"Just like to further re-iterate the fact after my bali trip with your tour group that i had the best and pronounced service. Keep up the good work and i will surely recommend this to my friends and colleagues."
Governor Establishes Bali Security Council. Funds Finally Beginning to Flow for Recovery Projects.
Bali Security Council Now Being Formed
Bali's Governor, Drs. Dewa Made Beratha, has issued a formal declaration establishing the Bali Security Council (BKPB), putting into effect a recommendation from Bali's former Chief of Police, General Made Mangku Pastika, made shortly after the October 1, 2005, terorist attack.
Comprised of five separate working groups, the BKPB is charged with ensuring smooth cooperation is maintained between law enforcement agencies in Bali, the military, the wider community and the various government intelligence agencies. The five working groups formed under the BKPB are charged individually with prevention and early detection of crime and terrorism; prevention of crime and terrorism; response and law enforcement; rehabilitation; and evaluation.
Membership in the Security Council will involve participation by the police, military, academics, non-governmental agencies, government bureaucrats, and community leaders – with recruitment of members for each working group now underway.
In accordance with the Governor's instructions, the chief operational post of the BKPB will be held by Bali's Chief of Police, Inspector General Sunarko, assisted by Bali's Vice-Governor, Alit Kelakan.
In all, some Rp. 93 billion (approximately US$9.8 million) will be disbursed by the Central Government in connection with Bali's recovery including Rp. 67 billion to support tourism promotion; Rp. 16 billion in special security funding for Bali's police; and a remaining Rp. 10 billion for expenditures controlled by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and the Nation's Immigration service.
Last week, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, offered his personal assurances that the promised funds requested by the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) for Bali’s press center, familiarization trips to Bali from the world-wide travel industry and overseas recovery road shows – would all begin to flow in the coming few days.
During the past week, members of the Bali Tourism Board have held meetings with officials from the Central Government to expedite the commencement of all recovery projects.
As a Matter of Course: The Bali Nirwana Golf Club
Asia Golf Monthly Again Names Le Méridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort as Asia's Best Golf Resort.
The Nirwana Bali Golf Club and Le Méridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort has again been crowned "Asia's Best" by the prestigious Asia Golf Monthly Magazine.
The selection, determined by votes cast by the magazine's international readership, has seen the 278-room seaside resort adjacent to a championship Greg Norman golf course voted "Best Golf Resort in Asia" for 2005, according to results just released by the publication.
Commenting on the recognition, Dietmar Kielnhofer, General Manager, Le Méridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to have received such prestigious recognition again. It is fantastic for the resort and in addition for Bali at this time. It is also gratifying that this is a testament to the commitment of our entire staff at the resort to guests' satisfaction.”
The 18-hole Greg Normandesigned golf course is among Asia's most visually spectacular courses. The 72-par course features holes carved through terraced rice paddies and winding creeks. The site's natural features are preserved while creating some of golf's most dramatic holes and breathtaking vistas along the shoreline of the Indian Ocean and, in the distance, Bali's fabled Pura Tanah Lot.
Located 45 minutes from Bali's International Airport, in addition to outstanding golf the resort also offers other extensive recreational facilities, 278 luxurious guest rooms including suites and private villas, a full spa, a children's club, as well as meeting and banquet facilities.
Indonesian Official Tourism Targets Tumbled in 2005 – Missing the Mark by 18.61%
Total foreign tourist arrivals for Indonesia dropped 8.23% in 2005, totaling 4.88 million as compared to the 5.32 million tourists arrivals achieved in 2004. The disappointing results, due in part to the October 1, 2005 terror attack in Bali, also call into question the management of the National tourism product and overly optimistic targets of 6 million visitors still being championed by the Minister of Tourism and Culture as late as August of last year. [See: Jero's Optimistic He'll Meet Tourism Targets].
Arrival results that were 18.61% below target translated into a more than US$1 billion shortfall in much needed foreign exchange that wasn't generated by Indonesia’s crippled travel industry in 2005.
Shorter Length of Stay
Equally concerning are reports from the National Bureau of Statistics (BPS) showing that the length of stay for tourists is declining nationally from 9.47 days in 2004 to 9.05 days in 2005, a drop of -4.44%. Despite the shorter length of stay in Indonesia by foreign visitors, the BPS reports that the average expenditure per visitor increased 0.26% to US$ 904 per tourist.
