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"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."
Local University Students Pay Ultimate Price for Ignoring Warnings and Climbing Lombok Peak without Proper Food and Clothing.
Seven hikers lost their lives while climbing Lombok's fabled Mt. Rinjani during the first week of March 2007. The seven, all Indonesian students from a local university, ignored officials warnings that closed the mountain track since January because of inclement weather conditions. The students are believed to have perished on either March 10th or 12th.
The students reportedly commenced the trek without sufficient food provisions or clothing suitable to the harsh winds and cold temperatures they encountered. Their bodies were found at Pelawangan, five hours short of Rinjani's 3,720 summit. Rescuers speculate that ill-fated climbers may have been trying to reach natural hot springs near Pelawangan in a futile attempt to withstand the cold temperatures on the mountain.
The bodies of the students had to be carried by rescuers down a nine-hour trek from Pelawangan to the nearest road access in the Sembalun district.
One of Indonesia's highest volcanoes, Lombok's Mt. Rinjani is a pilgrimage site for many Lombok natives who believe its crater lake to be a place of sacred significance.
Lombok Island is Bali's nearest major island to the East, located some 35 kilometers miles from Bali at their nearest points.
Tour operators in Bali and Lombok offer tours and treks on Mt. Rinjani led by experienced guides when local weather condiions permit.
Nyoman is an Island
Editorial: Fame for Sale? If Indonesia Sold the World's 'Wannabes' Naming Rights to its 6,702 Unnamed Islands We Could Generate Billions!
Indonesia is an island nation. In fact, according to the Government who have people who keep track of such things, the Republic actually has a total of 17,504 islands, counted at low tide.
Quick, Quick, Think of Some Names
Recently there's been something of a panic in the national corridors of power when it was realized that 38.3% or 6,702 of all the Country's islands were nameless. Making matters worse, legal experts tell us that Indonesia's failure to name all of its islands could be prejudicial to national interest in future jurisdictional disputes brought before international courts. Fail to name all your sand bars and islands and face the risk of losing them when some slick-talking legal eagle uses your "failure to name" to prove neglect, justifying hegemonistic moves by neighboring countries. In any case, that's the argument offered by the lawyers who number islands among their clients.
While such thinking might sound funny on the surface, or at least on sea-level, the fact is that this arguments was used against Indonesian territorial interests in recent territorial disputes with Malaysia for sovereignty over Sipadan and Ligitan islands.
In order to help strengthen national claims over all of Indonesia's 6,702 unnamed islands, a special "island naming" task force has been established under the Home Affairs Minister Moh Ma'ruf to quickly provide the missing names and file notifications with international bodies and agencies necessary to secure sovereignty. To make sure all the Country's islands get named, funding has been allocated to name unnamed islands most at risk in Indonesia's border regions - including Riau province (394 islands); Papua or West Irian (968 island); North Maluku Islands (631 island); East Nusa Tenggara Islands (685 islands); and the Bangka-Belitung Islands (639 islands).
A Better Alternative - Pay to Name an Island?
A recent report by Forbes Magazine identifying a growing number of millionaires and billionaires worldwide, many of whom now live in Asia, suggests that Indonesia could solve its lack of island names and perhaps retire a large portion of its national debt - all in one fell swoop.
Let's suppose, just for a moment, an enterprising bureaucrat possessed of an entrepreneurial spirit seriously considers our suggestion to extend 100-year naming rights to millionaires eager to leave their mark on the world by having their name affixed to an Indonesian island. Because all island are not created equal - depending on size, location and other attributes the right to name an island after yourself, a loved one or your recently deceased Cocker Spaniel may have a varying price tag. For instance, putting your name on a prime quality, idyllic, uninhabited tropical isle could cost, say, US$1.5 million while putting your moniker on a rocky outcrop just barely visible at high tide might go for as little as a few hundred thousand dollars. Apply the law of averages and assume that Indonesia gets a cool million for each of its unnamed islands and you end up with US$6.7 billion - a hefty piece of change by any standard and certainly enough for having to put up with names like Pulau Bill Gates, Donald Trump Atoll and Warren Buffet Lagoon for the next century. And while we're at it, we might as well offer the truly-rich convenient renewal options for another hundred years at the same price, corrected, of course, for inflation over the intervening hundred years.
Lucky purchasers could be issued with an attractive certificate issued by the Indonesian Department of Home Affairs confirming the location of the newly-named island complete with detailed GPS coordinates and a satellite picture courtesy of NASA.
