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Bali Discovery Tour's - J.M. Daniels Presents Sailing Ships of Friendship From Bali to the People of Phuket and Cebu.
On Friday, June 24, 2005, Bali Discovery Tour's President Director, J.M. Daniels, presented four small phinisi sailing ship models to the people of Cebu, Philippines and Phuket, Thailand to symbolize the many bonds shared between the three popular Southeast Asia island destinations.
The Ships, small replicas of the large traditional sailing fleet that still ply the waters connecting Indonesia's 17,508 islands, each bear a unique registration number which will allow tracking of the ship's voyages via a special web site as they are set loose on rivers and seaways around the world.
As reported on balidiscovery.com, [Largest Sailing Ship Armada Sets Sail from Bali], a local cruise operator in Bali - Indonesian Cruises hatched the idea as a means of publicizing Indonesia's long history as a seafaring people and as a means to raise funds for the Komodo Foundation which provide economic assistance to the people living in or near the Komodo National Park.
Daniels brought the 4 sailing models with him to Cebu where he was a featured speaker at a Regional Tourism Conference [See: Semone & Daniels to Address Cebu Conference], presenting the vessels to representatives of Phuket and Cebu to underline the solidarity shared between Phuket, Cebu and Bali as "people of the Pacific."
In presenting the ships, Daniels asked that they soon be released into seas adjoining Cebu and Phuket and that the location and launch dates be recorded on the tracking web site so their progress can be continually monitored. Should the ships eventually wash ashore in some distant place, its finder can trace the voyage of the vessel on the web site and report its "landing" by e-mail to be recorded on the electronic "ship's log."
Daniels presented the ships to Patricia Aurora "Dawnie" B. Roa and Agnes Almendras Magpale representing Cebu, and Peter Semone of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) who promised to deliver the two ships on behalf of Bali to the people of Phuket.
Democracy in Action
Bali's Local Elections Go Off Without a Hitch in First Chance to Vote for Local Leaders.
The direct democratic election of local government chiefs took place in Bali on Friday, June 24, 2005, without incident.
Representing the first time that the Balinese – together with the rest of Indonesia – were allowed to vote for municipal their mayors and regents, the election day was declared an official holiday in order to facilitate the polling process.
At stake were the mayor and vice-mayor's position in Bali's capital city of Denpasar and the regents and vice-regent posts (bupati and wakil-bupati) for the regencies of Badung, Tabanan, Bangli and Karangasem.
While vote counting will continue for some time with final results expected within 7 days after the poll, preliminary tallies indicate a strong turn out following a spirited peroid of campaigning that included public rallies, poster and billboard proliferation, together with newspaper and television advertisements. In all, an estimated 1.3 million Bali residents cast there votes at 4,797 polling places.
Preliminary vote counts as reported by the Bali Post on Sunday, June 26, 2005:
• Denpasar Mayorial Race - With 212,114 votes counted A.A. Puspayoga-I.B. Dharmawijaya are heading towards a landslide securing 69.33% of the vote over the two sets of opponents, A.A. Widiana-A.A. Sumawidana (25.39%) and I Made Sudarma-I.B, Kiana (5.28%).
• Kabupaten Badung - Bali's most prosperous regency of Badung's race for Bupati has A.A.G. Agung-Ketut Sudikerta leading (54.15%) over their opponents the duo of Made Sumer-I.G.M. Oka (45.38%) who received an official endorsement from the Bali Tourism Board.
• Kabupaten Tabanan - Bali's rice bowl and agricultural district sees the pairing of Adi Wiryatama-Putra Wirasana (66.20%) set to trounce their opponents Putu Wijaya-I Ketut Suprapta (33.80%).
• Kabupaten Bangli - The cool and hilly regency of Bangli lived up to its geographical promise delivering a landslide in favor of the pairing I Nengah Arnawa-I Made Gianyar (70%) over Gunawan-Wirata (30%).
