"Thank you so much for your support during our wonderful stayin Bali. Thanks also to all your dedicated staff, who made our trip a perfect experience. This will really be a memorable incentive to our customers and also to the NEC staff."
Destined to Become Bali's Premier Lifestyle and Entertainment Destination.
Bali's reputation as a shopping and entertainment destination will make another giant stride forward with the formal opening on February 15, 2006 of The Bali Collection - a multi-faceted retail department store, shopping, dining and entertainment center located within the Nusa Dua Complex on the southernmost tip of the Island.
Including some 20,000 square meters of rentable space, The Bali Collection is targeted to be home to over one hundred leading brand shops and restaurants. Interspersed with theatres and sports centers, nightly entertainment programs and rotating art installations dotting the generous open plazas and walkways – The Bali Collection is widely expected to become a major drawing card to both locals and tourists occupying more than 4,500 star-rated rooms within walking distance of the venue.
The location of the Complex situated within a fenced and tightly controlled area within the security-safety perimeter of the Nusa Dua Complex offers the very highest standards of security for shoppers and diners available anywhere on the Island.
Following its soft-opening on December 15, 2005, visitors are already experiencing Bali’s most up-market shopping atmosphere presented by the Sogo Department Store. Also open and ready for business are several excellent restaurants and an assortment of Bali’s leading retail outlets, including, among others:
• Uluwatu Fine Linen
• Surfer Girl
• Rip Curl
• Body & Soul
Limited retain space remains available for qualified retails, entertainment and dining purveyors.
My Playful Journey
An Exhibition of Paintings by Madè Kaek At Ganesha Gallery January 17 – February 17, 2006.
Balinese artist Madè Kaek has been described by the Director of theBali Mangsi Cultural Center as being at the "the threshold between consciousness and unconsciousness."
Bali-based art consultant, Bruce Carpenter had this to say regarding one of Bali's more controversial modern artists: "One of the most difficult challenges faced by contemporary Balinese artists, like Madè Kaek, is to define the relationship between their traditional cultural heritage, being Balinese if you like, and being a modern artist. The Balinese anthropologist and writer, Degung Santika, has written several essays concerning the 'burden' of being Balinese."
"While his remarks are largely tongue in check they also contain a severe truth – non- Balinese expect the Balinese to conform to often ill fitting stereotypes that disregard their individual character. On the international art scene this mirrored in the fact that most of the exhibitions of non-Western artists in the West take place, not in museums of modern art, but rather Ethnological Museums. The truth is that the art of Madè Kaek and other important Balinese artists rises above their cultural roots while simultaneously acknowledging it. Astonishingly Kaek's art owes as much to the graffiti artists of urban New York as it does to the Balinese ritual and religion."
"In this exhibition entitled, My Playful Journey, Kaek demonstrates the ease with which he flows between the west and east but also consciousness and unconsciousness. While it would be easy to speculate on its connection with ancient rituals and culture, I would suggest a new approach of viewing it as the unique vision of a highly talented artist who just happens to be Balinese."
For One Month Only
"My Playful Journey" - an exhibition of art by Madè Kaek will run from January 17 through February 17, 2006 at the Ganesha Gallery – Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay.
The Gallery is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
A Larger Slice of a Shrinking Pie
6 Bali Regencies Demanding a Larger Piece of Badung’s Shrinking Hotel and Restaurant Tax Coffers.
With most large hotels operating in Bali southernmost regency of Badung, the 10% tax collected on hotel and restaurant bills have traditionally been shared with 6 other regencies in Bali. The justification for this "sharing of the tax wealth" is based on the fact that while many people spend their days touring Bali's attractive regencies far removed from the Island’s main hotel areas, the tourists spend most of their money with companies located in the South.
As reported in balidiscovery.com [ Bali's Hotel & Restaurant Tax Revenues to Dive] lowered expectations on tourist arrivals for 2006 have forced the Badung Government to lower it Hotel and Restaurant Tax (PHR) targets for the coming year, predicting a 23.55% fall in tax collection revenues.
In the face of less money to share, numerous project demanding funding and demands for more fund to be spent on tourism promotion the Regent of Badung recently proposed that 12% of the total PHR tax take in Badung regency be distributed to 5 other Bali regencies, namely – Karangasem, Buleleng, Bangli, Negara, Klungkung and Tabanan. That proposal, made at a recent meeting attended by representatives from each of the regencies, ended in a deadlock with the regencies demanding a 22% share and rejecting a compromise 15% share eventually offered by Badung.
