BALI UPDATE #458 - 20 June 2005
A Celebration of All that is Bali
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Urges the Rest of Indonesia to Follow Bali's Example in Cultural Preservation.
Wearing a traditional Balinese costume to mark the occasion, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono struck a traditional Balinese tawa-tawa gong five times on Saturday afternoon, June 18, 2005, to officially open the 27th Annual Bali Arts Festival.
The ringing of the tawa-tawa earned a musical response from an orchestra of 14 Balinese students playing sungu horns, made from large conch shells, which signaled the start of a massive parade of marching bands, dance troupes and colorful floats past the reviewing stand and through the streets of Bali's capital city of Denpasar.
Bali Arts Festival June 18 July 25, 2005
The Bali Arts Festival offers visitors and local alike a month-long opportunity to see the very best in Balinese traditional performing arts at various venues across the island. As in the past, foreign performers are will appear at this year's Festival with groups from the U.S.A. and Thailand among those scheduled to participate.
A complete program schedule is provided on the Bali Arts Festival Web site.
Praise for I.B. Mantra
The President saluted the Balinese people for the depth of feeling they possess for their local culture, urging other areas of the Country to follow the Island's example.
The President also lavished praise on the founder of the Bali Arts Festival, the late Ida Bagus Mantra, who founded the event in 1979. Referring to the Founder of the Festival, who served as the Governor or Bali and as a National Director-General of Culture, President Susilo said, "we can never forget the great service he gave to Bali's traditional art's culture."
The President went on to urge the people of Bali to continue to preserve and develop their culture based on their religious and ritual practice, calling Bali's traditional life and culture its greatest asset.
May Arrival Numbers - Steady as She Goes
Bali by the Numbers: May Arrival Figures Show Australian Arrivals Continue to Grow.
Figures just released for direct foreign tourist arrivals to Bali for the month of May 2005 show that 116,595 overseas visitors passed through Bali's Ngurah Rai airport during the month, a figure down just one-half of a percent from the total recorded in May 2004 (117,191). Cumulative totals through the first five months of 2005, however, stood at 552,581 a full 7% above the same period just one year before.
A Summary Glance at Arrivals January May 2005
A closer look at arrival statistics for Bali through the end of May 2005 reveal:
Total arrivals January through May (552,585) set a new benchmark, surpassing the previous record set for the same period in 2001 (552,089).
Due primarily to downturns in the South Korean and Taiwanese markets, Asia-Pacific arrivals dropped 10% for the month of May 2005, totaling 67,677, as compared to 75,168 for May 2004. Cumulative Asia-Pacific arrivals for the first five months of 2005 managed to hold largely steady (325,826), a mere 0.75% ahead of the same period in 2004.
Of some concern, Taiwanese visitors are down 36.6% year to date at the end of May (45,379 versus 71,597), a trend that deepened in May with 42.3% fewer Taiwanese coming to Bali as compared to the same month a year before. Local observers point to lingering tsunami fears and liberalization in travel rules for Taiwanese tourist wishing to visit the PRC as the underlying cause of this significant downturn.
While South Korean visitors are up 24.3% year to date for January-May 2005, a sudden drop of 18.27% in May arrivals (7,589) warrants closer examination by tourism officials.
Threatened travel boycotts by the Australian market in the wake of the 20-year sentence for convicted drug smuggler Shapelle Corby apparently had no appreciable impact on May's travel numbers. May 2005 Australian arrivals were up 8.5% from Australia's record arrivals recorded in May 2004. 22,652 Australians visited Bali in May 2005 bring the year-to-date total to 101,535. - an overall increase of 8.1% as compared to the same period one year before.
Japan continued to be Bali's strongest inbound market with 23,089 Japanese coming in May 2005, a figure 6.8% better than 2004 totals for May ex-Japan. Total Japanese visitors January to May are up 18.52% (121,465)from one year ago.
ASEAN arrivals to Bali continue to boom. ASEAN visitors for May 2005 (14,036) were 40% more than the same month in 2004. Totals for the first five months of 2005 from ASEAN were up 16% from one year before.
The Americas comprised of all visitors from North and South America continue to regain lost ground. May figures (6,564) improved 6.3% from a year before with an even more dramatic 120% improvement for the cumulative totals for the first five months of the year. Still, figures from the America's for the first 5 months of 2005 lag more than 26% behind arrival figures recorded in 2001.
