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Details on Indonesian Representation at Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo in Melbourne, February 22-23, 2005.
The largest gathering of meetings, conference, incentive and exhibition professionals in the southern hemisphere - AIME 2005, will take place at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Center February 22-23, 2005.
A record 815 exhibitors from 50 countries are registered to participate promoting their destinations and travel products to an expected 2,800 visitors expected to attend.
Large Indonesian Delegation to Attend
Eager to stimulate conferences and meetings, a sizeable Indonesian contingent will be exhibiting together from the Indonesian Pavilion (Booth #3308) at AIME 2005. In addition to meetings with decision-makers in the meeting business sector, the Indonesian delegation will also be hosting social events and a press conference.
Participating in the Indonesian Pavilion are:
• The Ministry of Culture and Tourism
• The Jakarta Convention Bureau/Jakarta City Government Tourism Office
• Inter-Continental Resort, Bali
• Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort
• Consulate General Republic of Indonesia in Melbourne
• Garuda Indonesia
• Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, Bali
• Pacto Tours
• Melia Bali Villas Spa Resort
• Bali Hilton International
• Nikko Bali Resort & Spa
• Hyatt Resorts Bali (Bali Hyatt and Grand Hyatt Bali)
• Hotel Padma Bali
• Neu Kunci
• Tour East Indonesia
• Conrad Bali Resort & Spa
• Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa
• Bali Discovery Tours
The Indonesian delegation have scheduled a briefing for the press between 13:00-14:00 hours on Tuesday, February 22, 2005.
US$35.6 Million From Visa Sales
Total Revenues Collected in 2004 from Visa on Arrival Fees Falls Short of Projected US$50 Million.
The Department of Immigration reports that during all of 2004 only US$35.6 million in fees were generated by the visa-on-arrival system, a figure substantially less than the US$50 million originally projected to accrue from the payment of US$25 (30 days) and US$10 (3 days) made by the nationals of 21 countries eligable to purchase visas upon arrival in Indonesia.
According to the Immigration Department, some 1.3 million tourists purchased a 30-day US$25 visa on arrival between February 1, when the policy was introduced, and the end of the year. Another 280,932 visitors purchased a 3-day $10 visa during the same period.
The Head of the Immigration Department's Public Relation Division, Soepriatna Anwar, said the long-awaited automated information management system to improve control and service from the immigration department remains unrealized, awaiting the final approval from the Minister of Finance to use some of the funds collected from the visa system to finance the purchase of the sophisticated monitoring system.
Anwar, quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, also explained that service by the immigration department continues to be upgraded, pointing out that the 10 immigration service counters at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport were increased to 30 counters in January 2005.
Changes in Visa Policy on the Horizon?
Local Press Suggest that 11 Countries to be Added to Visa on Arrival List. Announcement Expected by End of Month.
The Indonesian-language daily Bisnis Indonesia reported in its February 16, 2005 edition, that the Government is expected to soon announce additional countries to be added to the Visa-on-Arrival list. That announcement, anticipated before the end of February 2005, is expected to add 11 more countries to the current total of 21 nations eligible to purchase a 30 day visa upon arrival at any Indonesian international gateway city.
Currently, the following 21 countries are eligible to pay US$25 for a 30 day visa or US$10 for a 3 day visa upon landing in Indonesia: The United States, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Hungary, U.K., Italy, Japan, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Norway, France, Poland, Switzerland, New Zealand and Taiwan.
Visa – Free Facility
Meanwhile only 11 countries and territories are eligible for a "Visa Free" facility, they are: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Chile, Morocco, Peru and Vietnam.
Countries Expected to be Added
Based on recommendations made to the Government by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the following 11 countries may be added to the list of nations able to arrange visas on arrival: The Netherlands, Sweden, Russian Federation, People's Republic of China, India, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Belgium, and Portugal.
Quoting Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, the recommendation from his department is already before the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security with a final decision on the changes to the visa policy expected as soon the a coordination meeting between the relevant departments and ministries can be convened.
Mason Escapes to Bali
Mason Adams, Managing Director of Asia Escape, Shares His Views on What's Ahead for Australia-Bali Tourism.
