Police Remove A Bomb Device From a Kuta Hotel Containing No Explosives. A Hoax?
On the afternoon of Wednesday, August 31, 2005, police evacuated the Kuta Paradiso Hotel after a suspicious object was discovered in a hand bag left in a 4th floor elevator lobby of the hotel. Guests were evacuated from the hotel while bomb squad officers removed a device containing a timing device, batteries, charcoal powder but apparently containing no explosive materials.
While police continue to investigate the incident, many are concluding that the "discovery" of the material was meant to cause terror rather than injuries, a fact leading some to question whether the incident is linked to past terrorist attacks or a case of commercial extortion.
Whatever the motivation, the discovery has caused police and hotel operators across Bali to increase their vigilance against acts of terror with police conducting sweeps of malls, hotels and other public areas. Meanwhile, the Bali Hotel Association has responded by re-issuing security guidelines to its members. [ See: Bali Hotel Association Issues Security Assurance ].
Both President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Bali's Police Chief Irjen. Made Mangku Pastika have called on the public to increase their security awareness, particularly during the months of September and October which mark the anniversaries of the 9-11 attacks in New York, the October 12, 2002 bombing of several Bali night spots, and the September 2004 bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.
Following the "hoax" bombing incident, business activity quickly returned to normal at the Kuta Paradiso Hotel with no discernable rush of guests wishing to check out of the hotel or cancel their reservations.
Parking Changes in Kuta and Legian
Long-Term Plan Calling for More Off-Street Parking Gets Underway with Parking Ban on 2 Main Streets in Legian.
The on-again off-again attempts to reduce traffic congestion in Bali's Kuta-Legian district has entered a new phase with the introduction on September 1, 2005, of parking bans on two major thoroughfares in Legian.
Following discussions between Legian community leaders and local traffic officials, an agreement has been reached to ban parking on the entire length of Jalan Padma and Jalan Werkudara in Legian.
Jalan Padma is the north-south street that begins in the south at Jalan Yudistira, running along the side of the Bali Padma Hotel, which turns into Jalan Werkudara until it terminates at Jalan Double Six.
Prior to the introduction of the new "no parking" regulations, circulars were sent to businesses located along the two streets reminding them of their responsibility to provide adequate parking for their guests and employees.
Traffic authorities are threatening to tow any vehicles parked on the subject streets in violation of the new parking ban.
Following the successful introduction of parking prohibitions on the two "test streets," plans are to add additional streets to the "no parking" list, thereby relieving much of the traffic congestion in that area.
The BBC is
BBC Children Series "Really Wild" Films a Coming Episode at Nusa Lembongan Island.
Nick Baker, Zoologist and presenter for the BBC children's long playing nature education series, "Really Wild," recently selected the Mola Mola - a rare fish species know to frequent the waters off Nusa Lembongan as one of his celebrity creatures in the "Weirdest Creature Category."
Scubazoo, the company contracted to film underwater segments for the BBC, when faced with the challenge of filming these large but relatively reticent fishes, recommended Bali Hai Diving Adventures as the company most likely to deliver the desired results shooting underwater on a very tight schedule.
Arriving in Bali in August 2005, the BBC filming schedule provided for only three days to capture the Mola Mola on film.
The show's presenter, Nick Baker, diving with a full face Arga Unit and wired for sound, descended beneath the waters of Nusa Lembongan hoping to catch powerful photographic impressions to the world's heaviest bony fish. A gigantic fish by any standard, the Mola Mola can grow to 3 meters in diameter and weigh as much as 363 kilograms Nick Baker managed to encounter the fish on each and every of the ten dives made by the film team.
The BBC filming team credits their remarkable success at capturing the Mola Mola on film to Bali Hai Diving's pioneering work in Mola Mola behavioral research and the Bali-based company's uncompromising adherence to safety protocols on every dive they make.
In 2004, Bali Hai Diving Adventures, in association with Bali Hai Cruises, hosted a film shoot for a segment of "Planet Earth," the sequel to the BBC's "Blue Planet" series. That natural history sequence, filmed over ten days in the cool waters of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan by celebrated Underwater Cinematographer Mr. Peter Scoones, will be broadcast sometime in 2006.
The "Really Wild" segment, just completed for the BBC. is expected to air on both the BBC and The Discovery Channel in the Spring of 2006.