Similarly, European arrivals, although still 20% behind totals achieved in 2001, were up 8.8% for May 2005 (27,396), forming part of an overall 18.24% improvement year to date for the first five months of 2005 (136,422) over totals for 2004 (115,374).
German arrivals for May 2005 equaled 6.807, up 4% from the same month one year ago. Although still lagging 13.2% behind totals for 2001, total German visitors for the first five months of the year are up 13.34% from jst one year ago.
U.K. visitors are also making great strides on a year-to-year basis, up 37% for the month May 2005 with 5,997 U.K. tourists reported passing through Bali's airport. Year to date, U.K. visitors are up 36.5% through the end of May 2005, but still a substantial 35.13% behind performance totals for the first five months of 2001.
Dutch visitors, managing to largely ignore the lack of a visa-on-arrival facility, have almost regained their footing in Bali arrivals. Total arrivals January-May 2005 (15,020) from the Netherlands are only 8% less than the totals achieved in the same period in 2001 and represent an 18.3 percent improvement over the same period in 2004.
French visitors improved 16.4% in the first five months of 2005 (16,167), as compared to the same period in 2004. When compared to "better times" (i.e.m the same five-month period in 2001), the French market still lags behind 9%.
Spitting Your Dummy: The Boycott that Wasn't
Australian Press Reports Indicate Little Support for Bali Travel Boycott with Bali-bound Airplanes Heavily Booked with Holiday-Makers.
Editors Note: Spitting your dummy Australian and U.K. slang meaning to lose one's temper in a juvenile fashion. To throw a temper tantrum. Similar to a child discarding a pacifier (a dummy) in a fit of anger.
The Australian - one of Australia's leading daily newspapers, reported in its Friday, June 17, 2005, edition that calls to join a travel boycott of Bali "have fallen on deaf ears with record Australian tourist numbers prompting Garuda Indonesia to add an additional flight from Sydney."
In the article written by aviation writer, Steve Creedy, quoted Garuda Indonesia as saying that "consistently strong bookings showed Bali was on track for another record year and it would therefore add a fifth weekly flight, using a wide body Airbus A330."
Qantas also reported strong results for May with a strong increase in recent weeks for bookings to Bali in the June-July period.
Despite vehement threats from some 120 Australian travel agents to stop booking Bali in the wake of a Shapelle Corby conviction for drug smuggling, apparently those agents continuing to accept Bali bookings are experiencing an unexpected windfall as business from the boycotting agencies move to their travel shops.
Nothing New in Bali?
Former Tourism Minister Joop Ave Suggests Bali Should Gather Forces and Support Completion of GWK Project.
On a recent informal visit to Bali, Indonesia's former Minister of Tourism and Telecommunications, Joop Ave, met with local tourism leaders and suggested that now is the time for the island's tourism players to join forces and support the completion of the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural park on the Ungasan peninsula.
The colossal project occupying 250 hectares will, when completed, include a monument plaza, an international trade and promotion center, landscaped gardens, a festival and water park, a 5,000 person capacity convention center, a resort complex, and a residential complex. The centrepiece of the park, however, will be a massive statute of the Lord Wisnu riding a mythical Garuda that will dominate Bali's southern skyline standing 146 meters above the ground and some 286 meters above sea level - the equivalent of a 16-story building.
The project, already well-underway, occupies an abandoned limestone quarry south of Bali's airport. Progress in constructing the monument has been intermittent as total funding for the project remains a stumbling block.
Nothing New in Bali
Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Mr. Ave urged completion of the project as a means of preserving Bali's attractiveness by creating a structure that will be admired by visitors for hundreds of years to come.
Acknowledging the controversy that has surrounded the project, Mr. Ave reminded that no great accomplishment is without its detractors. Pointing to Jakarta's National Monument (MONAS) and Taman Mini Park as examples, Mr. Ave said: "(Imagine) how Bung Karno (Indonesia's First President) was opposed and showered with criticism when the National Monument was being built. The same was experienced by Ibu Tien (the wife of President Suharto) when the plans for the Taman Mini Cultural Park in Jakarta were put forward. But today, both of these monumental projects have become a source of national pride."