Mason Adams, Managing Director of the up and coming Perth-based Australian travel wholesaler - Asia Escape visited Bali and Central Java from February 11- 21, 2005, to catch up with suppliers and friends. During that visit, Mason had time to share his thoughts with balidiscovery.com on the state of the inbound travel market to Bali from Australia.
balidiscovery.com: What kind of year was 2004 for Asia Escape and Bali?
Mason Adams: In a word: tremendous. We experienced over 100% growth in both passenger numbers and room nights produced for Bali Hotels.
balidiscovery.com: Those are impressive figures. To what do you attribute such phenomenal business growth?
Mason Adams: Following the strong downturn in business following the October 2002 Bali Bombing, Bali has once again re-established itself as Australia's most preferred overseas holiday destination. Full credit must also be given to the Balinese who have continued to work hard to promote themselves in key markets, like Australia, and to tourism product owners who continued to invest money in upgrades and product improvements during the down period.
Borrowing a page from the game book of our Balinese friends, Asia Escape's unshakeable faith in the brand equity of the Bali holiday product caused us to use the slack period to consolidate and regroup. As a result, our company stands poised at the beginning of the current business resurgence with new senior staff to assist in marketing and operations and new technologies to help us serve and expand our existing customer base.
balidiscovery.com: What were the effects of the December 26, 2004 tsunami on your Bali-bound business?
Mason Adams: There was a momentary pause of a few days right after the disaster as everyone was glued to their televisions, trying to comprehend the enormous disaster.
However, once people realized Bali had escaped the earthquake and tsunami unscathed, bookings were not only back on track, but grew even more as people who might have taken a holiday in the tsunami-affected areas were now redirecting their holiday plans to Bali.
balidiscovery.com: Do you think there are any lessons to learn for Bali from the current disaster?
Mason Adams: Bali has been through so much in recent years that the tsunami disaster must serve as a reminder to everyone on the island of the need to have in place well-developed disaster and crisis management plans. The world changed on December 26 and I hope the Indonesian government and the Australian governments' waste no time in establishing the proposed early warning system which might help alleviate similar natural disasters in the future.
balidiscovery.com: Ranking officials from both countries have described relations between Indonesia and Australia as having "never been closer" than they are in recent weeks. Do you agree?
Mason Adams: Absolutely. The terrible tragedy of the North Sumatran earthquake has provided the Australians the chance to take a lead role in relief and aid efforts; the chance to give concrete expression to a long standing and deeply held affection the Australian people have for their nearest and largest neighbor in Asia.
balidiscovery.com: How do you see the travel business between Australia and Bali developing in 2005?
Mason Adams:Asia Escape is very upbeat about Bali in 2005. Based on early bookings during the first two months of 2005, we see our business at least doubling again in 2005. We're busy seeking new hotels and new secondary destinations in Indonesia, such a Yogyakarta and Lombok, in order to be able to accommodate the growing demand.
Bali's Best Honeymoon Hotel
Irish Newspaper List 5 Best Places in the World to Celebrate a Honeymoon with Bali's Begawan Giri Making the List.
The February 16, 2005, edition of the Belfast Telegraph in an article written by Rhiannon Batten listed the 5 premier romantic holidays for celebrating a perfect honeymoon.
Making the list of top 5 honeymoon destinations were:
• My Own Private Island, Caribe Cay, The Bahamas
• Begawan Giri, Bali, Indonesia
• Domaine des Andéols, France
• The Lodge, Scotland
• Camp Jabulani, South Africa
Begawan Giri, Bali
Here's what the Belfast Telegraph had to say about Bali's honeymoon retreat set in Ubud's jungle:
"Begawan Giri is a sight for champagne-sozzled eyes. An upmarket resort on the outskirts of Ubud, Bali's cultural and geographical heart, it is surrounded by misty forests, gentle mountains and steamy paddy fields. The sleek suites are equally soothing on the spirit, especially those in Tirta Ening, a floating Balinese pavilion. The master suite includes a spectacular outdoor bath-house set in a water garden. It may be quite a drive from the beach, but who cares when you've got a butler, a staff to guest ratio of eight to one and access to the resort's swish spa?