• Kabupaten Karangasem - Bali's northwest's four-way race's pecking order subject to a final vote count with the lead currently held by Wayan Geredeg-IG Lanang Rai (36.9%), followed by I.G Sumantara-I Nyoman Jelantik (29.97%), Suryanatasari-Widjera (20.47%) and Arya Mataram-Agung (12.66%).
The Head of Bali's Election commission said that, as a matter of course, the entire election process would be reviewed in the wake of the elections, including any reviews and protests from the various political parties. Of particular concern in that evaluation, according to the Election Official, was the high number of blank or spoiled ballots in some districts.
Meanwhile, a local religious leader in Bali urged the candidates not to "soil" the democratic results of the election with any personal ambitions, saying, "the ability to honor the people's voice reflects the maturity of a politician."
On Your Mark, Get Set, Wait!
Ministers Wacik's Announcement on Additional VOA Countries Proving Somewhat Premature.
Following balidiscovery.com's coverage [13 Nations to Be Added to Visa-on-Arrival Facility] additional details are emerging that would indicate that statements by Indonesia's Minister of Tourism and Culture on expanded visa facilities were a tad premature.
While apparently an agreement has been reached with the Minister of Justice and Human Rights to add 11 more countries (note: not 13) to the current list of 21 countries eligible to purchase visas on arrival (VOA) at an Indonesian international gateway, this new facility will only become available following a formal written decree, which awaits the pleasure and convenience of the Minister of Justice and Human Rights.
Which Countries Will be Added to the VOA List?
In a clarifying statement issued on June 20, 2005, by the Information Center of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, further light was shown on exactly which additional countries will be able to purchase a visa-on-arrival once the official decree is promulgated. The latest press statement from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is at variance with earlier press reports with only 11 countries to be added to the VOA list: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Egypt, Austria, Ireland, Qatar, and Luxemburg.
India and China are also said to be under review for the VOA facility, but no formal agreement to include these additional countries has yet been achieved.
Other press reports, still unconfirmed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, suggest that The Netherlands and Sweden might also be under consideration for the visa-on-arrival facility.
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.
Once the Ministerial Decision is published and its implementation date comes to pass, 32 countries will be eligible for either a six or thirty day visa-on-arrival.
A six-day visa will cost US$10 while a 30-day visa will cost $25. The extension of the "short day" visa from three days to six days is another change in the current policy awaiting the Minister of Justice and Human Rights' formal declaration.
Pending the formal announcement from the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, citizens from the 11 nations to "soon" be eligible for a visa-on-arrival should not assume any degree of leniency on visa handling when arriving at an Indonesian gateway. Prior to any official announcement from the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, citizens of the 11 "new" visa-on-arrival countries should continue to secure their visa before departing on their trip.
Stay tuned to balidiscovery.com where any formal announcement confirming the new policy will be published as soon as it becomes available.
The Convergence of a Looming Energy Crisis?
Road Side Gas Pumps, Aviation Fuel and the Island's Electrical Supply - All Under Threat.
Separate local press reports all suggest trouble ahead in the energy sector with shortages of vehicle fuels, aviation fuel and electrical supplies all threatening to converge and disrupt the daily life of Bali's residents and visitors alike.
Lines at the Gas Pumps
Local television reports tell of sporadic fuel shortages at Pertamina gas pumps at various locales across the Nation.
Confusion reigns as to the exact cause of the current fuel shortage, however, executives from the State Oil Company point to sky-rocketing world fuel prices on the spot oil market and the late disbursement of funds to Pertamina by the State Treasury as the underlying cause.
Finance officials, however, tell a different story, blaming inefficiency and bad management at Pertamina.
Critical reserves of domestic fuel supplies now stand at around 17-18 days, a figure below recommended minimums of more than 23 days. Hoarding mentalities, boosted by gowing fears that the crisis might deepen further, are causing gas pump line-ups and shortages in various locations, primarily in the border regions near Singapore, East Java and Makasar.
A Domino Effect at PLN?