A Bleak December
The impact of the October 1, 2005 terror attack in Bali came home to roost in December 2005 when arrivals nationwide declined -25.04% compared to the same month one year before. Bali's arrivals for December 2005 declined an even more dramatic -36.98%, as compared to December 2004.
Nearly 1,000 Pair of Used Eyeglasses Now Being Used to Help Balinese See a Better Day.
Hundreds of Balinese will have free access to clearer vision, thanks to generous donors who recently contributed unwanted, used eyeglasses to the ongoing "I Can See Clearly" community drive.
Launched in October 2005 to collect used eyeglasses, the effort has netted nearly 1,000 donated units for The John Fawcett Foundation/Yayasan Kemanusiaan Indonesia (YKI). Donations were shipped, posted and hand carried by year-end visitors to Bali arriving from around the world, while local residents scoured drawers for out-of-date spectacles.
Once received, all donated eyeglasses are sorted according to usability. Of the recent donations, about 60 percent were deemed usable, a high ratio according to the foundation’s optometry workers. An optometry technician grades the lenses and standard lenses are retained, while non-standard lenses are removed and replaced with standard ones.
For poor Balinese farmers or school children in remote villages, good vision care is often a luxury. YKI routinely conducts free vision checks among local schools and through mass village screenings. A surprisingly large percentage of people screened are identified and lined up as candidates for cataract surgery provided by the Foundation. Many of those screened have vision impairments which can be aided with donated eyeglasses reworked by the foundations optometrists. These patients may choose frames from the donated stock. Processed glasses are immediately available to benefit patients—and at no cost to the recipient.
Send Us Your Used Spectacles
Used or unwanted eyeglasses or frames are continually accepted at designated points around the island, including:
A Round of New Appointments in Bali’s Tourism Industry Mark the Start to 2006.
2006 is destined to be a year of many changes if the slew of new appointments marking the year's start are any indication of things to come.
All Seasons Resort
Popular Bali travel veteran Kaharuddin Salamun, more generally known as "Kahar," closed out 2005 by bidding good-bye to his appointment as Resident Manager at Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Country Club to take up the top job at the newly-opened All Seasons Resort Legian Bali - the newest addition to the fast-growing stable of Accor branded properties in Indonesia.
Kahar has a distinguished track record of over 20 years in the Nation's hotel industry including period with Sheraton, Nikko and Le Meridien.
La Traverna Bali Hotel
La Taverna Bali Hotel, located on Bali's Sanur Beach, have announced the appointment of Roberto Bogni as Executive Chef.
A native of Italy, Roberto graduated from Senior School of Cooking in Varese, Italy. His Asian career commenced with the Lotus Restaurant Group in 1999 before joining The Maccaroni Club in Kuta.
Bali International Medical Center
Bali International Medical Center (BIMC) have appointed Mr. I Wayan Sudana to a promotional role for Bali's international-standard medical care facility. Working as Sales & Marketing Manager, Sudana will have the job of increasing world-wide awareness for the multi-storey facility offering emergency medical care, out patient care, hospitalization services for up to ten-bed, emergency ambulance services, pathology and laboratory services, pharmacy and a fully-equipped radiology department.
Prior to joining BIMC, Sudana acquired more than 20 years experience working in 7 countries in the tourism and hospitality industry. His varied career has included assignments with Club Med both in Indonesia and abroad, Le Meridien, Hyatt Corporation, Ramada Hotels and Dai-ichi Hotels.
In addition to his native Indonesian and Balinese, Sudana is also a fluent speaker of English and Japanese.
Meliá Bali Villas & Spa Resort
The General Manager of Meliá Bali Villas & Spa Resort, Alfonso Romero has announced a number of changes and new promotions in his property's Sales & Marketing Department.
PICHAI VISUTRIRATANA has joined the property as Director of Sales & Marketing. A veteran member of the Meliá team, Pichai has held sales and marketing roles at the Meliá Hua Hin, in Bangkok and the Meliá Hanoi.
