"Thank you so much for your support during our wonderful stayin Bali. Thanks also to all your dedicated staff, who made our trip a perfect experience. This will really be a memorable incentive to our customers and also to the NEC staff."
More Bali - OZ Flights and an Indonesian Tourism Information Office Coming Soon to Sydney.
Near-record Australian visitor totals for Bali and plans by air carriers operating between Bali and Australia to add capacity over the coming year it's increasing clear that all indications point toward a booming tourism economy in operation between the two neighboring destinations.
At a press conference organized by the Indonesian delegation attending the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne February 22-23, 2005, Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism Deputy Minister of Marketing, Udin Saifuddin, said business and private travel to Indonesia from Australia had risen to more than 420,000 last year as overall arrivals surged past five million and tourism became the country's second largest foreign exchange earner after oil and gas. He said Indonesia is targeting 500,000 visitors from Australia in 2005 and announced that Indonesia will reopen its Sydney Tourist Office in the middle of this year as part of an expansion which will also see new offices in Japan and China.
Garuda Indonesia's Regional Manager for Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.A., Iriansyah Antemas said the new Sydney Tourism Information Office will help Indonesia capitalize on booming interest in Bali in particular and expanding interest in Indonesia in general. "Demand is being driven by the quality and diversity of business and holiday product available in Indonesia as well as value among the best in the world with the Australian currency worth four times (in Indonesia) what it was 20 years ago."
Iriansyah also said that Garuda Indonesia would soon announce detailed plans to increase its capacity from Australia by approximately 20 per cent to cater for holiday and business travel before the end of 2005.
Garuda currently operate 24 weekly flights from Australia
The View from Bali
Invited to represent Bali at the AIME press conference was John M. Daniels, President Director of Bali Discovery Tours, who observed that both Australian and Indonesian leader have describe the current state of relations between the two countries as "closer than ever."
According to Daniels, "relations between Indonesian and Australia are both extensive and intensive. The recent tragedy in North Sumatra presented the Australian people the opportunity to take a lead role in Indonesian relief efforts, expressing a long-standing affection the Australian people have for their nearest neighbors."
Suggesting that Bali is, to some extent, viewed as a domestic desination by many Australians, Daniels pointed out that after a lull of more than 2 years, Bali once again managed in 2004 to reclaim its place as Australia's most preferred overseas holiday destination.
A Shaky Start to 2005
Bali by the Numbers: January Arrival Figures Plummet Following South Asia Tsunami Disaster.
Foreign direct tourist arrivals for January 2005 plummeted 39.7% as compared to the same month just a year before, reflecting a sudden drop in arrivals in Bali and a very lackluster start to the year.
A closer look at the numbers reveals:
Overall, January 2005 versus January 2004 arrivals were down 39.7% totaling only 62,753 - as opposed to the near-record performance of 104,062 arrivals in January 2004. Perhaps most concerning, this is only slightly above the 60,836 visitors recroded in January 2003 - the period just after the Bali bombing and Bali's worst January in recent memory.
While Asian-Pacific arrivals decreased 8.9% in January from a year before, the Australian and Japanese markets largely stayed the course, both turning in arrival numbers somewhat better than 2004.
However, both Taiwanese and South Korean travelers voted to stay away from Bali in the month immediately following the tsunami disaster. Taiwanese business for January was down a whopping 52.8% at 8,116 visitors (17,206 visitors in 2004). South Koreans were similarly dissuaded from traveling to Bali in January 2005, down 21.7% (total 5,007) from 6.396 visitors in 2004.
Arrivals to Bali from ASEAN countries dropped 11.95% in January 2005. Thai and Singaporean residentss stayed close to home in the month following the tsunami. Singapore travelers were the worst affected, down 49.3% from just a year ago at 1,690 visitors. In January 2004 a total of 3,333 Singapore residents called on Bali.
Both surprising and encouraging was Europe's overall arrival performance for Bali in January 2005. European travelers increased 17.22% (25,916) month-to-month 2005 versus 2004, with strong performances turned in by Russia, the U.K. Switzerland, and Sweden.
Equally promising, travelers from the Americas also improved in January up 11.57% from just a year before totaling 5,505.
Ahead: A Game of Catch Up
The ambitious target of 1.7 million foreign visitors to Bali set by the Government for 2005 is now off to a slow and uncertain start with the unexpected downturn in January arrivals.
