"I am overwhelmed by the superb customer service you are providing. Your concern, kindness and professionalism is to be admired. I truly appreciate all of your valuable assistance and have total confidence in your company."
Airport Workers at 13 Indonesian Ports May Disrupt Holiday Travel in Pension Plan Dispute.
The Jakarta Post in its January 14, 2005, edition reports that 13 of Indonesia's main airports may come to a standstill if a threatened strike by airport operators takes place. The labor action, scheduled for Friday, January 21, 2005, will affect the first day of a three-day holiday weekend expected to be crowded with domestic air travellers.
The focus of the dispute is reportedly a plan by the Government to privatize the management of pension funds paid in by the employees of P.T. Angkasa Pura I - the state-owned company charged with managing the 13 airports.
Workers have expressed their concern for the safety of their US$11.1 million pension fund, which if the plan goes ahead will to be taken over by a private insurance firm who, according to the press report, will be paid 30% of the fund's value for management services.
Claiming their pleas for a review of the decision have gone unheeded, the Angkasa Pura workers will launch demonstrations from January 18-20, before formally launching a full strike on January 21.
It is unclear from reports if the strike will continue beyond a single day.
Should the strike go ahead, international and domestic air operations will cease at the 13 affected airports.
The 13 airports that could be crippled by the threatened strike include: Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport; Surbaya's Juanda International Airport; Makassar's Hasanuddin International Airport; Balikpapan's Sepinggan International Airport; Biak's Frans Kaisiepo International Airport; Manado's Sam Ratulangi International Airport; Yogyakarta's Adisucipto International Airport; Surakarta's Adisumarno Airport; Banjarmasin's Samsudin Noor Airport; Semarang's Achmad Yani Airport; Mataram's Selaparang Airport; Ambon's Pattimura Airport; and Kupang's Eltari Airport.
The Threat of Tsunamis in Bali
Japanese Expert Assesses Tsunami Threats to Bali.
Although untouched by the earthquake and tsunami of December 26, 2004, Bali nonethless faces the potential threat of being swamped by a future Tsunami. That's the opinion of Professor Dr. Yasuhiro Sugimoro, the Director of the Centre for Remote Sensing and Ocean Sciences (CReSOS), who spoke at a conference held at Bali's Bukit Jimbaran University on Tuesday, January 11, 2005.
Speaking at a Workshop on the Possibility of Tsunami in Bali and Disaster Prevention, Professor Sugimoro said that while it is impossible to know where and when a tsunami will occur, Bali's proximity to a number of geological fault lines where major tectonic plates meet mean the island will always be subject to the threat or earthquakes and tsunamis.
Citing historical evidence of past tsunami activity in Bali, the Professor encouraged the introduction of early warning systems and the planting of mangrove forests in the exposed areas of Sanur, Benoa and Nusa Dua. Mangroves have proven themselves an effective buffer against tidal wave damage.
Editorial: Nature's Wake-Up Call for Bali
The Sumatran and South Asia December 26, 2004, Tsunami Disaster will be Tragically Compounded if Bali Fails to Take Appropriate Action.
The people of Bali have joined the rest of the world in their shock and horror at the almost incalculable tragedy and devastation caused by the Sumatran earthquake of December 26, 2004, and the resulting tsunami that swept across Asia and Africa. Having only too recently drunk from disaster's bitter chalice, the people of Bali reacted quickly mobilizing money, food, clothing and medicines for those struggling to survive amidst the wreckage of their once prosperous lives.
Knowing all too well that nothing can replace the lives lost or recoup the shattered dreams of an entire generation, Bali must take heed and embark upon whatever steps it can to avoid a similar catastrophe visiting our shores.
Less than two weeks after the tragedy, the U.S.A. has acknowledged the threat posed by tsunamis and is rushing ahead full-steam with a US$35 million project for the introduction of an early warning system to protect its Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean beachfronts. Similarly, we are encouraged by reports that the Government of Indonesia is seriously considering offers of assistance from Australia to help establish a tsunami warning system.
Where is Bali's Voice?
But, frankly, the very survival of Bali's way of life is something too important to be passively left to bureaucrats and politicians. The island's community leaders and tourism industry stakeholders need to add their voice to the chorus calling for early detection; lobbying for an urgent introduction of a system of tsunami preparedness.
Impossible to predict as to their timing and location, being caught in the path of such a violent geophysical phenomenon is, on its most basic level, Mother Nature's most macabre illustration of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet, no one can deny that Bali sits at the juncture of several tectonic plates resulting in frequent tremors generated by earthquakes, the majority of which are mercifully minor in magnitude. Not surprisingly, following the recent tragedy, hoteliers and tourism operators in Bali are suddenly answering questions regarding potential tsunami and earthquake threats and natural disaster preparedness from potential customers.