Before joining to Meliá Bali, Pichai was the Director of Sales & Marketing in Nai Lert Park Bangkok, Raffles International Hotel.
WAYAN SUKAARTA joined Meliá Bali Villas & Spa Resort in September 2005 as Director of Sales in charge of Wholesaler markets. "Suka" is assisting the Director of Sales & Marketing. Prior work experience in the hotel industry includes stints with Holiday Inn Resort Balihai, Aston Resort & Spa, InterContinental Resort Bali and Sheraton Laguna Nusa Dua.
SHARON LEE - who has worked for the past 12 years for Meliá Bali Villas & Spa Resort, has been promoted as the Vice President of Sales Sol Meliá Asia Pacific. Sharon's new responsibilities will be to ensure all corporate guidelines are complied with in the sales and marketing area. She will continue to be based in Bali in her new assignment.
Sheraton Laguna Nusa Dua
Sheraton Laguna Nusa Dua have announced the appointment of Nick Porter to the Sales and Marketing Department. Mr Porter takes over from Janet McNab.
Porter will also assume the responsibilities of Assistant Executive Manager under the newly appointed General Manager, Mr Frank Beck.
Hailing originally from the United Kingdom, Porter has spent 11 years in Asia. His last appointment was at the Sheraton Perdana Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia as Director of Sales and Marketing. Porter has worked for Starwood Hotels and Resorts since 2000, including the position of Director of Sales and Marketing at the Sheraton Chengdu Lido Hotel, Chengdu, China.
He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Chinese and East Asian Studies.
Ogoh-Ogoh Festival in Sanur February 23-24, 2006
Substantial Prizes Expected to Draw Colorful Float Entries From Across Bali.
More than Rp. 32.4 million (approximately US$ 4,470) in prizes will be on offer at the first-of-its-kind Ogoh-Ogoh competition to be held in Sanur Village Community February 23-24, 2006.
Traditionally held in conjunction with Balinese New Year's celebrations on Nyepi Eve, this year's stand-alone special celebration will see larger-than-life floats of colorful Ogoh-Ogoh monsters carried through the streets on the shoulders of young men wishing to prove that their physical endurance and float-making capabilities excel those of any neighboring group.
Rules require that each presentation must involve the active participation
of an entire community of at least 80 people. Each entry will make a grand entrance to a main stage where each Ogoh-Ogoh must "perform" for a required 12 minutes accompanied by village dancers and a gamelan orchestra.
Rules announced for this year's competition allow Ogoh-Ogoh artists free reign in designing their floats stipulating that their final products may resemble humans, animals or battles between mythical gods and beast.
The festival will commence on each of the two days at 3:00 p.m. and run through the evening hours.
The Ogoh-Ogoh Festival is jointly sponsored by the City of Denpasar Government, the Foundation for Sanur Development and Bali TV.
Adam Air on the Eve of an Expansion?
Visit by Top Qantas Executives to Adam Air in Jakarta Fuels Rumors that Qantas May be Shopping for a Share in the Indonesian Budget Carrier.
Anticipating the planned deregulation of cargo and passenger rules among ASEAN member airlines, Australia's Qantas is reportedly eyeing a share in Indonesia's Adam Air.
Owned by PT Adam Sykconnection Airlines, the budget carriers President Director Adam Suherman confirmed that both Qantas's CEO Geoff Dixon and CFO Peter Gregg recently paid an extended call on Adam Air during a visit to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.
While Qantas is remaining essentially mum on its plans for the Indonesian carrier, Suherman told the press that Qantas has expressed an interest in a 30% share in the airline while Adam Air is only prepared to sell 20% to the overseas carrier. Indonesian law currently limits to 49% the foreign ownership share in Indonesian-owned carriers.
Fast growing and ambitious, Adam Air currently operates 20 aircraft flying to 39 destinations in the region and have annoounced plans to increase their armada to 40 planes by the end of 2006.
Various regional business press reports have also suggested that Adam Air may sell shares on the Singapore stock exchange in 2008.
A Shorter Length of Stay
Shorter Stays in Bali Equal Fewer Room Nights and Less Spending.
The Secretary-General of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Agung Suryawan Wiranatha told the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia that the current slump in visitors to Bali has been compounded further by shorter lengths of stay on the island and lower levels of spending.
