"I am writing to express my thanks for the professionalism and abilities of the support crew you assembled to work with us while researching and filming the effects of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Banda Aceh, Sumatra. I owe you a debt of gratitude to you and your staff for making this scientific mission a success."
Jose C. Borrero Ph.D Assistant Research Professor, University of Southern California
Bali Tourism Board Plunges into the Front Lines of Local Elections After Signing MOU with Badung Regency Political Candidates.
In a groundbreaking, surprise move - the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with two candidates running for the top two positions in the Badung Regency Government in elections scheduled for June. On Wednesday, May 4, 2005, BTB's Chairman, Putu Agus Antara, signed a MOU with Made Sumer and IB Ngurah Oka, two candidates seeking the Bupati and Vice-Bupati Posts in coming elections.
According to a press release issued by the BTB, "the material of memorandum is a concept of synergy relationship between government and private sector." The agreement contains specific performance points to be honored by both Bali's tourism industry players and the political hopefuls to be implemented in the improved management of Bali's tourism industry, should the candidates be elected.
The MOU reportedly grew out of a meeting held between representatives of BTB's stakeholder organizations held with Sumer-Oka on April 11, 2005, resulting in a list of recommendations and "shared visions" between the candidates and tourism players.
BTB Chairman, Putu Agus Antara said, "What we signed is a new momentum to map the problems and to understand the direction of Bali economic development through tourism. The written commitment will become a foundation and new spirit for the next Bali tourism management, professionally and proportionally."
According to the BTB press release, Putu Antara views Made Sumer and Ngurah Oka as candidates who are "proficient to lead Badung regency." The press announcement continued, "Made summer had good track record in bureaucracy when he was a Vice Bupati of Badung. Sumer and Oka understood core problems in Badung, particularly in (the) tourism sector and they knew how to solve them."
Antara views the Badung regency as the key area for national tourism, serving as the headquarters for most of Bali's major hotels and tourism companies. Because of this, he has used the leverage of his Chairmanship of BTB to extend an endorsement to the men he thinks best suited to lead Badung regency in the coming years.
The Real Risks of Real Politik
Some local observers, however, are concerned at BTB's sudden plunge into practical politics, wondering how political endorsements will be viewed by the very diversified stakeholders who comprise BTB's membership and the consequences for the organization if the just endorsed candidates fail to win in the June elections.
Do tourism and politics made strange bedfellows? Stay tuned to find out.
The Importance of Domestic Tourism
Indonesian Tourism Main Revenue Source Continues to be Domestic Tourists.
Domestic travelers continue to be the mainstay of the national tourism industry, according to figures released by the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) and the Department of Culture and Tourism.
According to the Marketing Deputy of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Udin Saifuddin, quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, the 6 million foreign tourist targeted for Indonesia in 2005 will generate around US$5.5 billion in foreign exchange while the estimated 102 million domestic tourists will spend around US$10.2 billion in the local economy.
Over the coming 5 years the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is projecting spending by international tourist to increase at an annual average rate of 13.5% while domestic tourism spending is expected to increase at an annual average of 10% during the same period.
In order to further stimulate domestic tourism spending, the Government is supporting a number of local travel expositions aimed at encouraging Indonesian to take more holidays domestically. In addition, the Ministry for Research and Technology, is funding a series of technology exhibitions across the country in 2005 to help create regional tourism events through educational outreach programs to the Country's more remote locales.
Korean Visitors to Bali Now Outnumber Taiwanese.
Korean Visitors Displace Taiwan in Arrival Rankings. Where Have all the Taiwanese Tourists Gone?
The authoritative Indonesian Digest published in Jakarta by Ibu Wuryastuti Sunario of TBSC-Strategic Communication in its May 14,2005, edition reports:
"Antara reports that for the first time in five years the number of visitors from Korea has overtaken the Taiwanese, to take third position with 10,072 tourists to Bali during April 2005. This compares to 7,804 tourists from Taiwan in the same month. It is a sharp drop from the normal 16,000 18,000 Taiwanese tourists that usually visit Bali per month, said Himron, Official at the Immigration Office of the Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, giving no further explanations for the drop."
"Japanese still hold the number one position with 23,314 visitors, followed by Australia at second place with 20,955 tourists, (third Korea and fourth Taiwan), fifth are Germans with 7,005 arrivals, followed by Malaysia (6,528), Great Britain (6,348), France (4,096), and the Netherlands (3,683)."