Because of this, he hoped the political will and money to complete the project would eventually be found. According to the dynamic and much-respected former tourism leader, Bali's culture and its cultural attractions must be preserved and developed to preserve the island's drawing power as a worldwide tourism destination.
Bali Tourism Board to Hold First Convention
BTB To Gather Industry and 9 Stakeholder Organizations at Bali Conference Set for Friday, July 29, 2005.
Founded in 2002, the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) will hold its first organization-wide conference scheduled for Friday, July 29, 2005 in Kuta.
BTB's Chairman, Putu Agus Antara, has called the meeting to seek consensus among Bali's tourism players in confronting the many problems affecting tourism in Bali and create better coordination between the Government and the tourism industry in overcoming those issues. Antara has set three goals for the historic first meeting of the organization heads :
1. The consolidation of the efforts of the 9 stakeholder organizations that form BTB.
2. Increasing the quality of Bali's tourism product and developing professional promotional activities for Bali.
3. Marketing and promoting Bali as a world-class tourism destination.
Antara announced that the theme adopted for the coming conference is "Realizing a Partnership Strategy Between Government, Private Sector and Society; Reaching Sustainable Tourism."
BTB is an independent private organization comprised of nine stake-holding tourism organizations in Bali:
PHRI (Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association)
ASITA (Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies)
PAWIBA (Association for Tourist Transport in Bali)
HPI (Indonesian Guide Association)
SIPCO (Society of Indonesian Professional Convention Organizers)
PUTRI (Indonesia Tourist Object Association)
GAHAWISRI (Marine Tourism Association)
Bali Village (Tourism Marketing and Promotion Association)
PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Bali and Nusa Tenggara chapter
The First BTB Conference will be held at the Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel in South Kuta.
Bali for the Best Service
Travel + Leisure Magazine Names 3 Bali Hotels as Among the Best in the World for Service.
The June 2005 Issues of Travel + Leisure
magazine drawing on information gathered during last year's "World's Best" awards names three Bali Resorts as being among those hotels providing the best service to their guests.
In the Best Service category, Amandari, Bali
ranked second-best among all the world's fine hotels and first among Asia properties. Meanwhile, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
tied down the fourth position for best service worldwide, ranking third among Asian hotels.
The other Four Seasons
property in Bali, Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay,
managed to rank seventh for service in the sub-category of Asian Hotels offering the best service.
[Details: Amandari Resort-Hotel, Ubud
[Details: Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
[Details: Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
Garuda Appoints New Manager for Oz
Suranto Yitnopawiro Promoted to Overseas Garuda's Business in Australia.
Garuda Indonesia - the Indonesian national carrier, has appointed a new General Manager to oversee its rapid expansion of services in Australia.
Mr. Suranto Yitnopawiro assumes the post of General Manager Australia/USA at a time when Australian traffic to Bali is growing to record levels. Formerly Garuda's State Manager for Victoria, Mr Suranto's new role, encompassing all of Australia, will make him responsible for enhancing the co-ordination and focus of the Airline's expanding sales and marketing initiatives in that market.
Focussing and co-ordinating the huge energy and potential of Garuda Indonesia within the Australian market will reinforce the airline's strong relationships with both the travel industry and with its loyal and expanding visitor base, says Mr Suranto, who was in Melbourne for more than two years and General Manager of Garuda's Denpasar and Yogyakarta operations before that.
Mr Suranto succeeds Mr Iriansyah Antemas, who has taken up new responsibilities the Airline's Head Office in Jakarta.
According to Garuda's Australian sales team, holiday travel to Bali more than doubled in the latest calendar year, as the "Island of the Gods" approached all-time record levels with more than a quarter of a million Australians attracted by inducements such as world class hotels and resorts, some of Asia's best spa and golf facilities and an exchange rate that is the best for 20 years. The impetus has continued throughout 2005 with more than 20,000 Australians visiting Bali during April and almost 80,000 holidaying on the beautiful island during the first four months of 2005.
According to the airline, bookings are continuing strongly for the months ahead.
Asia's Filmmakers Meet in Bali
Asian Film Commission Shown that Bali is 'Picture Perfect' for Major Film Projects.
Bali was recently selected as the venue for the second meeting of the Asian Film Commission Network (AFCNet)
Founded in 2004 by Film Commissioners from Japan, Malaysia, Korea, China, Russia, Vietnam and Indonesia (Bali Film Commission), AFCNet is a regionally based, full-service, trade organization of industry professionals dedicated to promoting the region through film.