Introducing : The Gangsa
Luxurious Private Villas Open in the Very Heart of Sanur.
September 3, 2005, marked the opening of The Gangsa - an all villa property located in the village of Sanur.
Located in the very middle of a traditional Sanur neighborhood, guests are able to discover the harmony of Balinese living at their very doorstep. Composed of 11 private villas - in one, two and three bedroom configurations, each villa provides a contemporary dιcor with subtle Balinese touches designed by the same team that created the stylish look for its sister properties - The Kayumanis Villa Properties in Ubud and Nusa Dua. Every villa is set in a private garden compound providing a semi-open outdoor lounge environment integrated with a gourmet kitchen and dining area. A swimming pool is surrounded by ample deck space for outdoor sun bathing and dining.
Gong - The Gangsa's restaurant, is open for all day dining, specializing in up-market Balinese cuisine. The Gangsa's luxurious spa facility, Rebab, provides a comprehensive menu of traditional Balinese healing and beauty treatments.
Special opening phase prices are available from Bali Discovery Tours.
"Faces of Indonesia" - 150 Australian Travel Agents to Be Invited on November 2005 Familiarization Tour.
Garuda Indonesia is offering 150 top-producing Australasian travel agents the opportunity to experience the many "faces" of Indonesia via a mega-educational tour scheduled for November 2005.
A range of specially planned itineraries covering Bali, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Lombok will be offered. The programmes will feature a multitude of educational options, showcasing familiar and lesser-known resort areas, attractions, tours and facilities.
Garuda Indonesia has pioneered mass educational tours for travel agents for years. In 2003, the airline initiated the very successful "Bali Seeing is Believing" familiarization tour involving a number of wholesalers and air carriers working together. The 2003 trip was seen as instrumental in rebuilding the Australian travel industry's confidence in Bali.
In 2004, another mass educational tour - "Bali the Key to Indonesia" highlighted Indonesia's many diverse tourism destinations.
According to organizers, participation in the "Faces of Indonesia" program will be performance based. Australian travel agents wishing to learn how to be part of this experience should contact their Garuda Indonesia Sales Executive or nearest Garuda Indonesia sales office.
Paul Ropp Warehouse Sale
Bargains Galore at Paul Ropp's Fashion Warehouse in Kerobokan September 23 26, 2005.
Paul Ropp - one of the world's leading fashion brands has its roots in Bali where the doyen of and namesake of "Wrapped in Rope" who describes his distinctive fashions as being "based on sun and fun ... clothes for people who want sensual freedom and movement or prefer to be naked."
For 4 Days Only - An Inexpensive Alternative to Nudity
Sought by the fashion conscious the world over, Paul Ropp's line of clothing for men and women and fashion accessories will be available at a long-awaited factory showroom and warehouse sale - September 23-26, 2005.
The Paul Ropp warehouse is located near the Kerobokan prison, on Jalan Pengubengan 1X.
For more information telephone ++62-(0)361-730023 or ++62-(0)361-731002.
Local Legislators Claim More Pressing Public Needs than Funding Tourism Promotion. We Ask: Are There?
The official attitude in some quarters of Indonesia likens tourism to a crop of ripe mangoes that perennially comes forth on the vine. This line of thought maintains that all that remains to be done is to just sit back, harvest the abundant fruits and enjoy the tasty God-give bounty from an unending flow of tourists. This dangerously mistaken attitude is bred from the fact that, year after year - with minor exceptions, Indonesia has been able to reap a steadily increasing tourism harvest with little consideration for the care and cultivation of a "crop" that has become the second largest source of badly needed foreign exchange.
This laissez faire attitude was recently highlighted by Indonesia's central government allocating a scant Rp. 101 billion (approximately US$9.6 million) for the overseas promotion of tourism. This amount belies both the size and the potential of Indonesia's tourism industry, representing a humbling pittance in comparison to the massive and professionally managed promotion budgets of competing destinations, such as Malaysia (US$150 million), Singapore (US$60 million) and Thailand (US$100 million).
On a local legislative level, the picture is no brighter. In Bali, where the majority of the population derives their incomes from tourism, there is an equally appalling lack of appreciation for the need for effective tourism promotion. While on the one hand eager to reap the millions of dollars in taxation from the tourism sector, local parliamentarians are steadfast in their refusal to grow their tax revenues through the simple step of providing adequate money for tourism promotion, allocating only Rp. 4 billion (approximately US$380,000) for this purpose.