Visit Your Namesake
But since we're on a roll, let's not stop at simple naming rights! The Indonesian Department of Culture and Tourism could be encouraged to offer luxury cruises to the super-rich wishing to spend a few days visiting the island bearing their name. The additional much-needed foreign exchange this might generate has to be worth a coupe of extra billion.
But, as a final precautionary thought, we'll probably have to ban the citizens of any country sharing a border with Indonesia from purchasing the rights to name any of our islands. Imagine what some clever lawyers might do with a slip-up in that area in a future legal battle over island sovereignty.
Interested? Send Us Your Check!
We admit this idea is something of a long-shot, one requiring intensive lobbying with the Indonesian House of Representatives. So if Bill, Donald and Warren are seriously interested in this offer of tropical immortality we urge you guys not to delay and send us full payment in advance now while we get busy arguing your case before Indonesian legislators.
Nyoman is and Island
Nyoman was his Name
Merrily We Roll Along
Bali by the Numbers: February Joins January as Two of the Best Months for Foreign Arrivals in Bali's History. But What About Length of Stay?
February foreign tourist arrivals just released show that 2007 is setting a record-setting pace for foreign tourist arrivals to Bali. February's total arrivals clocked in at 118,275 - a full +58.91% ahead of February 2006 (74,430), when arrivals were still devastated by the October 2005 terrorist attack. By any standard, however, February 2007 set new heights for tourist arrivals exceeding by +8.61% the previous "best February" recorded in 2001 (108,897).
Aggregate arrivals for January and February totalled 227,779 - that's +47.73% more than the same two months just one year before (154,151).
As the accompanying chart on balidiscovery.com shows, the 2006/2007 October-February performance following the October 2005 terror attack is both stronger and positively steeper when compared to the 2003/2004 October-February performance after the earlier October 2002 attack.
Japan and Australia
The results for February 2007 also revealed the following about Bali's #1 and #2 inbound markets of Japan and Australia:
. Japan appears to have recovered completely and moved into positive growth area with February 2007 (28,580) arrivals up +86.15% over the same month last year (15,353) and +28.74% better than February arrivals in 2005 (22,200).
. Australia is on the rebound but still has miles to go before it returns to it former salad days. February 2007 arrivals (9,498) improved +62.41% over February 2006 (5,848), but were still down -42.78% when compared to the less terror-affected February of 2005 (16,599).
But What About Length of Stay
The strong arrival figures for January and February seem inconsistent with soft occupancy rates reported by many Bali hotels and attractions operators. Worthy of further study are the following areas which may serve to explain this seeming anomaly:
. Despite national tourism figures suggesting an average-length-of-stay of slightly more than 9 days, Bali's length-of-stay appears to be substantially shorter. This fact is supported by the overwhelming preponderance of 7-day visas-on-arrival as opposed to 30-day visa purchased at Bali's airport.
. A substantially shorter length-of-stay, as compared to just 4 or 5 years ago when European and American travellers played a larger role in Bali tourism, means Bali must now generate two to three times more visitors to achieve the same number of "bed nights" it enjoyed in the past.
. Recent surveys have also suggested that as many as 20% of Bali's visitors are now staying in "private villas" - a fact that would have a strong negative impact on Hotel occupancies, tax revenues and local restaurant billings.
Qba by the beach
Latin Music and Rhythms on the Beach at The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali April 1 - 30, 2007.
Bali's Westin Resort is going "Latin" for the month of April with a talented group of South American musicians scheduled to perform for the entire month at the Resort's beachside Ikan Restaurant.
Direct from Columbia, the Tropicaribe Band are a group of well-known performers with a repertoire that includes Merengue, Cha-cha, Bolero, Rumba, Bachata, Bossa Nova, Columbia traditional melodies interspersed with a selection of songs from the current Billboard charts.
The Tropicaribe Band is comprised of:
. Jhon Franco - Voice & Congas. A graduate in Music from the University of Salles, he has performed in his native Columbia as well as India, Thailand, Malaysia, and the PRC.
. Diana Castro - Voice, Ampana, Clave and Maracas. Born in Boca De Monte Granada Meta, Columbia, Diana is also a graduate in music.
. Eider Ospina - Bass, Guitar and Keyboard. A graduate in music from La Nacional University of Music, he has performed across Columbia and Asia over the past 5 years.
. Milton Rojas - Piano/Keyboard and Drums. Born in Bogotá, Milton is a natural Latin musician who provides the syncopation that drives the band.
April 1 - 30, 2007 at The Ikan Restaurant
The Tropicaribe Band is scheduled to appear five nights each week from April 1 through April 20, 2007 at the Ikan Restaurant starting from 8:30 p.m..
