Government Set to Review Number of Visa-Eligible Countries and Length of Stay Issues.
Recommendations by Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, to increase the number of 21 countries eligible to purchase visas on arrival (VOA) at Indonesia's gateways is apparently receiving serious consideration by the Government.
Speaking in Jakarta on Friday, November 12, 2004, Minister Wacik said the matter would soon be tabled and discussed at a meeting of political and security ministers in Jakarta.
The Minister has remained tight-lipped on what countries are under consideration for addition to the current 21 countries whose nationals can purchase a visa on arrival (VOA). Speculation is rife, however, that at a minimum - Holland together with Belgium and Luxembourg will soon be eligible for VOA.
Longer Validity, Too?
In a separate forum the Minister has hinted that the period of validity of the current VOA will be extended. It is expected that the US$10 three-day visa will be extended to 7 days and the US$25 thirty-day visa will be extended to 60 days validity.
Better Service at Airports
Acknowledging that the new visa fees have become an important source of income for the Nation, Minister Wacik said that surveys of visiting tourists show they were less concerned with the added expense and more concerned with improving the ease and efficiency of service at airports upon arrival in Indonesia. For this reason, according to the Minister, he has coordinated with the relevant agencies to add 20 more visa booths at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport in the near future.
Anchors Our Way
Foreign Cruise Ships Again Begin Calling on Indonesian Ports.
After a hiatus of several years when many cruise companies completely avoided Indonesian ports of call, encouraging signs are literally on the horizon indicating that cruise ships are again starting to make calls on Indonesian ports.
The Secretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Sapta Nirwandar, reports that during 2004, some 11 cruise ships carrying a total of 5,000 passengers called on Indonesian ports.
The growing number of schedule ports of call in Indonesia by overseas liners demonstrates that passenger shipping is making a gradual comeback after hitting an all-time low in 2001. Among the ships that have called over the past year include the Hanseatic which called on more than 13 Indonesian ports, Columbus, Deutschland, Europe, and Astor. The Funchal and Silver Cloud are scheduled to call before the end of the current year.
Citing the important role played by cruise ships in restoring the country's damaged tourism image, Sapta said changes and improvements are needed in several sectors to help stimulate the cruise ship market to Indonesia.
In 1998, Indonesia hosted over 20,000 cruise ship passengers, suggesting there's still a great deal of ground to be regained, despite the current upswing in cruise business.
Watsu and Yoga Workshops at The Ritz Carlton Bali
Michael Hallock, Renowned Watsu and Yoga Therapist in Residence November 15 – December 6, 2004.
A graduate of the famous Bihar School of Yoga in India and with 12 years of healing, bodywork, yoga and massage therapy to his credit, Michael Hallock will be conducting a series of half and full-day workshops and individual sessions at Ritz Carlton, Bali Resort and Spa between November 15 and December 6, 2004.
Michael Hallock will be leading sessions and workshops covering:
• Watsu Acquatic Bodywork - a 20th century adaptation of Zen Shiatsu massage done in the weightless environment of a pool which allows increased range of motion, decreased pain, enhanced circulation and a unique sense of freedom.
• The Yogic Art of Relaxation - Yogic breathing, postures, meditation, visualization and relaxation to maintain balance of the body and mind.
• Jala Neti Ayurveda for Clear Breathing - an ancient practice to promote clear breathing, clear sinuses and allergy relief.
• Chi New Tsang Massage for Couples - Taoist abdominal massage for health and longevity assisting to detoxify and energize abdominal organs.
• Meditation for Peace of Mind - sessions held on Jimbaran's Cliff in search of inner serenity.
• Reiki - universal energy healing to renew and heal.
• Massage for Couples - teaching couples how to treat one another through intimate and healing hands-on therapies.
To obtain more information, session and workshop times, and prices please telephone ++62-(0)361-702222 (Extension 32).
Brings to 4 the Total of Accor Properties Operating in Bali.
Sofitel - the prestige brand of Accor Hotels arrived in Bali with the November 1, 2004, opening of the Sofitel Seminyak Bali - after an extensive refurbishment of guest rooms and public areas at the former Royal Seminyak.
All of the hotel's superior rooms have been renovated, with each of the hotel's 60 deluxe rooms also undergoing a stylish redesign and upgrade.
The hotel also features 16 luxurious Spa Villas, each with a secluded private pool or Jacuzzi and personalized 24-hour butler service. These, along with 11 family suites, are scheduled for renovation during the second phase of refurbishment scheduled for early 2005.
The hotel offers 137 rooms, suites and villas all facing the beach or gardens. Balinese stone carvings and exquisite local art and handicrafts accentuate the over 4.5 hectares of lush tropical gardens.