We're Falling Behind
Despite record-levels of foreign tourism arrivals to Bali in the current year, the inescapable fact is that Indonesia and Bali are losing market share in the face of well-funded professional tourism promotion by competing destinations. As reported on balidiscovery.com, [ Indonesia Losing its Market Share? ], we demonstrated that Indonesia, when compared against all member-states of ASEAN, only fares slightly better than Myanmar in terms of getting its share of the fast-growing tourism market to the region.
Arguments put forth by local and national parliamentarians that there are more pressing needs than tourism promotion for the limited funds at their disposal, make little sense while providing shocking witness to the myopic leadership style inflicted by some parliamentarians on the people of Indonesia. Tourism represents a valuable export; capable of both long term sustainability and producing well-paid jobs for millions of Indonesians. The wise use of public money in professionally managed tourism promotion promises a demonstrable quick return on investment in terms of the new jobs, foreign exchange and potential new investments in the tourism sector that will result. Current arguments from local and national lawmakers claiming insufficient funds for tourism promotion are akin to a woodsman refusing to gather more wood for his fire, complaining it's much too cold outside to momentarily leave the warmth of his dwindling fireplace.
Cold Days Ahead?
The lack of foresight by lawmakers who refuse to fund tourism promotion reflects the same come what may attitude of industry and political leaders who reject expending any time, money or energy on enhancing the tourism experience for Bali's visitors. Oblivious to issues of declining quality and the almost complete absence of any quality-assurance programs for visitors, these policymakers are blind to the disastrous effects just ahead for destinations, such as Bali, that consistently fail to meet the expectations of its foreign visitors.
In tourism terms, Bali's rich harvest of visitors which has served it so well in the past is under threat. Times and marketplaces have changed, demanding that in order to continue to enjoy the continued benefits of tourism there is an urgent need for both careful cultivation and fertilization of tourism's orchards.
Wismilak World Class Tennis in Bali
Match Schedule and Ticket Prices for Wismilak International Tennis September 11-18, 2005.
The world's best women tennis players will be in Bali September 11 18, 2005, competing for US$250,000 in prize money at the Wismilak 2005 tournament at the Grand Hyatt Bali, Nusa Dua.
Part of the Women's International Tennis Association (WITA) tour, among those scheduled to play are world number 1 Lindsay Davenport, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Karolina Sprem, Patty Schnyder, Alicia Molik, and Sania Mirza.
Ticket prices and match times at the Grand Hyatt Bali are shown below. Tickets are available through September 11 at:
Grand Hyatt Bali The Westin resort Conrad Bali Resort & Spa Bali Dynasty Resort Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel Bali Garden Hotel Harris Resort Kuta The Oberoi Bali Kafe Batu Waru, Ubud Sativa Hotel Travel Works Communications
From September 11, 2005, tickets will only be available from the Grand Hyatt Bali.
Bali Police Claim No Plans For Random Urine Tests.
The Australia Associate Press (AAP) reported on August 31, 2005 that the head of the Bali Anti-Narcotics squad, Bambang Sugiarto, denied Australian press reports that visitors in local pubs and night spots would be subjected to random urine tests.
While regular surprise visits on local nights spots checking for illegal drug possession as part of a general crack down on narcotics in Bali will continue, the man in charge of drug enforcement in Bali said urine testing would be reserved for people suspected of illicit drug use or dealing.
Michele Leslie, the Australian model now under arrest in Bali was only subjected to urine and blood tests after her apprehension by police who discovered two ecstasy pills in her bag while entering a public musical event in Bali. Leslie, if convicted, could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison.
Press interviews with revelers at popular clubs in Bali indicate that most travelers are not worried by the threat of frequent "sweeps" by anti-narcotic police. While some observers have expressed fears of having drugs planted on them by the same police conducting the raids, such fears seem to have no foundation in fact with none of the many people recently apprehended claiming such a defense.
Apparently most Bali partygoers, content to get their thrills on the consumption of legal alcohol, do not view steps aimed at stopping drug abuse as a matter or personal concern.
Hotels Report Normal Operations Following Bomb Hoax.
Bali Hotels Association (BHA) has reissued security guidelines and recommendations to its membership following the discovery of a suspicious package at the Kuta Paradiso Hotel on August 31, 2005, later termed a "bombhoax" by authorities.