For more information and reservations, call The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali at ++62-(0)361-771906.
Indonesia Press Reports Signal Government Poised to Close Down Accident-Ridden Adam Air.
A page-one story in the Jakarta Post on Saturday, March 17, 2007 and a related article published in the previous day's edition of Kompas, have both signaled an imminent announcement from the Government that may spell the end of one of Indonesia's new low-cost air carriers.
Quoting Budi Mulyawan Suyitno, the Director General of Air Communications who also serves as the Vice-Chairman of the National Evaluation Team for Transportation Safety and Security (EKKT), the Government has reportedly decided to "liquidate" a yet-to-be-formally-named airline because of its "frequent accidents and lack of discipline in the care of spare parts."
While officials declined to specifically name the airline destined for the chopping block; Cheppy Hakim, the Chairman of EKKT, did say the Airline which was most often involved in air mishaps would be the "main focus" of any "liquidation" decision.
"Liquidation," in this context, would mean the withdrawal of the airline's operating licenses effectively closing down the subject carrier.
Adam Air Under the Spotlight
The Jakarta Post coverage adopted a more direct approach, openly suggesting that "Adam Air was bracing for possible closure" and quoted an anonymous official of the Airline as saying Adam Air was "prepared for the worst."
Adam Air lost an airplane with 102 souls on board on a flight between Surabaya and Manado on January 1, 2007, and then managed to break into two the fuselage of a B737-300 during a hard landing at Surabaya on February 21, 2007. No deaths or injuries were reported in the latter incident.
If Adam Air is closed as a result of the announcement expected during the week of March 18, 2007, it will offer concrete proof of a promised tougher approach to commercial air safety being adopted by the former Air Force Chief who was appointed to head the EKKT, set up last January by the Government.
Already suffering from reduced passenger loads as the public shies away from flying on Adam Air, the latest page-one speculation on the carrier's imminent shut down can only further exacerbate its problem of trying to fill empty passenger seats.
Grand Welcome Planned as Qatar Airways Commences Four Flights a Week to Bali on March 25, 2007.
One of the most significant developments in efforts to build Bali's tourism takes place on Sunday, March 25, 2007 with the touchdown of Qatar Airways Flight QR624 at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport.
On that date, Qatar Airways (QR) luxurious Airbus A300-600 will disembarked up to 250 passengers flying to Bali from QR's network of 72 destinations worldwide via the airlines state-of-the-art hub and headquarters in Doha, Qatar.
The Bali Schedule
While the Airline's complete schedule and on-line booking system are available at [Qatar Airways' Website], details of its inaugural four flights a week service to Bali are:
Denpasar (Bali) to Doha
. Mondays - QR624 departs Bali at 03:35 a.m. arriving in Doha the same day at 10:05 a.m. with an intermediate stop in Kuala Lumpur.
. Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays - QR624 departs Bali at 00:05 hours arriving in Doha the same day at 06:30 hours with an intermediate stop in Kuala Lumpur.
Doha to Denpasar (Bali)
. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays QR624 departs Doha at 23:20 hours arriving in Bali the following day at 16:05 hours with an intermediate stop in Kuala Lumpur.
Note: All times listed are local times. Schedule subject to change.
A Special Welcoming Week
Among the special activities planned to mark the commencement of service by Qatar Airways to Bali are:
. A special welcome for Qatar Airway's second flight on March 28, 2007 which is scheduled to bring the Airline's Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker to Bali.
. A special welcoming ceremony at the Airport on March 28, 2007.
. A gala welcoming party on the evening of Wednesday, March 28, 2007, at a local hotel in Bali hosted by the airline for VIPs, press, the Bali travel industry and other dignitaries.
. A mid-day press conference led by Akbar Al Baker on mid-day on Thursday, March 29, 2007.
Warm Welcome from Bali's Government
Bali's Governor, Dewa Made Beratha, has enthusiastically welcomed Qatar Airways new service to Bali, saying: "I am pleased with the (coming) March operations of Qatar Airways. This airline will help Bali bring in tourists from Europe and the Middle East to Bali."
Meanwhile, Bali's Chief of Tourism, Gede Nurjaya, has echoed the Governor's statement by pointing out that Qatar Airways can be expected to carry more than 3,000 tourists each month to Bali.
More on Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways is one of only four airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways' cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fourth year running in 2006 and second best worldwide following a survey of more than 12 million passengers worldwide.