Chair of Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Declares What's Needed to Make National Tourism Blossom.
Yanti Sukamdani, the Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) recently told the Indonesian-language daily Bisnis Indonesia what she thought was needed to make Indonesia's tourism industry blossom and grow.
Among the recommendations made by Ms. Sukamdani:
• A commitment of US$50 million for national tourism promotion. Current promotion budgets are only US$ 3 million.
• Cross-departmental cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism from various other branches of the Government including the Department of Trade, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Agency for National Planning, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.
• An exemption from the Rp. 1 million (approximately US$108) fiscal fee paid by tourism professionals traveling abroad to participate in promotional activities. According to Sukamdani, trade missions from other sectors of the nation's export economy are extended this facility, while tourism workers are not.
• Support for the Department of Foreign Affairs to open Indonesian tourism promotion centers in Australia, Japan and China in 2005, in the Middle East and Europe in 2006, and in the United States in 2007.
• A coordinated push among all Indonesian government departments to stimulate the MICE sector - Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions.
• Support from the Ministry of Communications to improve facilities and services at all of Indonesia's international gateways.
The PHRI Chief said coordinated action is needed in order to meet the Government's stated goal of 6 million foreign visitors in 2005 capable of bringing the Nation US$6 billion in much needed foreign exchange.
Air Paradise Turns Two
Bali's Home-Grown Airline Takes an Entire Week to Celebrate a Milestone.
Admirers and friends of Kadek Wiranatha - the owner of Air Paradise International gathered in force in Bali during the week of February 14, 2005, to wish both the man and his airline the very best as they marked the Carrier's second anniversary.
A Most Remarkable Two Years
When the inaugural flight to Perth first took off in February 2003, sceptics predicting the imminent demise of Bali's first locally owned airline were not hard to find. The challenges of starting an airline just months after the tragic October 2002 Bali bombing to destinations issuing stern travel warning against travel to Bali seemed almost insurmountable.
As time has proven, however, Pak Kadek's unflinching love for his island home and fanatical faith in its people - together with a dogged determination to ease the suffering of the Balines people, have managed to fuel his start-up airline through what must have been extremely difficult early days.
And, as time has also proven, Kadek's enthusiasm for Bali and commitment to establish a unique Balinese standard of in-flight service has proven infectious in the marketplace. In 2004 more than 120,000 people flew his yellow-tailed airline between Bali and Australia.
Only two brief years after its initial take-off, Air Paradise continues to soar to new heights, now operating 4 wide-bodied aircraft flying 14 flights a week between Bali and Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The Airline has also launched services to Korea and Japan.
What a Party!
More than 300 Australian travel industry figures were flown to Bali to attend various functions held at Gado-Gado, Paparazzi and Double Six - leading night time entertainment venues in Bali also owned by the island's most dynamic entrepreneur.
Now, with a solid team firmly in control of his airline and a constantly growing base of satisfied and loyal customers, we suggest you keep your eyes peeled for an Air Paradise International jet coming soon to an airport near you.
Earning friends and fans, and building air bridges between the world and Bali is what Pak Kadek obviously does best!
Because We Care More
Bali Discovery Tours Senior Guides Get First Aid Training from the Bali International Medical Center.
In an innovative approach to total customer care - senior guiding and operational staff from Bali Discovery Tours undertook an intensive short-course in basic life support and first aid training provided by the Medical Education Development and Technology Department of the Bali International Medical Center (BIMC) on Saturday, February 19, 2005.
Conducted in the modern conference and education center of the BIMC, 15 guides and operational staff were provided with intensive "hands-on" training in the latest protocols for managing a medical emergency.
Following assessment and actions steps definitely proven to save lives [ See: Local Hero: Wayan Yuni Sartika ], the Bali Discovery team obtained practical insights regarding effective crisis intervention that can save and sustain the sick and injured until trained medical staff can take over.
Using sophisticated technological monitoring and medical teaching aides the participants learned basic Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) techniques, the Heimlich maneuver, first-on-the- scene-aid for major trauma cases, how to deal with victims succumbing to shock, procedures for handling burn victims, and other common major medical emergencies.