Badung officials appear adamant in reducing the 6 regencies share of the PHR tax pie, citing both the expected downturn in tax revenues and past failure of the regencies to use the money on tourism related projects. Apparently Badung officials are negotiating not only for lower shares to other regencies but assurances that funds allocated will be used for tourism activities.
According to a report in Bisnis Bali, the 6 regencies outside of Badung are seeking an estimated Rp. 59.57 billion (approximately US$6 million) allocation from the PHR collections.
Because of the current deadlock in discussions between the regencies and the Badung government, negotiation are expected to be scheduled to continue in the coming weeks.
Only 12% of Bali's Tourist Transport Operating
Bali Transport Owners Association Cite Lack of Domestic and International Passengers for Current Crippling Lack of Business.
The Chairman of the Bali Transportation Association (PAWIBA), Bagus Soediana, has told the Indonesian-language Bisnis Bali that following the October 1, 2005 terrorist bombing only 12% of his Association's fleet is now actively operating.
Representing a transportation armada estimated at 4,000 vehicles, PAWIBA says the lack of foreign tourist following the most recebt terror attack and the equally dramatic downturn in domestic passengers following a doubling in fuel costs on October 1, 2005, have caused Bali transportation fleet to remain parked in local lots.
PAWIBA executives are both hoping and praying that a fast rebound of foreign visitors responding positively to added security measures now being introduced in Bali and a healthier level of domestic arrivals spurred on by increases in civil servant salary levels may help their members avoid the ever-increasing threat of mass layoffs among those working in Bali's tourist transportation sector.
Merpati to Begin Auctioning its Assets?
State Owned Indonesian Airline Hopes to Survive as it Faces Growing Debt and Greater Competition.
An Indonesian State-owned bank - Bank Mandiri has formally asked the State-Owned Airline Merpati Nusantara to begin liquidating assets in order to serve debts owed the bank.
According to a report in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, the Airlines indebtedness to Bank Mandiri has now reached Rp. 194 billion (approximately US$19.4 million). The same report states that the Airline had been unable to meet its obligations to the Bank dating from November 2004, incurring Rp. 21 billion (approximately US$2.1 million) in additional interest charges and Rp. 6.2 billion (approximately US$620,000) in late payment penalties.
According to a Vice-Director of Bank Mandiri, I Wayan Agus Mertayasa, the Airline must now sell off some of its assets to meet its obligations while waiting for the Government to make good on its promise to provide much-needed cash injections to the Airline. According to Mertayasa, "We hope that additional operational funds will return Merpati to health and permit it meet its scheduled debt repayments."
While it remains unclear which assets of Merpati are destined to go on block, a process has begun to value the Airline's asset and determine which might best be sold to meet debt while allowing the Company to remain in operation.
Commenting to Bisnis Indonesia, the President Director of Merpati, Hotasi Nababan, refused to detail which assets are likely to be sold, only saying that the process was underway and he hoped the Airline would be allowed to "survive." Blaming his Airline's current unhappy state of affairs on competitive factors, Hotasi refused to provide the press with more details on its debt default or a promised cash injection of Rp. 75 billion (approximately US$7.5 million) from the Government.
Developing a Daily Yoga Practice
A 3-Day Yoga Program Led by Sri Jane at Bali Purnati Center February 3-5, 2006.
Internationally recognized teacher of Yoga and meditation, Sri Jane, will lead a 3-day journey at the picturesque and idyllic Bali Purnati Center February 3-5, 2006.
Focusing on how to develop a daily practice to suite your individual needs and lifestyle, Sri Jane will call on her two decades of study and experience gained with Yoga Masters Swami Venkatesananda, Y.V.K. Desikachar, B.K.S. Iyengar, and Shri K. Pattabhi Jois.
Conducted with both humor and individual care, Sri Jane will encourage participants to expand the boundaries of their yoga practice, regardless of their current level of skill. Each day will be divided into a morning and afternoon session held during the 3 day / 3 night retreat.
Cost of participation is US$370 based on twin sharing and includes breakfasts and dinners, 3 nights accommodation at Bali Purnati and all classes. Single occupancy rooms are available at US$490.
Non-resident participation covering yoga classes only cost US$150.
Reservations can be made by calling ++62-(0)361-294590.
A Presentation of Rama Surya's Photographic Journal of Post Tsunami Rebuilding Efforts in North Sumatra at ARMA in Ubud on Saturday, January 21, 2006.
Indonesia Development of Education and Permaculture (IDEP) - a Bali-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) assisting Aceh and North Sumatra's post-tsunami recovery through the development of self-sustaining projects that empower local communities, commissioned well-known and widely published Indonesian photographer Rama Surya to record the initial devastation following the December 26, 2004 tsunami tragedy and the recoery efforts in the intervening 12 months.