"Total direct arrivals to Bali in April 2005 were 116,254, an increase of 4.7% compared to the same month last year, which registered 111,022 direct foreign visitors to the resort island."
Where are the Taiwanese?
Worthy of further investigation by Bali tourism officials are the reasons for the sudden drop in Taiwanese visitors to Bali. During the first four months of 2005 only 35,203 Taiwanese direct arrivals were recorded to Bali, down 35.58% from the 54,648 Taiwanese who came to Bali in the same four months of 2004.
balidiscovery.com thanks TBSC-Strategic Communication for allowing us to quote from their newsletter for this story. We recommend our readers subscribe to the complimentary weekly Indonesian Digest via the e-mail link provided.
Garuda Now Flies Twice Daily Between Perth and Bali.
In order to accommodate record numbers of Australians taking a holiday in Bali, Garuda Indonesia have announced a 40% increase in seat capacity flying between Bali and Perth, effective June 1, 2005.
An increase from 10 to 14 Boeing 737-400 flights each week means Perth holiday-makers can now choose between an "early" 8 a.m. or 2:20 p.m. departure time. Garuda Indonesia's Western Australian Sales Manager Rob Moro says the earlier flights will suit travellers who prefer to arrive in Bali just before lunch (11.40 local time), while the later departure suits travellers with families and connections to think of. Those on the afternoon departure from Perth will arrive in Bali just before dinner (5.55pm local time).
Return flights at 9:30 a.m. and 7:55p.m. Bali time are also keyed to facilitate the preferences of early and late starters, with the morning flight arriving in Perth at a family-friendly 1:10 p.m. local time and the evening flight at 11:30 p.m.. Garuda Indonesia's morning departures from Australia and evening returns allow guests maximum time at the destination, while the later departures and earlier returns cater for travellers such as family groups and country dwellers with greater onward travel commitments.
The big expansion in Garuda Services a new record in the number of flights for Western Australia follows overwhelming interest in Bali from Western Australians. Bali is WA's favourite holiday destination, capturing over one third of the holiday market significantly more than any other single destination.
A Night at the Opera Comes to Bali
An Evening of Classical Vocal Music At the Mercure Hotel & Resort Sanur, Bali, May 28, 2005.
Culture-starved classical music fans are in for a treat on Saturday, May 28, 2005, when a program of operatic arias, ranging from Mozart to Puccini, will be presented at Mercure Hotel & Resort, Sanur at 7:30 p.m..
Talented Local and National Performers
Performing at the evening of music and song will be :
Johnson Hutagalung Tenor. A native of Jakarta, Johnson studied under Anette Frambach and Lee Allison Sibley. In 1988, 1990 and 1992 he was named the national TV and Radio singing champion. He has distinguished himself in a number of starring opera roles including, Opera Roro Jonggrang (Trisutji Kamal); The Creation (Haydn); Requiem (Mozart); Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart); and The Messiah (Haydn) directed by Andre Quedros. An active teacher of voice and a regular performer, Johnson has a number of recordings to his credit.
Diani Rinarti Sitompul Soprano. A graduate of Yogyakarta Arts Institute (ISI) in 1994, Diani coaches voice in a number of schools, churches and private institutions. A former teacher at the Teachers Training Institute in Jakarta (IKIP), she has also coached Indonesia's famous Twilite Chorus and has served as a judge in leading vocal competitions. She is also the founder and conductor of the Diani Children's Choir. which recently held a very successful performance tour to Singapore. Also well known as a musical composer and arranger, Diani is much in demand for her skills as a solo and ensemble performer.
Margarisje Lucij Elisabeth Makikui Soprano. Also a graduate in voice from the Yogyakarta Arts Institute (ISI), Margarisje also holds a post-graduate degree in performance arts from the University of Gadjah Mada. The winner of championships in regional and national radio and television singing championships, she is both a private teacher of voice and employed as an instructor at various schools, churches and institutes. Since 1992, Margarisje has been an active performer, much in demand for her sole and group appearances.
Diani Children's Choir. Established in 2000, the choir is comprised of talented children who rehearse on a weekly basis with their founder-conductor Diani R. Sitompul. Frequent performers at concerts and churches, they have competed successfully in a number of choir competitions gaining special recognition for the sight-reading, improvisation and creative singing skills.