Also participating in the training was Bali Discovery Tours Operations Manager, M. Fathur Rozi who said, "I'm extremely proud that Bali Discovery Tours has pioneered first-aid training for its operational and guiding staff and think such training should be a required part of the official training for all guides working in Bali."
Rozi added, "the training provided was very impressive and the response from our guides was very positive. We select our staff based on their strong desire to help and assist visitors to Bali. This special additional training has given each of us a potentially invaluable tool in looking after the welfare of our guests."
Pica Tapas Bar & Churrasqueria Restaurant
Balidiscovery.com Pays a Visit on Bali's Authentic Spanish Tapas Restaurant. Has Anyone Seen Our Menu?
Our cursory research into the subject indicates that the word "Tapas" derives from the Spanish term tapar - literally to cover. Fine. But, what do the delicious little dishes of food served in Spanish bars and taverns have to do with "covers" of any sort?
One friend insisted that the tidbits of savory food provide "cover" while enjoying wine, sustaining you until the next meal.
Always the pragmatist, however, I much prefer the explanation that tapa derives from the slice of ham or cheese placed by the bartender over your sherry glass used to keep away flies. This explanation contends that, with time, the pub keepers discovered that the salty ham "covers" stimulated beverage sales giving rise to the almost limitless range and style of tapas enjoyed today.
Bali's Newest Food Mecca
Bali's newest "foodies" destination and a must on any visit to the island has to be the Istana Galeria Shopping Mall. Located on the back side of Kuta, adjacent to the do-it-your-selfer's sacred temple of Ace Hardware, the maze of small lanes and alleys at the Mall are home to an interesting range of international eateries – each competing in price and squeaky-cleanliness for customers. Everything from up-market wine bars to bakeries to sushi joints intermixed with a nice peppering of Indonesian eateries are all tucked away at the Istana Galeria Mall.
Pica Tapas Bar & Churrasqueria Restaurant
Our most recent discovery at the Mall - Pica Tapas Bar & Churrasqueria Restaurant is a veritable feast for both the eyes and the discerning palate. Accessed via a welcoming and well-lit bar area, the restaurant immediately opens up, providing an expansive venue capable of accommodating up to 160 diners in a choice of air conditioned comfort or an al fresco setting on the back patio to keep watch over the large Churasqueria or charcoal grills packed with slow-roasting meats.
Enter the Maestro
The host at Pica Tapas Bar & Churrasqueria Restaurant, Carlos Vinas, has some very strongly held opinions about the whole business of eating in restaurants. For example, he doesn't think that fussy presentation is a good thing because it involves the food being handled too much. He also thinks most people don't want to have to make complicated choices from a menu. Thus, when he arrived at our table and said "you really don't need a menu" we agreed and spent the rest of the evening at the tender mercies of Carlos' very robust selection of food.
Right after our first bottle of wine was open and poured, bowls containing a selection of olives – carefully marinated in the Restaurants' own kitchen appeared. These were soon joined by more small bowls brimming with wonderful tidbits of food - Tapas: there were small brochettes of seafood and BBQ meats, meatballs, savories stews with mini ribs, spiced croquettes, stuffed cuttlefish and lightly grilled red peppers - just to name a few. We had the definite sense that the variety of Tapas on offer was almost endless and changed each day, but were afraid to ask for confirmation of that fact out of fear that more dishes might suddenly appear on our crowded table-top.
Already well on our way to satiation, a troupe of young men suddenly entered the room carrying long stainless steel skewers of succulent roast beef, pork, chicken and sausages where they sliced generous servings onto each diner's plates. Each waiter, armed with a long and very sharp butcher's knife, convinced us it was best to amiably agree to each proffered serving of protein rather than run the risk of offending men who make their living wrestling with fire and sharpened steel.
Already near bursting at the seams, round after round of BBQ meats gave way to the grand entrance of a traditional "paella" – an enormous skillet of rice seasoned with saffron, cooked in broth to al dente perfection, and surrounded by spiced prawns and mussels.
We slowly began to suspect that, based on the copious volumes of food being placed before us, if this restaurant does, in fact, have a menu - it might just run to several volumes.
