bashir and his continued enticement to commit violence fills them with anger. The possibility, no matter how remote, that the so-called 'Bali bombers' could escape the sentence they so richly deserve has fuelled this anger. The removal of travel warnings by the Australian Government will make no difference to the number of Australian visitors to Bali. The fair and swift treatment of all offenders against Indonesian law will.
Whilst not agreeing with the move I understand fully why Abu Bakar Bashir was released. I will continue to visit the places in Indonesia I love including Bali and will not allow mass murderers to dictate how I will live my life. The majority of Australian unfortunately though do not share my understanding of the situation nor my love for the country and whilst they perceive this gross injustice they will not return.
Your newsletter is keenly awaited by me. Keep up the good work.”
▪ Our [Editorial: The Difference Between Self-Interest and Selfishness] prompted an Indonesian-based reader, Neil van Alkemade, to write :
"Spot On! I've been saying this for years as, one by one; we've lost the through flights to the South Pacific. But, besides jealousy, Garuda is the cash cow for many vested interests."
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