Christina Sidjabat Piano. The student of leading piano teachers in Palembang, Jakarta, Surabaya and Semarang Christina has actively taught piano since 1981. In demand as an accompanist for singers and orchestra, she has served as pianist for the appearance of the Indonesian Children Chorus in their tours of the U.S.A., Germany, and Poland (1994-2000) and the Diani Children's Choir tour to Singapore. Christina now resides in Bali.
Tickets and Reservations
Tickets for this rare and very special evening of music in Bali are only Rp. 150,000 each (approximately US$15.30) and include a pre-show cocktail.
Tickets can be ordered by calling the Mercure Hotel and Resort, Sanur at ++62-(0)361-288833 or by using the e-mail contact provided.
Four Seasons to Host a Special Evening Dinner Featuring Karriview & Frankland Wines, Saturday, May 26, 2005.
Bali's Four Seasons Resorts Bali at Jimbaran Bay will host a special wine-paired dinner on Thursday, May 26, 2005, featuring Western Australia's Karriview & Frankland wines under the stars at the Resort's Poolside area.
The Food and The Wines
The Resort's Executive Chef, Patrick Boucher and his talented kitchen brigade have created a special menu in collaboration with visiting food consultant Scott Webster, widely considered a leading expert of Australian cuisine. Scott opened the critically acclaimed and award-winning Australian restaurant Osia in London's West End theatre district. His culinary style combines superb primary products and indigenous ingredients with Australia's multi-cultural culinary diversity, creating dishes which, when tasted and sampled, reflect a truly Australian cuisine.
Also on hand for the special evening will be Hunter Smith, CEO and Chief Wine Maker from the Karriview and Frankland Wineries, located in the Denmark region of Western Australia.
A closely-planted vineyard, Karriview was the first in its region to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the 1989 vintage. Production remains limited, with the emphasis on premium wines of high quality.
Franklin Estate was established in 1988 by Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam, and is located on an Isolation Ridge vineyard, part of a 3000 acre property in the Frankland River.
A TRIO OF APPETIZERS
Tataki of Dorrigo peppered Australia Wagyu beef with wild mushrooms & aged Pecorino. Wine 2003 Karriview Chardonnay
Salt-cured Tasmanian salmon ceviche with roasted pineapple chili dressing. Wine - 2004 Islolation Riesling
Salad of sweet water yabbies & avocado with lemon myrtle bread wafer Butternut pumpkin shooter, coconut foam & toasted macadamias. Wine 2002 Isolation Chardonnay
Eucalyptus roasted Australian lamb, red yam mash, poached asparagus with raisin-bush tomato chutney. Wine 2003 Karriview Pinot Noir
Roaring forties blue with truffled honeycomb & oatmeal cookies. Wine 2003 Isolation Shiraz
Callebaut chocolate soup with cracked black pepper ice-cream. Wine- 2004 Margan Botrytis Semillon
Coffee & Wattle seed cookies
Price and Bookings
The price for the evening of fine wines and food at The Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay is only Rp. 700,000 net per person (approximately US$71.50).
Reservations are mandatory with seating limited. Call the Taman Wantilan at ++62-(0)361-701010 (extension 8222/8223).
Pre-dinner cocktails commence at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m..
The Full Monte
From Nusa Lembongan to Bali - Monte Monfore Sets Another Swimming Record!
World record ocean swimmer Monte Monfore has done it again! Early in the morning of May 3, 2005, the athlete, who swims, amongst other reasons, to raise awareness of ocean conservation, became the first person ever recorded to swim from Nusa Lembongan Island to Bali, setting a new world record in the process.
Monte began his challenge across the treacherous Badung Strait before sunrise, entering the water at 5:58am at Jimbakbatu in northeast Nusa Lembongan. Aiming for the nearest point on Bali at Kusamba, a distance of 17 kilometers, the swimmer was pulled south by strong currents where he reaching land at Pantai Lebih at 9:02am. Despite winds and choppy seas Monte covered the 17-kilometer distance in 3 hours, 4 minutes.
"I was hoping to break my time of 2 hours 46 minutes from Penida," said the marathon swimmer. In 2003, Monte swam from Nusa Penida (the island adjacent to Nusa Lembongan) breaking the previous world record by 2 minutes. "Given the conditions, however, I'm very satisfied and pleased with the result. I felt strong and very good during the swim. After my failed attempt last March I was very focused and determined this time." Monte's swim attempt from Nusa Lembongon last March had to be stopped after one hour because of increasing wind, chop, and waves. His four other channel crossings attempts have all resulted in world record times.
