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BALI UPDATE #405 - 14 June 2004

Stop Selling Your Land!
President Megawati Urges Balinese To Stop Selling Land for Tourism Development.

President Megawati Soekarnoputri, during a campaign stop in Bali on Friday, June 11, 2004, urged the people of Bali to stop selling their productive agricultural lands to developers.

Speaking at a question & answer session held at Bali's Arts Center, the President, who is campaigning for re-election under the People's Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Party's banner, told those in attendance that with nearly 36,000 hotel rooms now available in Bali the hotel market was oversupplied. Calling on the Provincial Government to stop the development of new hotels and resorts, she said Bali must quickly develop consistent land use policies that are strictly enforced.

Admitting that her desire to see Balinese farmers hold onto their land and not allow it to be converted to tourist accommodation, housing estates, and shopping area was problematic for farmers eager to get cash for their properties, she expressed her grave concerns for the future sustainability of Bali's culture if the current land rush is allowed to continue unabated.


Fiscal Fees and the Indonesian Balance of Trade
ASEAN Push for Indonesia to Eliminate the Fiscal Fee Gives Concern for National Balance of Trade in Travel.

Led by Malaysia, fellow members among the 10 member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) are repeating their call on Indonesia to eliminate the Rp. 1 million fiscal fee levied on all Indonesians and Residents each time they travel abroad. Citing the fee as an impediment to inter-regional efforts to grow tourism and trade, ASEAN partner nations eager to tap into the large potential outbound market of travelers from Indonesia want to see the fee abolished.

The Government has signaled cautious approval of the request to eliminate fiscal charges, pleading for time and a gradual approach to ending the charge. In a few selected ports in Indonesia - such as Riau, Batam and Pontianak Indonesians traveling to neighboring countries are already reportedly exempted from paying the Rp. 1 million fee. Meanwhile, the Government has countered those demanding faster implementation, pointing out that both Thailand and the Philippines still charge an 'exit tax' on their nationals traveling overseas.

A Negative Balance of Trade in Travel?

Always intended to encourage taxpayer registration and discourage Indonesians from traveling abroad, the Rp. 1 million fiscal charge has been increased 3 times since its initial introduction. An initial Rp. 250,000 fee was doubled to Rp. 500,000 and then, later, doubled again to the current Rp. 1 million level. Charged to Indonesians and foreigners residing in Indonesia, the Rp. 1 million fee is, in fact, a pre-payment on taxes and can be claimed back from payroll taxes due the government by an employer.

Statisticians from the Government are concerned, however, that any moves to encourage travel abroad by Indonesians at a time when inbound tourism figures to Indonesia are down will result in a negative balance of trade in travel.

The statisticians concerns are not unfounded with the numbers telling a compelling story. The estimated surplus in trade between inbound and outbound travel totaled $3.986 billion in 2001, a total that decreased dramatically by 66.6% to 1.342 billion in 2002. Last year, Indonesia's balance of trade in tourism stood at only $841 million, down a whopping 78.9% from the figures just 2 years before.

At these rates, even a modest increase in outbound travel by Indonesians going abroad could place the Country's balance of trade in travel deeply into the red.



STP to Continue to Receive New Students
Minister Modifies Order: STP Now Allowed to Accept Public Students for Next Year's Freshman Class.

According to reports in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, the Minister of Culture and Tourism has given his approval for the Bali Tourism Academy (STP Sekolah Tinggi Pariwisata) to continue to accept new students from the general public for the coming academic year.

As reported by balidiscovery.com in [Bali's Tourism School to be Closed?], officials at the nation's top tourism schools in Bali, Bandung and Makasar were recently ordered to stop enrolling new students. That ruling was the outcome of a law passed in 2003 which required the three schools to return to their original function of serving as a training center in tourism for Indonesian Civil Servants.

Following intense lobbying by the school officials and concerned members of the tourism community it appears the Government has rescinded its earlier decision and will allow new students from the general public to enroll at the schools, at least until 2005 - the deadline for the implementation of the law passed last year.

As a condition of being allowed to accept new students the tourism institures will now be required to make space and curriculum available for civil servants undertaking 3-6 month courses in tourism studies.