Rama Surya will present his still photos and video recordings of his several visits to the area, focusing on IDEP projects in Samatiga and Lhoong.
Rama Surya's interesting presentation of Aceh images will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2006, at the Wantilan of the ARMA Resort in Pengoskean, Ubud from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m..
Open to the public, admission is free and a cash bar will be in operation.
For more information telephone ++62-(0)361-981504.
Bali's Informal Hotel and Villa Sector Increasingly Seen as Causing Substantial Losses in Local Tax Revenues.
Members of Commission "A" of Bali's Regional Parliament for Badung made surprise visits on three different tourist accommodation addresses in South Bali on Thursday, January 12, 2006, uncovering further proof that the island's approach to the licensing of accommodation providers remains a jumbled mass of confusion. During the Commission's visit to three accommodation addresses they found two luxurious boutique properties operating with the licenses for a "homestay" or pondok wisata, and another locally owned property running with no licenses or permits at all.
According to the Chairman of the Commission, Nyoman Sukirta, quoted in the Indonesian-language DenPost, one of the properties holding a full set of licenses as a home stay is, in fact, a luxury hotel property with 32 villas on 2.5 hectares of land owned by 6 different owners. The investor in the project justified his project explaining that local zoning laws prohibit the building of a hotel project in his area, "compelling" him to apply for a "homestay license," the true nature of which he further camouflaged by dividing the ownership among six nominee owners.
According to Sukirta, the misuse of the homestay permit for what is clearly a hotel project is causing a substantial loss in tax revenues to the region.
Meanwhile, other members of the Commission participating in the inspection visit called for an urgent review on the procedure on how licenses are issued and taxes collected to prevent further losses to the People of Bali, indicating that their preliminary finding point to malfeasance in the licensing process.
Wrinkles and All
'The Old and Wizened' an Exhibition by Dewa Adnyana at Ubud’s Gaya Fusion Art Space January 20 – February 20, 2006.
The Balinese artist Dewa Gede Adnyana will be featured in a solo exhibition at Ubud'sGaya Fusion Art Space on Sayan Ridge commencing from the evening of January 20 through February 20, 2006.
A former student of the Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI) in Denpasar, Adyana has adopted "The Old and Wizened" as the theme for his latest exhibition of work examining the cumulative effect the passing years on his selected subjects.
The exhibition is open daily at Jalan Raya Sayan Ubud.
For more information telephone++62-(0)361-972252 or ++62-(0)361-979253.
2005 in Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
Bali by the Numbers: October 1 2005 Bombing Denies Bali a Record Year for Foreign Tourist Arrivals.
Total foreign direct arrivals for 2005 have just been released showing that Bali ended 2005 with 1,386,499 foreign visitors, a decline of 4.92% from the record-breaking performance of 2004 when 1.46 million foreign visitors came to the Island. The relatively small 4.92% decline in arrivals for the entire year, however, belies the calamitous impact of the October 1, 2005 terrorist bombing that resulted in a 39.71% drop in foreign visitors for the last quarter (Oct.-Dec.) of 2005 as compared to the same period one year before.
A Tale of Two Bombings
As shown on the chart presented on balidiscovery.com comparing 2002 and 2005 - two separate years compelled to bear the brunt of an October terrorist attack, both the levels of business and the sudden declines in arrivals after each bombing attack largely mirrored each other. In fact, total foreign arrival results for 2005 and 2002 vary by only 100,000, with 2005 turning in a performance that was a scant 7.8% better than the earlier bomb-scarred year.
Perhaps most worthy of note, while the 2002 decline in business was deeper than 2005, comparisons for December in both years suggest a somewhat stronger pace of recovery after the first bombing in 2002. Whether or not that trend continues into the early months of 2006 will be keenly watched and determine the length and severity of the current downturn in business.
Sometimes overlooked but demonstrated in another chart on balidiscovery.com is that even without the effects of the October 2002 and 2005 bombings, October marks the beginning of the Island's "shoulder season" – the seasonal dowturn in foreign tourist arrivals (with the exception of the Christmas/New Year's holidays) that persists until the second quarter of the following year.
Arrivals by Source Markets
The third chart shown on balidiscovery.com tracks the changes in market share for the 6 years 2000-2005.
Comparing 2000 to 2005, there is a marked shift in Bali's market mix:
• Asia Pacific - The Asia Pacific market share which also includes the Island's 4 main source markets of Japan, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea increased from a 56.46% share in 2000 to 59.18% in 2005. In fact, this region peaked in market share in 2004, claiming 63.5% of all arrivals to Bali.