A Brave New World
The world changed on December 26, 2004.
While we find solace in the lack of a major tsunami in Bali's living memory, the horrific images on our televisions in recent weeks means that it is now certain that a very real fear of such a catastrophe will be in the minds of our families, visitors and tourism industry staff for years to come.
How will hotels and attractions operator react when we experience our next inevitable geophysical "shake?" Will we, as we did in the past, let out a collective yelp and then quickly return to our work? Or, will hotels, beaches and swimming pools empty as guests and staff run, seeking higher ground?
Clearly, Bali's well-developed security plans, hammered out between the Hotels and the Bali Police, must now be redrafted to include evacuation scenarios – no matter how remote the threat. Competent authorities have to be identified and communication networks put in place and tested that will instantaneously assess and communicate the severity of every seismic event and the follow on threat of tsunami.
Now is clearly the time to answer these questions, train our staff, and have communication hierarchies in place that will prevent widespread panic precisely because a reliable and trusted watch guard system is in place.
In the aftermath of the Boxing Day tragedy, let's not underestimate the need for staff training and general education on the nature of earthquakes and tsunami. After seeing the horrific and unforgettable images that have been shown on TV over the past week, when the next quake occurs – no matter how minor - will hotel staff abandon their posts and run home to protect their families?
Until the memories and images of the Sumatran tsunami fade from out collective memories, we suggest that past performance by staff and guests will be no indication of future behavior when the next earthquake is felt.
Yes, the world really did change on December 26th, 2004.
Like the fate awaiting the proverbial ostrich whose head is buried in the sand with its derriére pointing squarely out to sea, it's exceedingly stupid to ignore Mother Nature.
More to the point, Bali's visitors are not likely to allow us such mindles bliss.
Bali by the Numbers: November 2004 - the Penultimate Month on the way to a Record Breaking Year in Bali Arrivals.
Overall arrivals for the month of November 2004 tallied in at 1,332,784 – a record year-to-date performance, narrowly beating by 1.5% the previous high for the first 11 months of the year set in 2000. balidiscovery.com provides a pdf file for complimentary download presenting a breakdown by country of residency for all Bali's direct foreign arrivals for January-November 2001-2004.
The short to medium-haul Asia Pacific region remained Bali's main source of visitors. The region improved 60.88% year-to-date, demonstrating rapid recovery. Compared to the a more normal business period, such as 2001, Asia Pacific arrivals were still up a significant 19.5%.
Concerns persist, however, that the sudden emergence of the Asia Pacific market for Bali heralds a decline in quality of tourists - as measured in terms of average spend and length of stay on the island. Another area of concern posed by this development is the potential over-dominance of only 4 source markets for Bali, fueling fears of an under-diversified market mix. Making this case is the fact that through the end of November 2004, visitors from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia constituted 59.5% of all Bali arrivals.
Dramatic growth in arrival numbers from Malaysia and Singapore led the 31.79% year-to-date improvement in ASEAN arrivals. The appearance on the scene of budget carriers from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore suggest that this trend will strengthen further over time.
Cause for cautious optimism can be found in the 33.12% improvement in arrivals from the Americas for January-November 2004. Yet, U.S. arrivals have still not managed to regain their lost splendor of just 5 years ago, down almost 30% from the then record high performance by Yankee travelers to Bali.
European travels bounced back 27.46% year-to-date through November 2004, but continue to lag nearly 20% behind better times in 2001.
The Changing Market Mix
A comparison of the market mix of nationalities visiting Bali between January-November 2001 and 2004 shows:
• The Asia Pacific share has become 64.2% of all Bali travelers, up from 56.5% in 2001.
• ASEAN's share of the market has more than doubled from 2001 – 2004, now representing 8.2% of all visitors.
• Visitors from the America's now represent only 5% of all visitors to Bali, down from 7.3% in 2001.
• European visitors have shrunk to 21.9% of Bali's visitors for the subject period, reporting a 28.3% market share just three years before.
Preliminary figures show 2004 year end totals for Bali foreign arrivals set a new record at 1.457 million.
Detailed statistics breakdowns on arival numbers coming soon on balidiscovery.com and in future installments of "Bali by the Numbers."
Legendary Musical Group in One-Night Performance at Bali's Hard Rock Hotel to Aid Aceh Relief on February 6, 2005.
Jascha, Kåre and Mikkel – the three members of the fabled Danish musical group Michael Learns to Rock (MLTR) is coming to Bali for a one night performance at Hard Rock Hotel Bali on Sunday, February 6, 2005.