Both the resort's main Kecak Pool on the beach, and Lagoon Pool tucked into the garden area, provide ample opportunity for guests to relax and unwind. The hotel's Namaya Spa offers guests the combination of traditional Indonesian massage therapies together with the latest western spa and wellness treatments.
According to Mr Guillouet, General Manager of the Hotel, "Seminyak is now considered Bali's trendiest destination for dining, nightlife and shopping. The hotel is within walking distant to the shops and pubs, but is tucked into a quite part of the beach that appeals to honeymooners and families."
The Anala Restaurant is a new addition to the Hotel, offering an innovative new menu of Indonesian, Balinese and western dishes to enhance guest's dinning experience. This outdoor restaurant features an open kitchen, decorated with Balinese design motifs. The adjacent air-conditioned Pisches Tempanyaki and Seafood Restaurant serves popular Japanese dishes in a comfortable setting.
A beachside Mediterranean restaurant will open soon.
www.balidiscovery.com is offering a special rate of US$109 including breakfast and 21% tax and service, valid through 31 March, 2005 (excluding 2 December 2004 to 6 January 2005).
Price is valid for single/double occupancy, per night, in a Superior Room.
'Odalan Bali' – Coming in 2005 to the U.S.A.
May 2005 Tour of U.S.A. Planned for Cudomani Dance Troupe from Pengosekan, Ubud.
An instructor at Denpasar's Indonesian Arts Institute (ISI), I Nyoman Cerita, is busily putting the finishing touches on a new dance creation entitled "Odalan Bali" set for its international debut in the U.S.A. in May of 2005.
The two-hour dance drama was staged locally on November 10, 2004, at the ISI, where it was performed by the 25-member Sanggar Cudomani dance and music troupe from Pengosekan, near Ubud. Four months in preparations and rehearsal, the dance depicts the rituals and emotions surrounding a traditional odalan or founding anniversary celebration for a Balinese temple. Split into two sections, the dance shows the preparations and actual execution of a traditional temple festival in Bali performed by dancers accompanied by a full gamelan orchestra.
The dance and musical performance created and choreographed by I Nyoman Cerita will be presented at UCLA in May as part of his final examination for a Master of Fine Arts degree. The group will then spend two months touring the United States presenting Odalan Bali together with a program of traditional Balinese dance and music.
While a complete concert schedule is not yet available, balidiscovery.com has learned that the group is scheduled to perform in New York City at the Frederick P. Rose Hall - Lincoln Center on Sunday, May 01, 2005.
The Power of Positive Thinking
Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik Urges More Positive Thinking and Greater Teamwork within Indonesia's Tourism Sector. Visa Office to Open in Guangzhou.
Speaking to representatives of national tourism organizations who comprise the membership of the tourism think-tank Masyarakat Pariwisata Indonesia (MPI), Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, urge Indonesia's tourism community to always adopt a positive mental attitude and a commitment to teamwork in their efforts to develop national tourism.
Quoted in the Indonesian-language bisnis.com, Minister Wacik urged the members of MPI - both as individuals and as representatives of various tourism organizations, to spread a positive attitude in their respective areas of influence. "I am certain, as long as every one is prepared to think positively, work seriously and cultivate a shared spirit (of teamwork) any obstacle can be overcome," urged the Minister.
Citing an example to support his case, the Minister pointed to how discussions that have stretched on for two years regarding the opening of a visa-issuance office in Guangzhou, China were recently resolved in a meeting of just one hour's duration between the Minister of Justice and Human Rights the Foreign Minister, and his Ministry. After the coming Lebaran holidays the Directorate General of Immigration will have officials in place and working in Guangzhou.
The United Indonesia Cabinet
The Minister explained how the newly installed cabinet of Indonesian Ministers have all agreed to prioritize issues connected to security, justice, democracy and social welfare. Saying that any matter connected to the people's welfare is now a top priority, he said tourism is receiving more attention because of its role as the Nation's second most important source of foreign exchange and the multitude of benefits that flow from this sector.
Repeating his call for more teamwork and greater positive thinking, the Minister admonished the tourism leaders to work harder to develop tourism. "We should be ashamed that Indonesia only produces 5 million visitors a year when our neighbors are able to exceed arrival totals of 10 million," the Minister added.
Bali's Spoiled for Spas
Bali Operators Dominate Winners in SpaAsia Crystal Awards.
SpaAsia - Asia Pacific's Premier Spa and Wellness Magazine – has announced the winners of its multi-category awards for the very best components in the Spa industry. Nominations were submitted by readers from around the world, tabulated by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and then submitted to undercover visits and final vetting by a team of incognito judges.