• ASEAN - During the five periods from 2000 to 2005 ASEAN's market share almost tripled, becoming 8.59% of all arrivals in 2005. Most of this growth came from Malaysia and Singapore and reflects the new markets created by the entrance of discount airlines, such as Air Asia, onto the regional travel scene.
• The Americas - Although showing signs of slow recovery, foreign visitors from the Americas now represent only 5.31`% of all Bali arrivals, down from a 7.77% market share in 2000.
• Europe - Similarly, still in the process of making a gradual comeback, European travelers to Bali now represent 26.14% of all arrivals, down from the 30.9% share enjoyed in 2000. Most encouraging is the rapid increase in the return of European travelers, marking a 13.43% improvement in 2005 as compared to the previous year.
The Triumphant Return of 'Tolstoy's Wife'
Back By Popular Demand - Actress Jennifer Claire in a 2nd Performance of 'Tolstoy's Wife' - at Bali's Amandari Resort Saturday, January 28, 2006.
Following her sold-out and widely acclaimed December 2005 performance, acctress Jennifer Claire will again present her one-woman play "Tolstoy's Wife" at Ubud's Amandari Resort.
Classically trained in the English theatre, Jennifer Claire divides her time between homes in Sydney and Bali following a distinguished career that included 10 years with the Melbourne Theatre Company.
As a young woman traveling from the United States to Australia by ship, she read the printed diaries of Countess Tolstoy, the wife of Count Leo Tolstoy.
Many years later and approaching her sixth decade, Ms. Claire decided to embarked on an ambitious plan to turn the story of Madam Sonya Tolstoy into a stage play. Consuming two years of painstaking research, the story of the much-maligned and long-suffering Countess Tolstoy made its debut to appreciative audiences in New York and Australia.
Ms. Claire, speaking of her play in an interview published in Australia's The Age, said, "I wanted to be faithful to her words and her passions. I wanted to portray a woman who had borne 13 children, of whom nine lived, and who was great but who also had her faults, as faithfully as I could." Adding, "I had to be ruthless. I had to deal with the old Russia of peasants and serfs and all those difficult Russian names."
Humiliated by Tolstoy in his diaries and seen in history as a shrew who persecuted a great mind, Ms. Claire's play lends a much more human depiction of a woman otherwise portrayed to the world as a villain. Putting much of the blame for history's treatment of the Countess at Tolstoy's feet, Ms. Claire says, "I don't think he really liked women. I think at heart he was a deep misogynist, which is incredible, really, when you consider that Tolstoy also created one of the most memorable women of all time in Anna Karenina."
A Single Return Performance in Bali
Don’t miss this chance to see Ms. Claire's sparkling performance which delighted and amazed local audiences last month.
Presented by its author, "Tolstoy’s Wife" will re-appear on Saturday, January 28, 2006, at the Amandari Resort in Ubud.
Ticket at Rp. 200,000 each (approximately US$ 20.00) which includes pre-performance cocktails and canapes at 7:00 p.m. followed by the play at 7:30 p.m..
A special after theatre supper is available at The Amandari for an additional charge.
Proceeds form Ms. Jennifer Claire's performance will be donated to the Amandari's Kesayan Ikang Papa Orphanage Fund.
Reservations are mandatory and can be made by calling Putu Sudiari at The Amandari at ++62-(0)361-975333 or via the e-mail link provided.
Alex Riva Changes Hemispheres to Accept Starwood Promotion to Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur.
The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali will be bidding a fond farewell to its Executive Assistant Manager and Director of the Bali International Convention Center (BICC), Alex Riva, who will be accepting a new position in the Starwood Group, effective January 17, 2006.
Concluding an assignment of just under 4 years in Bali, Alex's new assignment will be as Deputy Assistant Manager at the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. During his Bali posting, Alex Riva assisted the General Manager in overseeing the resort's 355 rooms, 5 restaurants, 3 bars, and the largest convention centre in Bali capable of catering up to 2,500 people. Riva also [played an instrumental role in overseeing the re-branding of the Resort from Sheraton to Westin.
A Veteran Hotelier
Asked about how many years he has been in the hotel industry, the Swiss-Italian hotelier replied, "I've been in the business for 37 years or since the time I started to walk around the family hotel."
A graduate of The Lausanne Hotel School, Riva has gained extensive experience including assignments in Phuket, Bangkok and Bali. During his 12 years with Starwood, he has worked for Sheraton, Luxury Collection and Westin.
With the recent acquisition of the Le Meridien brand by Starwood, Riva is one of the first Starwood executives to make the transition to the latest addition to the Group's portfolio of international hotels.
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