The mega-group now has more than 8 million recordings to its credit since its professional debut in 1991. MLTR began as a group of high school chums in Aarhus, Denmark back in 1987. Keyboard player Jascha Richter, the "old man" of the group at 42, originally gathered the band's members together. MLTR's drummer, Kåre Wanscher, and guitarist, Mikkel Lentz, complete the dynamic trio who contribute their music and voices to a repetroire known for its tight vocal harmonies and discernable lyrics.
Following the release of two albums in the early 1990s, MLTR's reputation soareds in 1994 when they become recipients of the RSH Award in Germany and at the SEA Grammy Awards in Singapore where the band was named "The Best Performing Act of the Year."
Consistently producing hit albums and sold out tours for their main following in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia – the group is extremely popular in Bali where they once used a local beach to record a video clip.
Special Charity Concert
In order to help raise funds for Achenese relief projects, MLTR is presenting a one-night only concert at the Hard Rock Hotels "Sand Island" starting from 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 8, 2005.
Tickets are on sale for Rp. 200.000 and can be purchased by calling the Hotel at ++62-361-761869 or via the e-mail link provided.
Space is limited and this concert promises to be a sell-out!
Karma Resorts Holds A "Chill Out" Afternoon of Music and Fashion on Sunday, January 23, 2005 for Aceh Relief.
Karma Resorts and The Royal Jimbaran Bay Resort will bring internationally-acclaimed DJ and recording artists Jose Padilla to Bali for a special charity event in support of Achenese relief efforts. Widely regarded as an international ambassador for the Balearic sound, an ambient house music that emerged in the late 80s, Jose will be performing at Café di Mare's chill out afternoon at The Royal Jimbaran Bay Resort on Sunday, January 23, 2005.
The afternoon of music, complemented by fashion, auctions, door prizes and sumptuous cuisine - starts at 3:00 p.m. with proceeds raised during the day going to disaster relief in North Sumatra.
Rounding out the afternoon will also be music presented by two other outstanding DJ's – Jonny from Bali and Mario from Italy. The festivities also include fashion shows presented by Body & Soul and Milo. While one of the Resort's luxurious villas has been set aside for a "one-off" art exhibition by Bali-based artist Andrew Wellman, who will provide several paintings for the day's charity auction.
Assisting the resort in sponsoring the event are Bali Moon Liquors and Bacardi Gold - providing libations to accompany a light BBQ and special finger foods organized by di Mare's talented Executive Chef Raymond Saja. A cooling effect to the tropical afternoon will be contributed via refreshing gelato from Studio del Gelato - on offer throughout the day.
Door prizes and auction items have been contributed by a number of local companies.
Price of admission for the afternoon is Rp. 150,000 (approximately US$16.30), which includes a first drink. Reservations can be made by calling The Royal Jimbaran Bay at ++62-(0)361-708800 or by following the e-mail link below.
Special Weekend Accommodation Offer
As an added measure of support for Achenese relief the Resort will contribute US$200 from every villa occupied on the night of January 23, 2005.
For those wishing to stay in one of the luxury villas able to accommodate 6 people, a special price of US$350 plus 21% tax and service is available exclusively for the nights of January 21,22 and 23, 2005.
Balieats.com Provides a Summary of Bali Best New Restaurants from 2004.
balieats.com - the Island's authoritative guide to restaurants has posted its list of the best new dining venues in Bali from 2004.
The popular website featuring restaurant critiques and price indications on hundreds of local dining spots allows visitors to sort dining options by location and type of cuisine or search for a restaurant by name.
The year-end wrap entitled "Bali, Food Capital of Asia" provides a convenient district by district list of up and coming dining venues. Equally handy is balieats.com's designation of restaurants in the following categories: best cheapie; best value; best nightspot; best fine dining, and their ultimate accolade – the best restaurant.
Who got the top honor for Bali dining in 2004? You'll have to follow the link provided to find out.
Bali Hoteliers Working to Educate Bali's Next Generation of Leaders.
A United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and World Bank study published after the Bali bombing showed that an average 31% of all Balinese children were forced to drop out of school due to the economic impact following that tragedy. [Bali: Beyond the Tragedy]
In order to address the urgent need to get Bali's children "back to school," the Bali Hotel Association (BHA) has committed support to the Yayasan Kemanusiaan Ibu Pertiwi (YKIP) Foundation's "Back to School" program for 2005. As part of that support, BHA has printed 40,000 informational brochures for distribution to guests staying ay member hotels in the coming months.
The Extent of the Problem
YKIP has documented thousands of Bali's children in need of educational scholarships. The "Back to School Fund," established in October 2004, assists impoverished children on the island Bali with educational costs. By donating US$150 per year, sponsors pay school fees, books, uniforms and basic expenses for a primary school student in Bali who would otherwise become a dropout. Secondary school sponsorships cost US$250 per year.