In all, awards were presented in 47 categories with Bali operators dominating by winning 11 of the coveted crystal trophies - with the Ritz Carlton, Bali Resort and Spa garnering four separate awards including the top honor of Best Destination Spa Resort.
The complete list of Bali recipients of the SpaAsia Crystal Awards were:
• The Ritz-Carlton, Bali Resort and Spa named as the overall winner for "Best Destination Spa Resort."
• Mandara Spa the international spa company founded in Bali was named as the "Best Spa Group/Brand."
• Kirana Spa Bali named as the "Best Romantic Spa."
• Maya Ubud Resort & Spa named as the "Best Spa Experience."
• The Ritz Carlton, Bali Resort and Spa named "The Best Beauty Spa."
• The Ritz Carlton, Bali Resort and Spa named "Best Body Contouring Spa."
• The Ritz Carlton, Bali Resort and Spa named for "Best Wrap."
• The Legian Bali named for the "Spa with Most Original Treatment Menu."
• Kirana Spa Bali named as "Best Place to Indulge Your Senses."
Local Labor Office Bans Sending Balinese Abroad to Work as Maids and Babysitters.
The Chief of the Regional Manpower Office, Komang Rai Sudjaka, has reiterated that his office will not approve the sending of low-level Balinese workers abroad to work in non-formal positions, such as house maids and babysitters.
Concerned over recent reports of the abuse and arrest of Indonesian house maids employed abroad, Sudjaka has reminded the eight official licensed labor recruitment agencies in Bali not to attempt to send low level household staff on overseas assignments. At the same time, he has asked the public and job seeker's assistance to report anyone seeking to recruit people for such overseas postings.
The Manpower Office's desire is that only skilled Balinese workers be allowed to accept employment abroad.
Australian Musical Duo Appearing at The Westin, Nusa Dua December 23, 2004 – January 20, 2005.
Well-known Queensland performers, Michael Barber and Jennifer Dunn, better-known as "Soul Therapy" will be performing nightly at Kites Bar & Lounge at The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali for a limited engagement from December 23, 2004 through January 20, 2005.
Recipients of numerous awards for their performance at public events throughout Queensland, "Soul Therapy" has also toured Asia performing in Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Thailand.
With a musical style that covers music from the 1950 through the hits of the current year, these performer command every musical genre from rhythm and blues, jazz, country to soul classics.
"Soul Therapy" will perform nightly at Kites Bar & Lounge from 7-11 p.m..
ASEANTA Aims for Single Visas Valid for 10 Member-Countries by 2009.
The ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) comprised of member tourism organization from the 10-member nations of ASEAN, is busy lobbying their respective governments to adopt a policy of a single visa valid for all ten countries as a critical step of turning ASEAN into a single tourism destination.
According to ASEANTA's Vice-President, Elly Hutabarat, the idea of a single ASEAN visa has received widespread support from the governments of the association but has encountered problems in moves towards the actual implementation of the measure due to the varying immigration and visa policies among the 10 countries.
To facilitate the change ASEANTA has set a target deadline date of 2009 for introduction of the new "one-visa" policy. But, according to Hutabarat, the commencement date could be accelerated by ASEAN during a coming Ministerial meeting.
ASEANTA - in addition to their efforts to introduce a single ASEAN visa are also actively working for passport-free-travel by citizens of ASEAN nations traveling between member countries of the association. Under this scheme, passports would be replaced by a ASEAN Identity Card or Smart Card that would allow full freedom of movement within the 10-member region.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Indonesia's Airline Captains Quitting in Record Numbers to Join New Airlines at Home and Abroad.
The sudden upsurge in new national and regional air carriers is making itself felt at Garuda Indonesia (GA) and Merpati Nusantara (MZ) where cockpit crew are reportedly leaving in record numbers to accept more lucrative positions with competing airlines.
The Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia reports that no fewer than 35 pilots have already left MZ over the past 5 months while GA has witnessed the resignation of 16 of their pilots. According to the report, the pilots, lured by better pay and benefit packages, have left their current positions to accept jobs with domestic carriers such as Adam Air and Lion Air, or with overseas airlines including Air Asia, Qatar Airways, Eva Air and Singapore Airlines.
The President of the Association of Garuda Pilots (APG), Arie Supari, has reportedly approached the Minister of Transportation, Hatta Radjasa, and the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN), Soegiharto, to urged urgent steps be taken to stop the exodus of Indonesian pilots. Supari, the head of the organization representing all Garuda pilots, predicted that the total number of Garuda Pilots resigning from the airline would reach 50 by the end of 2004 if the Government does not take immediate steps to remedy the situation.
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