Local press report that the STP's Bali Director, Mr. Made Sudjana, was greatly relieved at the change in policy allowing his school to receive new students for the coming academic year.


Kuta Drainage Project Deadline Extended
World Bank Extends Completion Deadline for 90 Days.

The two main contractors undertaking the massive drain renewal project affecting most areas of Kuta have admitted their inability to meet the June 30, 2004, deadline set out in their contract of works and stipulated by the World Bank under its terms of financial support for the project.

In anticipation of the delay, the Badung Regional Government sent representatives to Jakarta several weeks ago to lobby with the World Bank to extend the deadline for the completion of the project until December 31, 2004. According to reports in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, the Bank has replied, agreeing to extend the deadline, but only until September 30, 2004 - an additional 90 days from the completion-date set forth in the original contract of works.

The two contractors who won the tender to rebuild virtually the entire drainage system for Kuta have been widely criticized by Regional Government officials and local businesses for their failure to follow the guidelines agreed to when they signed their contract. That contract called for all soil excavated in the course of building the drains to be hauled away and not allowed to stand in piles on the roadways. In violation of that agreement, large piles of earth are commonly seen in the area of drainage work causing delays and inconvenience to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. In partial defense, the Contractors have complained that the delays have been caused by unseasonable rains and the lack of cooperation from public utility authorities in moving telephone and electrical poles.

Despite the extension granted by the World Bank, Bali's municipal authorities are vowing to impose stipulated penalties on the two contractors should they fail to meet the original June 30, 2004 completion deadline.



Kuta Drainage Project Deadline Extended
World Bank Extends Completion Deadline for 90 Days.

The two main contractors undertaking the massive drain renewal project affecting most areas of Kuta have admitted their inability to meet the June 30, 2004, deadline set out in their contract of works and stipulated by the World Bank under its terms of financial support for the project.

In anticipation of the delay, the Badung Regional Government sent representatives to Jakarta several weeks ago to lobby with the World Bank to extend the deadline for the completion of the project until December 31, 2004. According to reports in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, the Bank has replied, agreeing to extend the deadline, but only until September 30, 2004 - an additional 90 days from the completion-date set forth in the original contract of works.

The two contractors who won the tender to rebuild virtually the entire drainage system for Kuta have been widely criticized by Regional Government officials and local businesses for their failure to follow the guidelines agreed to when they signed their contract. That contract called for all soil excavated in the course of building the drains to be hauled away and not allowed to stand in piles on the roadways. In violation of that agreement, large piles of earth are commonly seen in the area of drainage work causing delays and inconvenience to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. In partial defense, the Contractors have complained that the delays have been caused by unseasonable rains and the lack of cooperation from public utility authorities in moving telephone and electrical poles.

Despite the extension granted by the World Bank, Bali's municipal authorities are vowing to impose stipulated penalties on the two contractors should they fail to meet the original June 30, 2004 completion deadline.



Paintings by Antonius Kho
Solo Exhibition June 20-30 at Maya Ubud Resort & Spa.

Maya Ubud Resort & Spa will present an exhibition of paintings by the Ubud-based artist Antonius Kho, June 20 - 30, 2004.

Born in Java, Antonius began studying art in 1977 under the guidance of the famous Indonesian artist Barli. In 1978 he studied batik design in Yogyakarta before continuing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bandung. Leaving for Germany in 1985, he studied at Academy of Fine Arts FH Cologne. In 1998 Antonius Kho returned to his native Indonesia and settled in Ubud, Bali.

He has received a number of awards including a first-prize for "Mulen auf Liegestuhlen" from the FH Art Design Olivadenhof, Cologne in 1989. In 1998 he also received a first-prize honor for "Mask in Venice" at Art Addiction Annual in Venice, Italy.

Antonius uses materials such as paper, rags, and jute in creating his art. His techniques are a combination of painting, batik making, and collages' arrangement - all converging in a single presentation.

Antonius will be exhibiting more than 20 pieces of his art from June 20 to 30, 2004, at Maya Ubud Resort & Spa in Ubud.