Swimming for the People of Aceh
When asked why he swims Monte gave two reasons. "I swim for the people of Aceh and to create awareness of ocean protection. One of my goals is to keep the tsunami victims in the news. Over one billion dollars has been pledged, but this story is no longer front-page news. Many people have forgotten about the Acehnese and I'm trying to relay the message that the difficult part has just begun. People's lives were devastated and they are just now beginning to rebuild and start over again. They have a long and difficult road ahead so I'm asking for everyone to please not forget them and to please continue supporting their cause."
"The other reason I swim is because I absolutely love the sea. It's a beautiful and incredible place especially here in Indonesia. You know, three fourths of the earth's surface is covered with water. Together with the rain forests, the ocean is the most vital ecosystem on the planet. I plan to continue swimming to encourage people to take care of the sea and keep it clean. It's our responsibility to protect and safeguard the ocean for future generations."
How He Does It
While swimming, once every 15 to 20 minutes, Monte takes a 10-15 second drink break, consuming an energy drink tied to a string and thrown to him from the support vessel. During every channel crossing he is careful to strictly adhere to the three basic rules of ocean swimming: no fins, no wetsuit, and no touching the boat.
Monte, whose interests include classical music, art history, and literature, loves Indonesia and has been to Bali over 20 times. He comes here to swim and surf and "when the waves are big I'm out on my board instead of training." Monte's ocean swimming career began in 1998 when he swam the Bali Straits between Java and Bali in 38 minutes, smashing the previous world record by nearly an hour. The native Californian, who works as a private, free-lance English instructor in Tokyo, Japan, recently broke his own world record when he swam from Bali to Java in 29 minutes while doing a triple crossing of the often dangerous channel as a "training session" earlier this year in February.
Swimming over a million meters a year (80-100 kilometers a month), Monte trains in pools and the ocean in Bali, Tokyo, and California. In Bali, where pool temperatures are often too high for intense training and the sea too choppy from daytime winds, Monte often swims in the ocean at night.
Appearing Soon on Your Local Channel
Asked about future swims Monte replied, On my agenda for the next year is to follow in the wake of the tsunami to raise awareness that the plight of the victims is still ongoing. I'm planning swims in Aceh, Thailand, and possibly the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and India. I will also return to swim another multiple crossing of the Bali Strait as a fundraiser to clean a filthy area of beautiful ocean I recently discovered north of Ketapang Harbor in East Java. Last week someone suggested swimming around Menjangan Island National Park, which offers some of Bali's best diving, but still has areas of filthy ocean, so this sounds like a good prospective clean-up project as well. I'm also looking forward to re-swimming the Badung Strait this fall or next spring. My goal is to break 2 hours, which may be possible if I hit it with perfect conditions someday."
Ending Bali's Turtle Smuggling Trade
Environmental Activists Map Out the Need for a Multi-faceted Approach to Ending the Exploitation of Turtles.
According to a report in the Indonesian-language Denpost, some 3,972 turtles were illegally smuggled into Bali's Serangan island in 2004 - representing nearly half of the estimated 8,000 turtles traded in Bali that year. These numbers, estimating the size of the illegal turtle trade in Bali, are compiled by a joint-monitoring team of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Environmental Impact Agency (Bapedalda).
Although the current rate of turtle smuggling shows considerable improvement from the estimated 9,628 to 30,121 turtles traded illegally in Bali between 1969-1999, the level of the current trade remains a matter of grave concern. The coordinator of the WWF-Bapedalda team, Dr. IB Raka Suardhana, told a meeting discussing ways to reduce turtle smuggling held in Sanur on Wednesday, May 11, 2005, that the still-high rates of the turtle trade demonstrate that those concerned with controlling such crime primarily the police were not working in an optimized way. Dr. Suardhana told the group that the future success of turtle conservation projects in Bali will depend entirely on the ability of non-governmental groups to form effective alliances with each other, the government and the local communities.
A Complex Problem
Describing the illegal turtle trade as a complex problem beyond the ability of any single non-governmental organization or one government department to solve, Dr. Suardhana said that in addition to stricter law enforcement there also needs to be a simultaneous effort to create employment for those economically displaced by ending the turtle trade. On the local community level, public support to end turtle smuggling is required, including support from local religious and traditional village leaders.