Time and February's arrival figures will soon demonstrate whether or not the dip in January arrivals is the momentary effect of the public's reluctance to travel in the period immediately following the tragic tsunami disaster or representative of a more long-term problem.
In any case, Bali tourism now finds itself in a game of statistical "catch up" for the remainder of 2005 if it is to regain lost momentum and stay on course to the near 20% improvement in overall arrivals it has set itself for 2005.
Last Minute Komodo Cruise Offer
Limited Space at Special Price on 6 Days/ 5 Nights 'Diving and Dragon' Cruise March 7- 12, 2005.
Just in time for the Nyepi Break, balidiscovery.com is offering a very special price on all the remaining cabins on a 6 days/5 nights departure to Komodo Island National Park aboard a very comfortable 30-meter live-aboard 6 cabin air-conditioned vessel.
A Very Special Price
Strictly available on a first-come-first-serve basis, US$890 includes round trip flights from Bali to Labuan Bajo (Flores); transfers to and from the vessel in Flores; accommodation on a twin sharing basis in an air conditioned cabin with en-suite facilities; all meals services and facilities while on the vessel; snorkeling equipment; use of tenders; fishing; and shore trips.
Not included in this special price are National Park entry fees (US$5); alcoholic beverages and soft drinks consumed during the cruise; gratuities; excess baggage charges; and any items of a personal nature.
The Itinerary 6 Days/5 Nights Diving & Dragons
Day One Monday, March 7, 2005 Fly Denpasar to Labuan Bajo Flight CO3 Departs 10:50 a.m. arriving 12:20 p.m.. Immediate transfer to vessel in time for lunch. Vessel embarks into the Komodo National Park. First dive or snorkeling excursion approximately 3 p.m..
Day Two Tuesday, March 8, 2005 Pink Sand Beach, Komodo National Park. A memorable Dragon Walk together with diving and snorkeling at one of the most beautiful tropical locations in the world.
Day Three Wednesday, March 9, 2005 After an Early morning location shift, wake up in the remote southern waters of Komodo National Park. Highlights include diving with Manta rays off some of the world's richest reefs.
Day Four Thursday, March 10, 2005 Padar Island Komodo National Park. This uninhabited island in the middle of the park boasts some of the most spectacular dive sites in Komodo.
Day Five Friday, March 11, 2005 North Komodo Komodo National ParkThis day will be spent diving the stunning sea mounts and small islands in the north of Komodo. Great pelagic fish activity, sharks, Mantas and schools of dazzling reef fish.
Day Six Saturday, March 12, 2005 Labuan Bajo. A relaxed breakfast and a brief shopping tour in Labuan Bajo before meeting the return flight to Denpasar. Flight CO4 Departs 13:00 a.m. arrives in Denpasar at 14:30 p.m.
The vessel is a traditional Indonesian motor vessel a Phinisi - completely equipped and fitted out to tourist class specifications. The ship is 100 feet long with 6 fully-air conditioned cabins, each with ensuite facilities. The ship offers a lounge and library, entertainment center, satellite phone, e-mail service and a choice of indoor or on-deck dining venues.
Limited space remains available on this special departure at this very special price of US$890 per person nearly 50% off the ship's normal tariff.
Call Ms. Nik at balidiscovery.com at ++62-(0)361-286283 or e-mail via the link below.
An Exhibition of Blown Glass by Richard Morrell at Jenggala Keramik Bali March 4 May 5, 2005.
Internationally acclaimed glass-maker Richard Morrell joined Jenggala Keramik Bali in 2001 where he is training staff in his art form while creating innovative new designs in glass.
Into the Deep
His current one-man exhibition "Into the Deep" draws its inspiration from the sport of scuba diving, an activity Richard has pursued regularly since moving to Bali.
According to Richard, "the opportunity to go diving offered the possibility of physically going below the surface, and having a real life experience of something which I had sought in the abstract, and in my work, for so long. The collection of glass vessels presented here pursues my familiar theme of getting below the surface, but is now influenced by the mental images I gather while under the ocean."
Indeed, many of the shapes, colors and images in the current exhibition resemble colorful soft corals and sponges familiar to every tropical diving enthusiast.
The Artist says his work operates on both a physical and metamorphic level, suggesting the ever changing ebbs, colors and flows of life - hinting at a meaning of a life which may have faded into a more distant primal memory.
Born in the United Kingdom, Richard Morrell has studied at the Stourbridge School of Art before emigrating to Australia to establish a hot glass course at Monash University. After a brief stint as an educator he established a number of glass-blowing workshops and studios creating works that have been exhibited in England, Wales, Denmark, Germany, U.S.A., Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia.