The AFCNet Conference held in Bali June 16-18, 2005, had as its agenda the discussion of common issues the region's filmmakers confront in bringing world-class film projects to Asia. AFCNet provides members with ongoing and up-to-date broadcast news and industry research on policy issues, technology and management trends, giving the region competitive tools to offer a growing range of locations and services to the world's film industry.
The Bali AFCNet meeting was hosted by the Bali Film Commission with coordination support by Bali Discovery Tours. During the AFCNet's visit to Bali accommodation was generously provided by the Bali Dynasty Resort in South Kuta.
The Board Members and selected invited guests were also treated to memorable gala dinner party at the Four Season Private Estates Villas on Jimbaran Bay. Sponsored by the Four Seasons, the night featured a lavish dinner served in a private garden while a local Keroncong Orchestra provided music and a specially-constructed screen showed rare film clips from footage of Bali shot in the 1930s. The film professionals, suitably relaxed and already impressed with the natural beauty of Bali and the almost endless possibilities it affords film makers, were pleasantly surprised by a surprise display of fireworks that accented the moonlight dinner.
The Bali Film Commission
In informal after-dinner remarks to the group by J.M. Daniels, President Director of Bali Discovery Tours, he welcomed the film professionals to Bali and underlined Bali's keen desire to see some of the major film projects now under consideration for the island eventually materialize.
In individually acknowledging the sponsors for their support of the AFCNet visit, Daniels took the opportunity to give special praise to Deborah Gabinetti of the Bali Film Commission for initially inviting AFCNet to Bali and for her pioneering work to encourage film production activities on the 'island of the Gods." Saying he was certain that her hard work would soon bear fruit, Daniels called Gabinetti "a visionary whose deep love for Bali is expressed in her untiring efforts to seek opportunities to share Bali's beauty and rich culture with the world through film."
AFCNet Board Members attending the Bali meetings included: Park Kwang-Su (Busan Film Commission), Tanaka Mako (Kobe Film Office), Kamil Othman (Malaysia Multimedia Development Corporation), Alexander Doluda (Vladivostok Film Commission), Han Zhi Jun (Changchun Film Studio), Deborah Gabinetti (Bali Film Commission) and Maezaw Tetsuji (Japan Film Commission Promotion Council).
Swiss Food and Music Comes to Bali
Celebrated "Engadiner Ländlerfründä" Swiss Musical Group to Perform during 3-day Swiss Culinary Festival at the Bali Hyatt, June 26-28, 2005.
Formed in 1968, one of Switzerland's most famous Ländlermusic ensembles, "Engadiner Ländlerfründä," will make a limited 3-day appearance in Bali, performing nightly at the Bali Hyatt on Sanur Beach.
With numerous recordings to their credit, covering a range of music from traditional Swiss folk songs to swinging rag-time tunes, the 5-man orchestra has a wide following in their native Switzerland and among foreign audiences earned through their frequent foreign tours as ambassadors of Swiss culture.
Shown on balidiscovery.com are the members of the group, left to right: Sepp Simonelli, contrabass; Carlo Simonelli, accordion; Gian Carlo Simonelli, clarinet, saxophone, and bass; Domenic Janett, clarinet, saxophone; and Arno Caflisch, clarinet.
3 Nights Only at The Bali Hyatt
Bali Hyatt in cooperation with the Swiss Consulate in Bali is presenting a nightly buffet of Swiss specialties on June 26-28, 2005, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m..
The cost of the buffet and nightly performance by the "Engadiner Ländlerfründä" is only Rp. 135,000 (approximately US$13.80), including 21% tax and service.
Reservations are recommended by calling ++62-(0)361-281234 extension 8152.
Semone & Daniels to Address Cebu Conference
Cebu, Philippines Holds Regional Tourism Congress to Help Map its Future
Peter Semone, Vice President for Development of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), and John M. Daniels, President Director of Bali Discovery Tours will be travelling to Cebu, Philippines to address the Cebu 2005 Regional Tourism Congress on Friday, June 24, 2005.
The Congress - to be opened by the Governor of Cebu Province, the Hon. Gwen Carcia, and the Mayor of the City of Cebu, Hon. Tomas Osmena, will convene local tourism stakeholders to discuss strategies and issues related to Cebu's Master Plan for tourism and its goal to generate 5 million foreign visitors by 2010.