Meanwhile, PLN - the monopoly supplier of electrical power to Indonesia, has blamed the lack of fuel supplied by Pertamina as the cause of temporary shut downs of power stations and the resulting brown outs to private homes and commercial enterprises. This latest problem in electrical supply further compounds already existing threats to the Java-Bali power grid resulting from ongoing repairs at several main generating stations in Java.
A Threat to Aviation Averted?
Meanwhile, Pertamina threatened briefly to stop supplying airlines with avtur after June 30, 2005.
Under threat were airlines objecting to pay a mandated 10% value-added-tax (V.A.T.) resulting from a decision by the Minister of Finance to apply the tax on fuel used on international flights and, moreover, to apply the tax retroactively to 1998. This resulted not only in instantly highter fuels costs but also in a massive "balloon" debt for the State Oil Company who appealed to the Minister of Finance for the rescinding of the VAT on avtur.
On June 23, 2005, tempointeraktif.com reported that the Ministry of Finance had finally relented, agreeing to eliminate the 10% V.A.T. on fuel purchased for overseas flights, thereby averting a problem that potentially threatened to abruptly end service by some foreign carriers to Indonesia.
Who's to Blame?
According to the authoratative Indonesia Digest, the underlying cause of Indonesia's energy crisis is the fact that Indonesian refineries are only able to meet 70% of domestic energy demand with the remainder imported at costs approaching US$70 per barrel for refined fuel oils.
Quoting the Chairman of the Oil and Gas Distributors Association, M. Nur Adib, Indonesia Digest says supplies to distributors at gas pumps across Indonesia are now down 30%, despite assurances from Pertamina that reserve stocks stand at a relatively safe 17-18 days.
While finger-pointing continues to occupy much of the time of Pertamina and Finance Ministry officials, the ongoing situation represents a very real threat the nation's infrastructure and the day-to-day operation of the National economy.
There's a Storm Brewing in Bali
Bali's Newest Brewery Dedicated to Providing Traditional Fine Ales to Island's Visitors.
Gude Ale Keeps The Heart Aboon
- by Robert Burns.
O gude ale comes and gude ale goes;
Gude ale gars me sell my hose,
Sell my hose, and pawn my shoon-
Gude ale keeps my heart aboon!
Intorducing Storm Brewery
Using a time-honored "Royal Ale" recipe handed down over hundreds of years by Thomas Storm and Sons that's traveled to Bali via England and Mauritius, Storm Brewery recently opened in Bali priding itself on using only the finest natural ingredients, purest spring water and absolutely no preservatives.
And, after sampling their brew we can fully appreciate their boast of "no preservatives." In fact, what ale needs to concern itself with issues of shelf-life when the main problem is keeping up with the brisk local demand for a most tasty product available only at selected bars and restaurants across Bali (listed on their web site).
Traditional Ale Series
Storm Brewery offer three variants in their traditional ale series:
• Sand Storm - "Golden Ale" – 5.3%Alc. – A delicious medium-strength pale ale. Delicate balance of malt and light hop with a dry fruity finish. Perfect with beef, fish or any other food, or just forget the meal.
• Red Dawn - "Bronze Ale" – 5.4%Alc. – Rich and tasty. A complex full-flavored chestnut-colored ale. Sweet malt in the mouth balanced by honeyed hop notes.
• Black Moon - "Iron Stout" – 5.2%Alc. – A smooth, dark and creamy full-bodied stout of enormous complexity and character. Roasted grain and gentle hops with chocolate overtones.
Modern Ale Series
The Company will also soon be offering two lighter-ales in their "Modern Ale Series": a 3.7% alcohol Tropical Ale and a 4.2% alcohol Pale Ale. Both light and aromatic, these brews are most suitable for cocktail parties and lunchtime socializing.