Into the Deep
Richard Morrell's current exhibition at Jenggala Keramik Bali runs from March 4 through May 5, 2005.
For more information call Jenggala Keramik Bali at ++62-(0)361-703311 or contact them via the e-mail link provided:
Sixth Annual Ultimate Frisbee Nusantara Cup 2005 to be Held in Bali March 25-26, 2005.
For the sixth consecutive Easter weekend, DiscIndo - Jakarta's Ultimate Frisbee Team will host the International Ultimate Frisbee Nusantara Cup 2005 in Bali.
This year's tournament is set for March 25 and 26, 2005, at Lapangan Banteng Sports Field in Seminyak.
Year after year, the tournament held in Bali continues to attract a steadily growing base of both players and fans. Last year, there were eight international teams and 131 registered players from Singapore, Taiwan, Jakarta, Singapore and Thailand. This year's event is expected to attract up to a dozen teams comprised of nearly 200 players with additional teams already confirmed from Western Australia, Saipan and China.
"It's a strong vote of confidence that Bali is a safe and very attractive and active destination," said DiscIndo's Edwin Pieroelie.
What is Ultimate Frisbee?
Combining elements of football, soccer and hockey - Ultimate Frisbee originated in the 1960s in the USA as a simple, fun game that everyone could enjoy using Frisbees or plastic flying discs. Camaraderie and celebration after the event are as equally important as the competition. Now competitively played in more than 42 countries around the world, an estimated 100,000 players compete in international play each year.
This year's Bali Bali tournament event is organized by The Works.
For more information contact The Works at telephone ++62-(0)361-435754.
Culture and Tourism Ministry Gets a Portfolio
Jero Wacik's Ministry of Culture and Tourism Raised to Cabinet Department Status.
The authoritative Internet Newsletter Indonesian Digest in its February 22, 2005 edition, published by Wuryastuti Sunario, reports:
"A Presidential Decree issued at the end of January, has raised Indonesia's national institution for Culture and Tourism (from its former level of Ministry without portfolio) to a fully operational Cabinet Department, confirmed Jero Wacik, Minister for Culture and Tourism.
The Department now counts 11 top positions at echelon 1. These are in line positions as follows: for Culture: the Directorate General for Cultural Values, the Arts and Films, and the Directorate General for History and Archaeology. For Tourism, they are the Directorate General for Tourist Destinations Development, and the Directorate General for Marketing. Other positions in top management are the Secretary General and Inspector General and 4 Senior Advisors to the Minister.
Names for the above positions, are, however, not yet disclosed. It is as yet not clear when exactly the staffing of the new Department of Culture and Tourism are to be announced."
To subscribe at no charge to Indonesia Digest follow the e-mail link provided.
Annual Bali Party in Western Australia Set for Sunday, March 6, 2005.
The Bali Dynasty Resort is holding its 12th annual "Back to Bali Dynasty Party" on Sunday, March 6, 2005, at the Higgins Hyde Park Hotel in Perth, Western Australia. The Bali Dynasty and Higgins Hyde Park Hotel have jointly hosted this event for the past 12 years creating one of the biggest annual fundraisers in the South Kuta hotel's efforts to raise money for the Island's underprivileged children.
A sumptuous Indonesian Buffet served up by the Resort's Balinese chefs specially flow in for the occasion will be on offer together with an amazing array of hotel stays and flights packages to be won in a grand raffle.
Prizes and the substantial charity funds those prizes generate are made possible through the generous support of major Australian travel wholesalers and airlines, including Creative Holidays, New Horizons Holidays, Asia Escape, Freestyle, Qantas, Garuda Indonesia Airlines, Australian Airlines and Air Paradise.
The Australians are Back!
In spite of negative travel advisories advising against travel to Bali, Australian tourist arrivals to Bali hit an all time record high. Moreover, Bali has once again assumed the top spot as Australia's most preferred overseas holiday destination.
Funds for the Kids
Over the last 5 years, AU$67,000 (approximately US$52,700) has been raised by the Bali Dynasty Charity Effort to help disadvantaged children who did not benefit from the tourism dollars. The Bali Dynasty in conjunction with the East Bali Poverty Project has undertaken educational projects to give poor Balinese Children care and high quality education in order to make them self sufficient.
Latest Addition in the Fast-Growing Accor Hotel Group for Indonesia.