Turtle Conservation and Education Center
Dr. Suardhana told the meeting of an effort underway by the people of Serangan island to restore their image as the "Turtle Island" via the construction of a Turtle Conservation and Education Center (TCEC). The TCEC is intended to operate as an education and research center regarding turtles and the environment while at the same time adding a new tourist attraction to Bali. The Center is also intended to act as a stimulus for a number of small to medium size enterprises that will, in time, provide alternative employment opportunities for the people of Serangan island now deriving their incomes from the illegal turtle trade.
5 km Fun Run on Sanur Beach June 5, 2005
'Beach Fun Run' Open to General Public.
The National Sports Committee (KONI) of the Denpasar city government will host a 5 kilometer 'beach fun run' along Bali's historic Sanur beach on Sunday, June 5, 2005.
The event, open to both Bali residents and visitors alike, but limited to a maximum of 2,500 runners, will start at Sanur's Mertasari beach and end 5 kilometers up the beach in front of the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel.
Government officials see the event as an opportunity to showcase Bali's Sanur Beach, which has recently undergone a revitalization and demonstrate to both domestic and international visitors to Bali the safety and security the island provides.
Cultural Performances Up for Stricter Regulation
Bali's Arts Groups Must Now be Licensed. Dance Repertoire and Salary Rates to Be Regulated.
Bali's 113 traditional performing arts groups are apparently targeted for stricter regulation as the result of an informal agreement reached between the various sub-departments of the province's government charged with the cultural, tourism and artistic affairs.
The stricter approach, based on a new common perception of priorities, was agreed at a series of inter-departmental meeting held in early May.
Increased regulation of traditional arts performances presented at hotels and restaurants will include the stipulation of which dances that can be performed, banning paid performance of sacred dances now reserved exclusively for religious ceremonies, and the requirement that all traditional performance groups must now possess Pramana Patran Budaya permits issued by the Provincial Cultural Office.
Still under discussion, but expected to be introduced shortly, are minimum compensation levels that must be paid by hotels and restaurants for various traditional arts performances and stipulations on the minimum size of performance troupes, depending on the dances to be presented.
Bali's Earthenware Finds International Markets
Sales Up 60% for Bali's Clay Pots and Bowls in Q1 of 2005.
The National news agency Antara reports that Bali is becoming the focus point for the growing demand for earthenware produced in Bali, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara and Central Java. Bali exporters of earthenware report strong demand for their products from buyers in Italy, France, Japan, Australia and the United States.
The Antara report quotes a local exporter in Bali, Mulyadi, as saying that most of the earthenware handicrafts are exported via Bali seaport of Benoa.
The Bali Department of Trade and Industry estimates that Bali's earthenware export earnings increased 60% during the first quarter of 2005 totaling some US$1.5 million.
Strongest demand is reported for earthenware bowls and used in gardens ponds and for flowerpots.
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
Bali's Westin Resort Hosts a Heavenly Night Out
"To sleep, perchance to dream, ay there's the rub"
Hamlet (Act III) The Prince of Denmark.
Hamlet, otherwise indispose, was unable to attend. In his stead, Jan Bundgaard, a substitute Prince, also from Denmark and the General Manager of the Westin, was on hand to welcome over 150 travel-industry guests to the The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali for a fun-filled evening on Friday, May 6, 2005.
Dubbed A Heavenly Night Out, guests received invitations in the form of miniature pillows urging their participation at a heavenly night out of music and food at the Resort's expansive pool island.
Just back on the Island for his second assignment with the Resort, Jan Bundgaard kept alive an old Danish tradition of eloquent soliloquies about sleep by delivering his welcomeing remarks while standing atop a Heavenly Bed. (See picture at balidiscovery.com) He told the guests, "our aim is to create the best sleeping experience for our customers" and went on to explain the rationale for Westin's substsantial investment in what they boast to be the finest quality of exclusive mattresses and bedding found anywhere in Bali.
Guests were also given practical samplings of the Westin Spa with five therapists on hand to provide guests with neck and shoulder massages.
Promoting the Resort's many features and outlets, guests were also treated to food from each of The Westin's 5 signature restaurants: Hamabe, Portraits, Ikan, Capsicum, and Veranda. Meanwhile, The Royal Beach Club served handpicked selections of premium coffees and loose teas, the same typically offered to guests staying in the Resort's premier rooms.
If all the excitement, good food and drink proved too much for the guests, a number of King-sized Heavenly Beds were strategically positioned around the grounds to provide rest and repose. However, those who opted to remain awake on the big evening out were rewarded with music from the Saharadja Band performing fusion music, a Kecak dance presentation and music for dancing by DJ James.