Special Ale Series
Available only at special outlets and during limited seasons, the company will produce "limited-edition" ales inspired by special occasions and their brewmaster's emotional expansivenesss brought on after having enjoyed a drop too much of their product. Among the highly unusual ales to look for while traveling around Bali are:
5 Young and Talented Balinese Artists at Jenggala Keramik July 1 – August 25, 2005.
Initiated by funds collected from the proceeds of a photography exhibition by one of the founders of Jenggala Keramik - the late and sorely-missed Brent Hesselyn, the Jenggala Artist Scholarship Program has supported the work of five promising artists from the Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI) in Denpasar.
The winners of the scholarship have again been brought together in a shared exhibition – "Scenes of Nature" to run from July 1 through August 25, 2005, at Jenggala Keramik.
Inspired by the endless beauty of nature, the talented award recipients have responded to the challenges nature has provided them in creating their artwork through color, shape and a shared philosophy that connect the whole element together.
• Vinsensius Dedy Reru symbolizes the magnificent aspects of flowers expressed within the space dimensions of a garden framed on canvas.
• Ida Bagus Tilem and Wayan Linggih each try to enter the dimension of a forest as it represents nature's life. Forests, for them, represent tranquility, comfort and loneliness where in the depth of the forest, they find the aesthetic values so perfectly illustrated in their artwork.
• I Komang Suarsana pictures the elements of space as a part of nature. Through his paintings, he expresses his admiration for land, forest, sea and mountain. Yet, on another level, he also describes the exploitation of nature.
• I Wayan Edhi Sutarna paints butterflies on his canvases, picturing them capable of communicating on at least as many ways as human beings.
This exciting exhibition of young and dynamic local artists is open daily from July 1 through August 25, 2005 at Jenggala Keramik in Jimbaran.
For more information call the Gallery at ++62- (0)361-703311.
Renovations at Bali's Sheraton Laguna Nusa Dua
Major Refurbishment and Upgrade of Resort to Be Completed by End of 2005.
The 276-room 5-Star Sheraton Laguna Nusa Dua will undergo a major refurbishment program commencing from July 1, 2005, expected to be completed by the end of the current year.
The Resort's 418-square meter ballroom will be closed from July 1, 2005, while workmen undertake a total remodeling of the main function area and adjoining pre-function spaces. When completed on September 30, 2005, the ballroom's size and capacity will have doubled.
Starting on September 15, 2005, 96 guests' rooms, comprising a full block of the hotel, will be closed for extensive remodeling and replacement of soft furnishings. The refurbished rooms are scheduled to come back on line on December 15, 2005, just in time for the peak holiday period.
Minimum Inconvenience to Guests
Access and enjoyment to the Resort's other guest facilities, pools, and restaurants will not be affected by the remodeling programs. All work projects will take place behind aesthetic partitioning with any pounding and drilling limited to daytime hours.
The Resort's popular daily afternoon tea for guests will be rotated to various locactions around the property during the course of the renovation program.
New Australian Consulate for Bali
New Facility to Provide Better Security and Expanded Space.
Australia's The Age reports that the Australian Parliament is in the final stages of approving funding to construct a purpose-built consulate building in Bali.
Part of a total building package of AUD$ 43 million (approximately US$ 33.1 million) for four separate building projects around the world, the new building will serve as both the Australian Consulate for Bali and offices for the Australian Federal Police representatives based on the island.
The Australian consulate of many years was hurriedly relocated to a more-secure townhouse complex following a bombing near the Australian Consulate in Jakarta in September of 2004.
The proposed new consulate will offer enhanced security and incorporate a commemorative garden dedicated to those who died in the October 2002 bombing of a Bali night spot.
Minister Invites Garuda to Reopen Closed Air Route
Direct Air Access to China, Europe and India Seen as Fundamental to Achieving 6 Million Tourist Arrivals Target.
Quoted in the Indonesian language Bali Post, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, is urging Indonesia's national flag-carrier Garuda Indonesia to recommence now-suspended flight services between Indonesia and China, Europe and India.