Finishing our paela and raising our hands in culinary mock surrender, we must have looked like amateur kecak dancers to the waiters who arrived and placed a rich Spanish creme dessert before each diner. Ms. Prudence long gone and buried, we followed this with the mandatory round of strong coffees and Spanish brandies.
Pica Tapas Bar offers a dining experience that is unique in Bali; bringing the authentic traditions and culture of Spain together with excellent food and service – all presented with flair and a great sense of fun.
As we slowly waddled out of the restaurant, we realized that we still hadn't seen a menu.
We'll save that experience for the next visit.
Pica Tapas Bar & Churrasqueria Restaurant
Open daily from 9 am – midnight.
Istana Kuta Galeria, Blok 15, River Side, Kuta – Bali
Poetry, Poets and the First World War – Friday, February 25, 2005.
A remarkable one-man show by one of Great Britain's most renowned performers – Benjamin Luxon, will be presented at a private residence in Padang Galak (Sanur) on Saturday, February 25, 2005.
Lauded for nearly 30 years work as a recitalist, concert performer and opera performer – Benjamin Luxon CBE began his performance career with the English Opera Group under the direction of the legendary Benjamin Britten who composed the role "Owen Wyngrave" especially for Luxon's rich baritone voice.
A regular performer over the years at Covent Garden and Glydelbourne, Luxon has appeared at virtually every opera house in Europe including Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Prague, Vienna and La Scalla in Milan. Commanding a repertoire that ranged from Early Music to Contemporary renditions of musicals, Victorian ballads and music hall, Luxon has over 100 recordings to his credit
Made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1986 for his service to British Music, Luxon's vocal musicality was cut tragically short by a serious hearing ailment that ended his singing career in the mid-1990's. Since that time he has been very much in demand as a narrator with major symphony orchestras, an educator, an opera director and for his commanding one man shows of poetry readings.
An Most Memorable Evening - Not to be Missed.
Performing for free in Bali, Benjamin Luxon will present the poignant poetry of soldier-poets from World War I. The inspired lines of Sigfried Sasson, Wolfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg and Robert Graves – among others – will expose the cruel nature of war and the indefatigable human spirit in the midst of war's carnage and indescribable horror.
Attendance is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted to benefit the YKIP Foundation - dedicated to providing educational and health assistance to Bali's less fortunate.
Seating is limited and reservations/performance location instructions are available via the e-mail link below.
Thrice Weekly Flights to Commence on March 3, 2005.
Strong passenger demand from the Japanese market for Bali has prompted the National Carrier Garuda Indonesia (GA) to restart scheduled air service between Bali and Fukuoka, Japan.
In announcing the three times a week service between Denpasar (DPS) and Fukuoka (FUK), GA's General Manager in Bali, Kriston Rasmanto, also revealed that starting in April in response to growing Japanese demand Garuda would also be increasing from three to five the number of weekly flights operated between Bali and Osaka. GA also operates daily services between Bali and Tokyo and three times a weeks between Bali and Nagoya.
The Airline uses Airbus A-330 equipment on its Bali to Japan flight sectors with total seating capacity of 341 passengers – configured at 42 business and 251 economy.
Japan continues to be the single largest source of tourist visitors to Bali, representing 22.39% of all foreign arrivals (326,397) in 2004.
According to Kriston, quoted in the Indonesian-language daily Kompas, his airline controls the lion share of Japanese air travelers to Bali. In 2004, GA carried 75,305 Japanese tourists to Bali while their nearest competitor, Japan Airlines, carried only 61,861 passengers.
Saving Lives, Making Friends
Nine Balinese Lifesavers Depart for Western Australia.
A send-off party for nine members of Bali's Bandung Regency Life Saving Squad was recently organized by the Australian Consulate in Bali prior to the group's departure on Tuesday, February 15, 2005.
The nine-man team will be working side-by-side with Western Australian life-savers at the Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club, undergoing intensive training to sharpen their life-saving skills and help Bali prepare a team for the World Life Saving Championships set for Victoria, Australia in February 2006.
Reflecting the very cordial state of relations now blossoming between Indonesia and Australia, a Consulate official described the unique chance to work with Australian lifesavers as a cross-cultural exchange that both sharpens skills and builds lasting friendships between Australians and Balinese.
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