More information: Antonius Kho's Web Site


Courting the Domestic Traveler
Bali Tourism Authority Launches Tourism Road Show in Jakarta June 10-15.

In an effort to lure more domestic travelers to Bali, the Chief of the Bali Tourism Authority, Gede Nurjaya, has led a large delegation of tourism professionals and representatives from regencies across the Island to Jakarta to participate in a Bali Road Show aimed at stimulating the domestic's market interest.

Visiting various hotels and shopping malls in the Indonesian capital, the delegation presented handicraft demonstrations and cultural performances. The Road Show is also being used to promote the month-long Bali Arts Festival scheduled to be opened by President Megawati Soekarnoputri on June 19.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has recently refocused part of its promotional effort on the domestic traveler recognizing the long-term sustainability of encouraging domestic travel in the fourth most populous nation in the world.


Kupang and Darwin Connected by Airnorth
Joint Merpati Airnorth Operation Starts Twice Weekly Flights Between Darwin and Kupang.

Closed since May of 2001, air service between Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory and Kupang in West Timor has recommenced effective June 15, 2004 with a new twice-weekly service.

Operated by Australian-owned Airnorth flying 30-seat Brazilian Embraer-120 aircraft, flights will operate between the two cities every Monday and Saturday. Airline officials say that, loads permitting, they would eventually like to increase the service to five times a week.

Joint Operation Between Merpati and Airnorth

Under the terms of the joint flight operation agreement, Airnorth will provide the aircraft, crew and in-flight services and ground handling in Darwin, while Merpati Nusantara Airlines provides the traffic rights and all passenger handling and ground services in Kupang.

Sales and marketing responsibilities are shared between both airlines who share a 50-50 split in profits.

Flying time between the two cities is approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Onward flight connections from Kupang to Bali are available on a daily basis.


The Body Beautiful in Bali
7th Annual Southeast Asian Bodybuilding Championships 17-21 June 2004.

Bodybuilders from 11 Southeast Asian nations will compete in Bali in the 7th Annual Southeast Asian Bodybuilding Championships from 17 to 21 June 2004.

Held under the auspices of the International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB); The Federation of Indonesian Bodybuilders (FBI) and the Asean Bodybuilding Federation (ABBF) - top bodybuilding champions from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste and Indonesia will compete for regional honors.

Main Competition Events will be held on June 18 & 19, 2004, starting at 5 p.m. each day in the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park's Lotus Pond.


Have You Blessed Your Car Lately?
Tumpek Landap Saturday, June 12, 2004.

If you have trouble keeping your personal calendar organized, be thankful that you're not Balinese.

The Balinese calendar is based on a 210-day wuku system comprised of 7 months, each of 30 days duration. Within the 210-day cycle are ritually ordered inner-cycles of various lengths. The entire ebb and flow of Balinese life is determined by the meshing of these cycles of the calendar.

Calendars, created each year and printed in the thousands, suggest the proper dates for building, marrying, burying, planting and even the propitious dates for the co-mingling of the sexes.

From this perspective, the conceiveable become literally inconceiveable when the Balinese calendar suggests its not the right day to start a family or allow your stock to practice animal husbandry.

No one ever said life on this Island was uncomplicated.

The Tumpek Cycle

An interesting cycle of days are the 6 Tumpek celebrations always falling on Saturday-Kliwon in the seven day week at various intervals during the 210-day-long year:

The first tumpek of the year is Tumpek Landap - a day to pay homage to weapons and all items made of metal. Celebrated this year on June 12, cars, bicycles and motorbikes received blessings of food, flowers and woven palm leaf.

Tumpek Uduh is the second Tumpek day in the cycle. When it falls on the calendar, prayers and offerings are made to all plants and trees useful and necessary to man's survival.

The third in the cycle of Tumpek is Kuningan - a day to honor deities and ancestors.

The fourth Tumpek is Tumpek Krulut, something of a fail-safe celebration dedicated to no particular class of objects; a catch-all day of thanksgiving for any of God's many gifts we may be taking for granted or have inadvertently overlooked on the other tumpek days.

The fifth day in this cycle is Tumpek Kandang - a day dedicated to the blessing of farm animals and pets.