The YKIP has estimated that Rp. 3.1 billion (approximately US$ 337,000) is needed to fund schooling costs to get the island's children back to school.
Educational Support From BHA
In addition to the "Back to School Fund," BHA continues to sponsor Balinese tourism university scholars, administers the Annika Linden BHA Memorial Scholarship, and the BHA Foundation Scholarship for the estate of Ketut Tantri.
Maya Ubud Adds Pilates Training to List of Guest Activities.
Bali's 108-room and villa Maya Ubud Resort & Spa have introduced Pilates physical training to its long list of guest activity options.
Created in the 1920s by Dr. Joseph J. Pilates – a renowned physical trainer and founder of the Pilates Studio™, the Pilates Method seeks to improve flexibility and strength without adding muscle bulk.
The exercises coordinate mind, body and breathing movements to develop strong abdominal muscles, stimulate circulation and generate proper alignment of the body.
A Different Activity for Every Day
Complimentary Pilates sessions are offered on three days each week by trained staff employed by the Resort. Yoga classes are offered on two days of the week, while nature walks are conducted on the remaining two days.
Legian Hotel Adds Sculptures by Leading Indonesian Artists to its Gardens.
The 405-room Hotel Padma Bali has recently made some monumental changes to its gardens and over ambience through the installation of sculptures by some of Indonesia's most respected artists.
Now while enjoying the amber sunsets of Kuta beach guests staying at the Hotel can see the sculptured works of Sunaryo, Akmal, Sardjito and Basrizal Al Bara.
Commenting on the new additions to the Hotel Padma Bali's gardens, Tjipjanto Soerjanto, General Manager of the hotel said: "All of us here are very fond of the arts. One of our dreams and on our project list was the desire to create a sculpture garden within the hotel. The intention is to place art pieces of Indonesian artists around our garden area so that everyone can enjoy them. That's also our commitment to the artists, to showcase their work to the public."
Shown on balidiscovery.com is "Leleson" by Sunaryo, Bronze 200 x 70 x 50, 1996 - 2000. Part of the Hotel Padma Bali's garden sculpture collection.
Professional Tennis Academy Seeks to Improve the Game of Island Visitors and Promising Local Junior Players.
The Bali Tennis Academy (BTA) has opened at the Nikko Bali Resort & Spa - near Nusa Dua. Based on an innovative partnership between BTA and the hotel, professional tennis training and tennis camps are now on offer to Bali visitors.
United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) member Jordan Raphael Sancez oversees the BTA. A former Peter Burwash International professional and touring coach for junior players, Jordan is a dedicated teacher, eager to share his love and knowledge of the game with his students and develop the vast reservoir of talent among junior players living in Bali.
Accepting students of all ages and level of playing ability, BTA operates from 3 covered, floodlit hard courts covered in decoturf.
Weekly Tennis Academy
The Camp also has a regular schedule of events via its weekly tennis academy:
• Mondays – Beginner's "How to" - Starting at 8:30-a.m. a 1.5 hour tutorial introduction to the game of tennis.
• Tuesdays - Special Theme Days - Starting at 10:00 a.m. – the BTA pro picks a specific theme in tennis providing an hour or practical insights and playing tips.
• Wednesdays – "Tactics & Strategies" - Starting at 10:00 a.m., a one hour program for players wanting to devise a "game plan" for their game.
• Thursdays – Ladies Tennis Work Out - A vigorous workout for the ladies from 8:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.
• Fridays – "Men's Social Ball Bashing" - From 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. a gathering for the men to play tennis, drink and aggressively belt tennis balls.
Police Arrest Woman for Embassy Bomb Threats
Woman Sent SMS Messages to Keep Boyfriend in Town. Hoax Threat Caused Closure of Jakarta Embassies and Bali Consulate.
Investigations by police into a bomb threat against the Thai and British embassies in Jakarta and the British Consulate in Bali on Friday, January 14, 2005, has resulted in the arrest of a 22 year-old Jakarta woman.
The threats, made via a SMS message on Thursday, caused a full scale alert and shut down of the embassies and sparked a manhunt by Jakarta police. Using sophisticate electronic tracking capabilities police managed to trace the call to the young woman, Zulfah, who reportedly sent the hoax message. According to police, the woman's motive in increasing the threat level was to prevent her fiancé, Agung, who works as a guard at the Thai Embassy, from taking time off for a solo visit back to his home town of Ngawi.
Zulfah was said to have been so shocked and upset when police traced her call and placed her under arrest that she collapsed and had to be rushed to a local hospital.
Police affirm that the woman has no known terrorist links and believe her bomb threats were solely motivated by her desire to control her boyfriend's movements.
Now the jealous young woman faces another problem: Will her fiancé wait for while she serves up to maximum 1 year in prison for instigating the bomb hoax?
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