A noted academician from Bali's Udayana University, Suryawan estimated that average length-of-stay for Bali foreign visitors are down from 10 to 8-9 days and the corresponding average expenditure of each visitor has shrunk from US$1,000 to US$ 800.
Although daily arrival numbers at Bali's airport approached 4,000 during the holiday period of the last week of January, daily arrivals are averaging closer to 2,000 visitors per day, down from high season arrival rates of 5,000. As a result, hotel occupancies are depressed on the island with many major hotels reporting occupancy level of around 30% or lower.
Suryawan told the press that the BTB is intensifying its program of inbound familiarization trips for the press, travel agents and wholesalers. In addition, BTB is mounting a number of overseas missions and trade shows targeting key inbound markets overseas.
Will You Be My Valentine?
A Heartfelt Welcome for Those Landing at Bali's Airport on Valentine's Day, Tuesday, February 14th, 2006.
International Visitors touching down in Bali during the day on Tuesday, February 14, 2006, can expect to receive an even warmer then usual welcome at Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Part of a 3-day celebration of art and culture organized by the Bali Classic Centre (BCC) at their newly opened facility in Mas near Ubud, Balinese greeters in traditional costumes will present "Valentine" flowers and small souvenirs to foreign arrivals from morning until late afternoon in the airport's arrival hall.
The welcome at Bali's airport will kick-off three days of traditional arts, handicraft and cooking presentations open to the public at Ubud's newly-opened Bali Classic Centre (BCC) February 14-17, 2006. The BCC is located in Banjar Nyuh Kuning, Desa Mas in Ubud in the general vicinity of the Bali Spirit Hotel.
Gone, But Not Forgotten
Conrad Bali Resort & Spa Workers Join Forces to Remember 107 Who Died on Pan Am Flight No. 812 in Bali on April 22, 1974.
More than 30 years ago, on April 22, 1974, all 107 passengers on board Pan American flight PA-812 from Hong Kong to Sydney perished while the Boeing 707 was making a scheduled intermediate stop at Bali. The plane struck a mountain in Bali's northwest when the pilots misread a malfunctioning Automatic Direction Finder (ADF).
Shortly after the crash, a Balinese-style monument was erected in the South, on the beach at Padang Galak, inscribed with the names of the 107 Australian, German, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Swedish, Philippine, American and Chinese nationals who lost their lives in what remains the worst aviation accident in Bali's history.
Over the intervening four decades, the monument has suffered a gradual decline resulting from the encroachments of the now-defunct Taman Festival and a benign neglect born of the passing years and fading memories.
Prompted by the recollection that among those who perished on that fateful night in 1974 was Maurice Raymond, the Corporate Vice-President for Food & Beverage of Hilton International, a group of Raymond's modern day "Hilton colleagues" from the Conrad Bali Resort & Spa recently descended on the memorial to undertake a general clean-up and make Balinese offerings for the peaceful repose of the air tragedy victims.
With perhaps the exception of Conrad's Ruth Zuckerman, most of the 40 Conrad Bali Resort employees who participated in the clean-up and prayers were not yet born when the original tragedy occurred. Yet, on an island where life and family are all important and viewed in "cyclical" terms, those who participated in the rejuvenation of the once-neglected shrine have pledged to look after the memorial and ensure that prayers and offering are now regularly made at a hallowed corner of Padang Galak beach.
Natural Flowing - An Exhibition by Made Wianta
Balinese Artistic Icon Made Wianta in an Exhibition of Paintings, Hand-Painted Ceramics & Glass at Jenggala Art Gallery February 17 – April 20, 2006.
Made Wianta is a distinguished multidimensional artist with extensive international recognition not only as a painter, but also as a committed Balinese artist who has developed themes on social and humanitarian issues through his installation art, poetry and musical presentations. Born in Tabanan in 1949 and formally educated in fine arts in Denpasar and Yogyakarta before embarking on an artistic sojourn in Europe in the 1970s, Wianta has a voracious appetite for every form of artistic expression he encounters - embracing every media, including painting, batik, music, theatre, dance, poetry, calligraphy and installation work – as means to express his rich and ever-changing artistic temperament.