The airline's fleet will more than double in size over the next 10 years to 110 aircraft. Qatar Airways plans to acquire 60 Airbus A350s and 22 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter beginning in November 2007.
The airline is also a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 'super jumbos' with four aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2009 to coincide with the opening of the New Doha International Airport.
Shown on balidiscovery.com is Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways.
Bali Weather Forecast: Snow Expected
3 Month Long Ice Sculpture and Winter Palace Exhibition Opens at Kuta Galleria Shopping Center.
Organizers of "Bali Bersalju" or "Snowing in Bali" - a 3 month long public exhibition at the Kuta Galleria Shopping Center that opens on March 20, 2007, are expecting as many as 300,000 visitors during the course of the event.
Admission tickets costing between Rp. 30,000 - 50,000 (approximately US$3.25 -US$5.45) will gain entrance into a special constructed ice palace where temperatures will be maintained at a chilling minus 20° Centigrade. Visitors will be given special insulated jackets to ward off the cold while inspecting massive ice carvings depicting famous places and exotic animals. In addition, a continuous snow blizzard and an ice slide are among some of the other attractions in store at the "Snowing in Bali" exhibition in Bali for three months starting from March 20, 2007.
Prior to the "Snowing in Bali" event in Bali similar successful ice-palace exhibitions previously held in Surabaya and Bandung, both drawing over 100,000 paying visitors.
Garuda Load Factors Remain Stabile
Garuda Reports Normal Load Levels Despite the March 7th Yogyakarta Crash. Intercity Trains Experience Surge in Sales.
As recently reported on balidiscovery.com,[See: Adam Air Reaps a Bitter Apple], Indonesian low-cost air carrier Adam Air is suffering low-passenger counts on a number of its routes following a series of air mishaps, including the January 1, 2007 crash in which 102 people perished.
Apparently the flying-public is more prepared to forgive the national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia with the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia reporting that the airline's load factors remain above 85% despite the crash of a Garuda B-737-400 in Yogyakarta on March 7, 2007.
According to the Communication's Chief of Garuda, Pujobroto, there have been no cancellation or delay of flights by the airline that are connected with its recent air disaster in which 22 died.
Garuda's claims to the contrary, PT Kereta Api, who run inter-city trains in Java, told the press that bookings on its business and executive class services have increased 10% following the March 7th air crash. The chief of public relations for the rail system, Akhmad Sujadi, reports that the biggest increase in rail passengers has occurred on the Jakarata-Yogyakarta, Bandung-Yogyakarta, Jakarta-Solo, and the Jakarta-Semarang routes.
Efforts to unravel the cause of the Yogyakarta crash are still underway with surviving passengers and crew being interviewed by police and national transportation safety personnel. The back box of the ill-fated B737-400 that was originally sent to Australia for detailed analysis has now been sent to the Boeing factory in Seattle (USA) after Australian investigators determined the flight-recorder-device was too badly damaged for analysis in Australia.
Indonesian Tourism: Failing to Compete
First Ever Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Ranking Puts Indonesia at #60 Among 124 Countries.
The very first Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report prepared by the World Economic Forum has been published with its overall results presented in summary form at the international travel forum ITB in Berlin on Thursday, March 8, 2007.
An exhaustive survey that compared nations in terms of the factors that make a country attractive to tourism resulted in a hierarchical ranking of 124 countries. Switzerland, Austria and Germany finished in the top 3 countries for tourism with Angola, Burundi and Chad occupying the lowest 3 rankings in the list of 124 nations. Also finishing among the top 10 nation (in order of appearance) were Iceland, the U.S.A., Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Luxembourg and the U.K..
In determining how a country stacks up in tourism terms, the World Economic Forum looked at the following factors considered to serve as the drivers of a destination's tourism: policy rules and regulations; environmental regulation; safety and security; health and hygiene; prioritization of travel and tourism; Air transport infrastructure; ground transport infrastructure; tourism infrastructure; Information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure; price competitiveness; human capital; national tourism perception; and natural and cultural resources.
Relying on publicly available data, observations from Travel & Tourism experts and independent opinion surveys the final results are intended to evaluate the "factors and polices that make it attractive to develop the Travel & Tourism sector in different countries."
Air Paradise Says They Will be Fly Again in May, If They Can Find a Plane to Lease.
Despite earlier announcements by Air Paradise International (API) executives that they would resume operations in March 2007 [See: Bali's Air Paradise to Fly Again in March 2007] reports in the Indonesian-language Bali Post now say API may take wing in May 2007.