The Accor Brand of Ibis will make its Bali debut in May 2005 with the opening of the Ibis Legian.
The latest addition to the the Indonesian Ibis chain will have 89 superior and 29 deluxe room and join nine existing properties already in operation in Indonesia including Jakarta (5), Bekasi, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, and Pekanbaru (Sumatra).
Priced and designed to appeal to the brand's mainly domestic market, the new property will feature an attractively priced restaurant "Le Table" offering a wide range of Indonesian food specialties, a business center, and meeting room.
Hotel's operated under The Accor's various brands now represent the single largest hotel group operating in Indonesia.
Lounge Late at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa
Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa Opens Special Lounge to Assist Guests on Late Departing Flights.
In a move aimed at assisting guests departing on one of Bali's many late afternoon or late evening flights, Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa have recently opened the Santi Lounge.
Operating daily from 09:00 23:00 hours, the spacious, non-smoking air conditioned facility boasts all the comforts and more found in any business class lounge at one of the world's leading airports.
Some of the many services and facilities on tap at the Santi Lounge include:
Two high speed internet computers
3 TVs with remote headsets
A children's play corner with 2 play stations, a TV, games, toys and recreational equipment designed specially for children
A reflexology corner
Food & non-alcoholic beverage bar
Magazines, books and newspapers
A souvenir selection for last minute shopping
Fully equipped shower rooms.
With the opening of the Santi Lounge, guests staying the 5 star Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa can now sit back and relax between mid-day check out from the hotel and the evening departure time of their flight back home.
Extensive Background in International Tour Operations Will Assist Bali Hai in Penetrating World-wide Markets.
Following a career that has included senior management assignments in tour operations in Australia, the U.S.A., South Africa, Malawi and Zanzibar Christine Henry has joined Bali Hai Cruises as their Advisor to International Marketing.
Born in Perth, Australia and educated at Penrhos Methodist Ladies College, Christine commenced her tourism career in 1980 when she joined American Express Travel Services. A move to Sydney in 1988 and a succession of jobs in retail travel preceded assignments abroad, dating from a move to Johannesburg, South Africa in 1993. She then worked in that country for almost 9 years, including several months in Malawi in central Africa, developing expertise in the management of safari companies.
Prior to her current appointment with Bali Hai Cruises, Christine was the General Manager of Zan Tours - an inbound tour operator in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
President Convenes Historic Tourism Coordination Meeting at Bali's Tampak Siring Palace.
In a historically unprecedented Cabinet level coordinating meeting on Tourism and Culture, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gathered together 17 members of his Cabinet, 7 provincial governors and a number of academics and association leaders concerned with tourism and culture issues at the Bali Presidential Palace of Tampak Siring on Saturday, February 26, 2005.
The meeting, originally scheduled to run from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m., did not finish until 7:30 p.m.. Although the matters discussed and decided at the top-level meeting were not detailed to the press, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik did indicate that the meeting ran overtime as the result of prolonged serious discussions of cultural issues.
It's expected that, based on ideas and recommendations put forth during the Tampak Siring meeting, a number of action steps to promote tourism's development will eventually be announced in Jakarta on both a Presidential and Ministerial level.
In comments made to the press in Tampak Siring, Minister Wacik repeated him calls for larger promotional budgets to help Indonesia achieve its ambitious tourism goals. His Ministry currently operates with a small promotional budget of Rp. 90 billion (approximately US$9.8 million), a figure he asking the government to at least double in order to successfully launch a new product branding program for national tourism.
Bali Bombing Verdict Set for March 3
Jakarta Courts will Rule in Trial of Abu Bakar Bashir Charged with Inspiring the Bali Bombings.
The 66 year-old Indonesian cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir is scheduled to hear the verdict of a panel of judges on Tuesday, March 3, 2005, at his Jakarta trial in connection with charges that he inspired and acted as an accessory in the Bali bombing of October of 2002 and other terrorist attacks in Indonesia.
Widely reported in the international media as a leader of the Jemaah Islamiah group - officially linked to al Qaeda,, Bashir has vehemently denied leading that organization or having any involvement in the 2002 Bali bombing or Marriott Hotel Bombing attack in Jakarta in 2003.
Finishing last year an 18-month sentence for immigration violations, Bashir was immediately re-arrested by the Indonesian police and charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism precipitating the current trial. Although technically liable for a death sentence if convicted under the current charges pending against him before the court, prosecutors have asked that an 8 year sentence by imposed on the aging cleric.
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