In re-issuing the minimum guidelines for hotel security, the BHA is using the false alarm of the August 31st incident to remind their members of the need to remain vigilant in guaranteeing their guest's security.
The guidelines include the need for regular training on security issues, departmental and management briefings, augmenting the strength of security force in all hotels, the operation of boom gates, strict logging of access and controls on entrances, reviewing internal bomb threat procedures, and greater awareness of the fundamental role played by all staff play in being proactive and diligent in assessing and reporting risks to senior management.
"In this recent incident, the alertness and diligence of a hotel employee who immediately raised the alarm and the subsequential (sic) calling of the bomb squad demonstrated that procedures are followed in the event of any threat," commented Jamal Hussain, Chairperson of the BHA Security Committee.
No Apparent Downturn in Business
Local hotels and tour operators are not reporting any cancellations or sudden exodus of guests following the "bombing hoax."
Speaking on Thursday, September 1, 2005, Robert Kelsall, Chairman of the BHA said, "Bali Hotels are currently enjoying extremely high occupancies. With a public holiday tomorrow, most hotels are reporting to be full over the weekend and the prospects for the remainder of September are looking very positive with no cancellations reported. With the reassurance that we do take security very seriously, we imagine the impact from the recent 'scare' will be minimal and that business will carry on as normal."
New Progressive Parking Fees at Bali's Airport
Effective September 1, 2005, The Longer You Park the More You Pay at Bali's Airport.
Perum Angkasa Pura I (PAP-1) - the company which manages Bali's airport, has introduced a progressive parking fee structure effective from September 1, 2005. The higher parking costs will, however, only be felt by people who leave their vehicles for more than one hour parked inside the terminal area.
New Fees at a Glance
The first one hour of parking at the airport remains at the old tariff of Rp. 500 for motorcycles, Rp. 2,000 for cars, and Rp, 4,000 for trucks and busses.
For Periods exceeding one hour but less than five hours, the rate doubles to become Rp. 1,000 for motorcycles, Rp. 4,000 for cars, and Rp. 8,000 for trucks and busses.
For those parking for more than five hours but less than 12 hours the rate becomes Rp. 3,000 for motorcycles, Rp. 10,000 for cars, and Rp. 15,000 for trucks and busses.
Those leaving their cars for more than 12 hours at the airport will pay Rp. 5,000 for motorcycles, Rp. 20,000 for cars, and Rp. 30,000 for trucks and busses.
State-owned vehicles are allowed to park without charge at the airport but must purchase a vehicle sticker costing Rp. 25,000 that remains valid for one year.
Airport workers and those making frequent trips to the airport can purchase subscription parking rates for Rp. 25,000 a month or Rp. 250,000 a year for motorcycles; Rp. 50,000 a month or Rp, 500,000 a year for cars; Rp. 100,000 a month or Rp. 1,000,000 a year for trucks and busses.
* The Rupiah conversion rate as of September 1, 2005, stood at approximately Rp. 10,500 to US$1.00.
Parking Improvements Promised
In addition to the soon-to-be-opened new access road, PAP-1 is promising other improvements affecting those involved in bringing vehicles to Bali's airport. Among the changes promised include a new "dropping zone" for cars loading and unloading passengers and luggage at the curb and the conversion of the sports field on Jalan Mokmer into an additional parking area.
Bali Police Bust Fake Passport Ring
Bali Police Holding Three Iranians Men and an Indonesian Woman Following Arrest of Man Trying to Board New Zealand Bound Flight.
On Friday, August 26, 2005, Bali's Airport Police, acting on a tip from Jakarta, apprehended an Iranian man as he was waiting to board a Garuda Indonesia flight to New Zealand using a falsified French passport. Transiting the Bali airport off a domestic flight from Jakarta, the Iranian was taken into custody with his two people who had brought him to the airport, an Indonesian woman and an Iranian who claimed to be working as a translator for the INHCR.
Following interrogation and based on information obtained by the Police, another Iranian man was arrested in Jakarta on Sunday, August 28, 2005.
According to local press reports, the fake passport ring traces back to a syndicate in Bangkok where the arrested Iranian obtained the illegal passport for between US$800 and US$1000, before traveling overland to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and taking a ferry to Batam.
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