In comments made to the press on Wednesday, June 22, 2005, Minister Wacik said, "I have already requested and obtained permission from the Minister of Transportation to invite the Directors of Garuda and Merpati Nusantara to open a dialogue on recommencing direct overseas flights in connection with the addition of 13 new countires to the visa-on-arrival list."
Citing air access and seat availability as fundamental to encouraging tourist arrivals and meeting the governemnt's target of 6 million visitors for 2005, the Minister jokingly suggested that unless easy air access was provided to tourists the only alternative left was for visitors "to swim" to their Indonesian holidays.
If Garuda and Merpati continued to be unable or unwilling to re-eastablish direct international ari links, the Minister said he would then have no hesitation to ask privately held airlines to fly the routes, hinting he had already been approached by ailines eager to provide this service.
Educators to Gather in Bali
SEAAIR 2005 - 5th International Conference on Higher Education Reform to Be Held at BICC September 14-16, 2005.
SEAAIR – South East Asia Association for Institutional Research in collaboration with Widyatama University, will host the 5th International SEAAIR Conference and Seminar on Higher Education Reform September 14-16, 2005 at the Bali International Convention Center (BICC).
The organizers promise that SEAAIR 2005 will bring together researchers andacademicians in higher education to report on their research and exchange experiences with practitioners from business and industry, related to the theme, "Higher Education Reform facing Local and Global Changes." Sub-themes of the conference include strategic collaboration, quality advancement in higher education, and technology for education effectiveness.
Attracting an average 500 participants at its past conferences, this year's participants - drawn from academia, research posts, educational administration, business and the mass media, will hear a scheduled address from Indonesia's Minister of Education together with some of the regions most-respected educators.
Conference fees of only US$200 cover participation and membership in SEAAIR.
Bali's Travel Agent and Hotel Associations Meet to Agree New Rules of the Game in Handling the Island's Tourism.
At a meeting held between local leaders of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA-Bali) and the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI-Bali) in early June a number of "rules of the game" were discussed that if successfully implemented would have a fundamental change on the way Bali's travel industry transacts business.
Among the main points discussed and tentatively agreed at the June 7, 2005, meeting between PHRI and ASITA were:
• ASITA insists that rates given to overseas agent should always be a minimum of 5% more than those granted by hotels to local travel agents.
• That rules should be established compelling overseas agents to always work through a local travel agent as their representative.
• That local hotels will always check to confirm membership in ASITA before granting contract rates to a local agent.
• That a clearer delineation between hotel and travel agents services be made, reserving the right to provide airport transfers to local travel agents.
• To stop the practice of hotels allowing unlicensed travel counters to operate on their properties.
• That a cooperative body comprised of the directors of PHRI-Bali and ASITA-Bali be established to deal with shared issues and problems.
• That a memorandum of understanding (MOU) be drafted covering the agreed areas of mutual cooperation.
• That a body dedicated to both domestic and international promotion be formed between PHRI-Bali and ASITA-Bali.
• That a joint credit meeting be regularly held between PHRI-Bali and ASITA-Bali to identify travel agents who are delinquent in their debts.
Oh, How Suite it is!
Westin Resort Redevelops its Six Ocean Suites.
The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali has commenced the redevelopment of its six Ocean View Suites. According to the Resort's Management, the redevelopment was initiated to enhance the holiday experience of guest staying in the new preferentially positioned sea-breeze-facing accommodation.
When completed, the suites will be individually themed, reflecting different regions of Bali: Klungkung, Karangasem, Celuk, Bangli, Panglipuran, and Tenganan.
Each suite will be equipped with broadband internet access and a 42-inch plasma screen televisions, including a home theatre system. The accommodation will include both a separate living room and dining room with the two ground floor suites complemented by a large plunge pool and private garden. These suites will have two bedrooms and have the option of additional quarters for an assistant. The remaining four suites are all configured with one bedroom.
Located in a separate wing affording splendid ocean views, the Ocean Suites project will not impact on the surrounding area or existing guests' enjoyment of the Resort during construction.
Completion of the project is scheduled for August 10, 2005.
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