Peter A. Semone
PATA's Vice President for Development will present a case study on Phukets tourism recovery and general resort development in Southeast Asia. Semone heads a world-wide team of regional PATA directors from his office in at PATAs headquarters in Bangkok.
John M. Daniels
Bali Discovery Tour's President Director will provide an overview of Balis tourism industry and its current approach to tourism development. Daniels, the former Chairman of the PATA Bali and Nusa Tenggara Chapter, is the recipient of the Karyakarana Pariwisata award from the Government of Bali and the Adikarya Wisata award from the Republic of Indonesia for his services to tourism.
In addition to formal presentations to the Congress, both Semone and Daniels are scheduled to participate in inter-active dialogues with stakeholders of Cebus tourism industry sharing experiences, insights and ideas on developing local tourism enterprises.
13 Nations to Be Added to Visa-on-Arrival Facility
List of Countries Able to Purchase a Visa at an Indonesian Gateway to Soon Grow to 34.
Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik has announced that 13 new countries will soon be added to the current list of 21 counties eligible to purchase a visa-on-arrival (VOA) at one of Indonesia's 13 international gateway cities. The Minister made his announcement on Tuesday, June 14, 2005, following a coordination meeting of the government between the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security; the National Chief of Police; immigration; the Department of Foreign Affairs; the Armed Forces; and Ministry of Culture and Tourism officials.
Although the effective date for the additional countries able to access the VOA facility has not been announced, the 13 new countries to be added to the list are; China, India, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Egypt, Austria, Ireland, Qatar, and Luxembourg.
Editor's Cautionary Note: We have been unable to locate an official statement on which countries are to be added to the VOA list and the effective date when VOA's will be available. Moreover, press reports vary on whether 13 or 11 countries are being added to the list. When in doubt on your Country's eligability, check with your tour agent or nearest Indonesian Embassy.
The citizens of 21 countries and territories already eligible to purchase visas on arrival are: the United States, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Hungary, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Norway, France, Poland, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Taiwan.
When officially implemented, the total number of countries eligible to purchase a visa at an Indonesian gateway will become 34.
Minister Wacik has also told the press that Sweden and the Netherlands are still under active review as possible later additions to the VOA eligability list.
11 countries and territories remain eligible for a "Visa Free" facility, they are: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Chile, Morocco, Peru and Vietnam.
Changes in Length of Stay Validity
Apparently, efforts to extend the 30-day validity of the VOA to 60 days met with resistance from officials who were concerned that a longer visa period would encourage illegal employment in the Country. As partial compensation, however, the US$10 three-day visa will soon be valid for six-days in order to encourage more short-haul holiday traffic to Indonesia.
The US$25 payable for a thirty-day non-extendable visa remains nchanged.
The Road Ahead
Pleased after his long-fought battle for changes in the visa policy and what he sees as at least a partial victor for the tourism sector in the just announced changes, Minister Wacik restated to the press the three main tasks ahead in order to tourism to meet the targeted 6 million foreign visitors for 2005. In addition to easing the visa process, the Ministers sees additional air seat capacity and increased promotional budgets as fundamental to the national tourism industry's success. Accordingly, Minister Wacik is seeking current promotional budgets of US$3 million to be increased to US$18 million.
Kuta Karnival : June 25 July 3, 2005
Bigger Than Ever and Back for the 3rd Year Kuta Karnival Celebrates Life, Food, Music and Sports.
The Kuta Karnival is back!
Returning for the third year and adopting as its theme "a Summer of Fun" the festival will engage businesses and entertainment venues across Bali's popular Kuta beach area from June 25 through July 3, 2005.
Nightly live-band performances on specially-built beach-side stages along Kuta and Legian beach, a grand beach parade on July 3, and a two-day beach-side carnival fair on July 2 and 3 represent just some of the many family-oriented and fun-filled activities on tap for those who visit.
For sports fans, numerous competitions and contests are being organized including beach volley ball and soccer games, surfing and body board challenges, and a body building competitions. There are also skateboarding contests scheduled at Kuta Beach Skate Park, tug-of-peace competitions, iron man races, and Kite flying events.
Mark you calendar and visit the Kuta Karnival Web site for more information and a detailed schedule of events.