Tumpek Wayang is the sixth day in the cycle dedicated to dance, music, and all the instruments and props used in Bali's performing arts, both sacred and profane.

The last day in the wuku cycle which determines the Tumpek days is dedicated to the Goddess Saraswati, Bali's goddess of writing. Books, libraries and writing instruments are revered on a day that, somewhat incongruously, prohibits reading of any kind.

The Blessing of the Fleet

On Saturday, June 12, 2004, known locally as Kliwon wuku Landep, all the cars and vans in the fleet of vehicles used to carry Bali Discovery's guests around the island stopped first at our offices for a mandatory blessing before taking to the roads.

In Bali, we think of this as vehicle insurance of a higher order.



Pyramid Sales?
Melia Adopts a 'New Pharaoh' at Egyptian Themed Cocktail Party to Welcome Alfonso Romero.

On June 8, 2004, Melia Bali Villas & Spa Resort hosted a cocktail party to welcome their new General Manager and celebrate the completion of their room renovations.

The party, run with an Egyptian theme, included representatives from Bali's diplomatic corps, airline operators, tour operators, the press, and long-staying guests who were welcomed by the Resort's senior management and representatives from Sol Melia Asia-Pacific.

Entertainment was provided by the Hotel's in-house cabaret troupe followed by a no-less-entertaining symbolic handover of the keys to the hotel from outgoing General Manager Mr. Daniel Lozano to his replacement dressed as a Pharaoh, Mr Alfonso Romero.

The party had many reasons to celebrate: the completion of its renovation program; the arrival of a new General Manager; and occupancies running at near 100%.

Seen at balidiscovery.com is a photo, left to right, of Mr. Daniel Lozano welcoming Mr. Alfonso Romero, dressed as an Egyptian Pharaoh.

[Book a Stay at the Melia Bali Villas and Spa Resort]



President Defends Visa-On-Arrival Policy
President Megawati Defends Unpopular Visa Policy During Bali Visit.

Indonesia's President used the format of a public dialogue in Bali on Friday, June 11, 2004, to defend her Government's introduction of a visa-on-arrival policy.

As reported in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, responding to a question asked by Mr. I Gusti Agung Prana, Bali's Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA), the President insisted that the visa policy was a necessary step to safeguard Indonesia from those seeking to disrupt the Nation, permitting greater control over the Nation's borders.

Giving no encouragement to those hoping the pay-for-visa-on-arrival policy would eventually be revoked, President Megawati called on the Tourism Industry to consolidate their promotional efforts, following the examples of countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

The President declared as lacking objectivity those who compare Indonesia's immigration policies with its near neighbors in calling for the abolition of the visa fee. Indonesia is a substantially larger country with longer borders all facts that require the Country to formulate an immigration policy best suited to its specific needs and requirement, she explained.

Disbanding the Ministry of Culture & Tourism

Responding to a separate question from Mr. Prana, the President discounted reports in the Press that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism would be disbanded in the new cabinet. Telling her listeners to not be too easily swayed by rumor, she invited them to "wait and see" what the composition of her next cabinet will include.

President Megawati was visiting Bali as part of a campaign swing prior to the Presidential elections set for July 5, 2004.


Ibis Legian to Open in 2005
Accor Sub-Brand Will Have 133 Rooms and Launch at US$ 25 per Night.

Mr. Gerard Guillouet, the Managing Director of Accor Hotels for Indonesia has announced that his group will open a 109-room Ibis Hotel in Bali's Legian District in 2005.

Ibis Legian will be the renovation of an existing property located just 5 minutes walk from the sea. A US$ 2 million renovation will upgrade the entire property, adding 33 additional rooms.

In comments made to the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Mr. Guillouet projected an opening rate of US$ 25 per night for the Ibis Legian.

Ibis Legian will bring to 10 the total number of Ibis properties operating in Indonesia, forming part of a chain of more than 700 hotels operating under that brand worldwide.

With the opening of the new property in Legian, Accor will have 5 hotels under their management in Bali using the Novitel, Sofitel, Ibis and Mercure brandings.
 
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