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Wianta has created more than 14,000 works of art which have been exhibited at prestigious galleries and museums internationally. His exhibitions include 54 solo exhibitions and 27 group exhibitions. He has received 4 awards of appreciation and recognition from art institutions in Indonesia, Italy and USA, clearly establishing Made Wianta as one of most respected and influential artists in Indonesia today.
In recent years, his focus has increasingly turned to social issues, often donating the proceeds of his exhibitions to assist the less fortunate members of Indonesian society.
"Natural Flowing" - Wianta's latest solo exhibition at Jenggala Art Gallery, sees the Artist's boundless artistic energy and unquenchable need for creativity take form in paintings, ceramic and glass. Working freely in ceramic shapes and hand painting Jenggala ceramic and glass items, Wianta's portrays the journeys to different places as seen from the air. Capturing observations and perspectives obtained from aircraft windows on his frequent world travels; for Wianta the earth acquires a new perspective. Mesmerized by the light, dew, rain, snow, ocean, beach, lagoon, meadow and trees – each represents a different nuance presenting deeper meanings and a fuller appreciation of life.
As his latest exhibition demonstrates, Wianta's life-long pursuit of everything and anything that touches his heart and awakens his deepest emotions continues. His art is a series of snapshots of moments in a life lived to its fullests; dedicated to self-exploration and learning.
Are the results ephemeral? Wianta would not argue the point; on this level, at least, art most closely imitates life.
"Natural Flowing" - a solo exhibition of paintings, hand-painted ceramics and glass by Made Wianta from February 17 – April 20, 2006 at the Jenggala Art Gallery on Jalan Uluwatu II, Jimbaran, Bali.
For more information call ++62-(0)361-703311.
Multi Bella! Bella Singaraja
InterContinental Bali Resort Opens Island's Latest Fine Dining Venue.
InterContinental Resort Bali has formally re-launched its Bella Singaraja Restaurant and, if the official opening party on Monday, January 30, 2006, is any indication, it is destined to become one of Bali's most talked-about fine-dining venues.
Opulent without being too ostentatious, Bella Singaraja is accessed over a foot-bridge spanning a lotus pond leading to a formal marbled vestibule. Just beyond awaits the restaurant itself, replete with comfortable and intimate seating in a room accented in rich hues of red and gold. To the side of the main dining area is an open kitchen alcove, where a multi-talented brigade prepares classic Italian cuisine infused, but not confused, by Asian culinary accents. A large, private dining room is also available providing a private salon atmosphere enclosed in a glass conservatory, allowing diners an air-conditioned atmosphere surrounded by the Resort's rich tropical gardens and the nearby adjacent seaside.
The a la carte menu includes hot and cold antipasti, appetizers, salads, soups, pasta and generous premium meat and seafood selections. The pasta is made on the premises, as are the fresh gelati ice creams included on the dessert menu.
As just mentioned, the kitchen brigade is truly "multi-talented." This was aptly demonstrated on opening night when the entire serving and cooking staff surrounded our table forming an operatic chorus in support of an aria, masterfully performed by one of the restaurant's lady chefs. A soprano of considerable voice and aplomb, be sure to catch her "act" before she leaves the kitchen forever and goes on tour.
Singing women, a luxurious setting, good food . . .a delightfully decadent formula made whole by Bella Singaraja's fully stocked wine cellars which is home to one of the Island's most complete selection of wines from around the world. Cork-sniffing oenephiles will be in their element when they encounter the resident Cellar Master who seems happiest when leading an impromptu table-side wine tasting.
When asked the inspiration for naming the restaurant Bella Singaraja, the Sommelier kept my glass full while he related an elaborate and involved story of a local Balinese maiden from Singaraja, in north Bali, who fell in love with an Italian adventurer who subsequently lost his life at sea. As the story goes, the forlorn widow, Bella, spent her remaining days keeping vigil for her lost love on the shores of Jimbaran Bay. Perhaps it was the ample quantities of Cabernet he poured while sharing the tale, but the story like the wine seemed good vintage to me.
Fully air-conditioned and able to accommodate only 60 diners, Bella Singaraja is open only for dinner. And, given the enthusiastic response from the diners present on opening night, reservations might be a very good idea.