API Director, Oka Semadi, told the press that the only remaining hurdle was finding a suitable aircraft available for charter. According to Semadi, "manpower - including cabin crew and even pilots are not a problem."
Although the operating license from the Government for API is technically in revocation due to the extended period of non-operation, Indonesian civil aviation authorities are withholding a final suspension of operating license for API and 10 other grounded national carriers in order to provide every opportunity for the companies to recoup and resume flight operations.
In order to forestall a final close-down of API, the Company's Directors are filing periodic progress reports with the Department of Civil Aviation, updating the Government on their continue efforts to restart their business.
Seeking Boeing 737-400s
Oka told the Bali Post that API is seeking lease opportunities for a Boeing 737-400 because of the fuel efficiencies offered by that model and the ready accessibility of technical support in Indonesia for the type.
Unfortunately, B-737-400s available for lease in the current market are seemingly few and, as a result, hard to locate.
Wet Versus Dry Lease
API has only been able to identify B-737-400s available for wet lease - a short term lease agreement in which the aircraft registration remains unchanged and all crew, insurance costs remain the responsibility of the aircraft owner. API is seeking a longer-term dry lease contract for a B-737-400 that would permit a change in livery with API assuming responsibility for insurances, crews, maintenance local registration.
Emphasis Will Remain on Safety
Oka underlined that when API finally does resume flight service they will maintain their uncompromising commitment to passenger and flight safety.
Despite a promise to seriously consider API's proposal, no further word has been issued by Bali's Government on the proposed buy-in.
Garuda Extends New Zealand's And Brisbane's Isolation
Resumption of Auckland-Brisbane-Bali Service by Garuda Now on Indefinite Hold.
Garuda Indonesia have announced that the temporary suspension of service to Brisbane and New Zealand will continue indefinitely.
As reported on balidiscovery.com [See: Garuda Plans to Shake Up its Route System, Again] the Indonesian National Carrier is currently re-assessing the viability and profitability of all its domestic and international routes in order to best use its current armada of aircraft.
When Garuda originally withdrew its services in 2006 on the Auckland-Brisbane-Bali route a lack of aircraft caused by the need to defer planes to service the Haj pilgrimage market was cited as one of the causes for the decision, despite Brisbane's position at that time as the second busiest port-of-call for Garuda in Australia.
With the latest announcement, previously intentions to resume Brisbane and New Zealand service on March 26, 2007 are now on indefinite hold.
Garuda have announced their desire to continue to "maintain a presence" in New Zealand by maintaining a sales office in Auckland and the promotion of interline air packages connecting to Garuda flights operating over Sydney.
"We truly regret the inconvenience to our loyal Kiwi customers and will make sure that we uphold our New Zealand presence. To service continuing demand from travelers from New Zealand to destinations on the Garuda Indonesia network, we will continue to offer competitive fares with a number of airlines via Sydney and Melbourne," said Ucok Cemerlang, New Zealand General Manager for Garuda.
"We would like to thank our loyal and valued industry partners and regular travelers for their support over the past 18 years and look forward to the time we can resume flights from New Zealand," Cemerlang added.
A Swinging Bunch of Kids
100 Kids Make Giant Racket at Bali's Canggu Club Tennis Academy.
More than 100 children attended the recent opening of the Canggu Club's new Tennis Center demonstrating widespread support the launch of Indonesia Tennis Federation's (PELTI) accredited tennis training program operated by the Club's resident Pro-Coach Robbert Wille.
The Tennis Academy offered children in Bali of any playing ability, aged 6-17 years, a free chance to experience the Club's unique Academy Program via a trial clinic.
Children who attended the Clinic learned how to correctly hit balls; gained basic forehand, backhand and serving techniques and skills; ball & racket and stance co-ordination; as well as the basics of the game of tennis and what the Academy Program entails. Children demonstrating natural ability were invited to the Clinic and join the Academy to advance their game, hone their skills and improve their playing levels.
Children who participated in the Clinic were evaluated based on age, ability, level of skill and talent and then invited to sign up to join the Academy's twice-weekly tennis training program of one-hour sessions.
By enrolling in the Club's Tennis Academy Program, talented junior players who are eligible for admission into the prestigious PELTI-Accredited Junior Development Program (JDP) which sponsors 11 training scholarships through by the Canggu Outreach Program (COP) to local children who, because of their financial circumstances, might otherwise not be able to attend the Academy. By select invitation only, these talented young athletes join other members of the Academy to acquire the skills required to compete at an elite level within the junior tennis circuit throughout Asia.
The JDP is an internationally recognised training program held three times a week for two-hours conducted at an intensified playing level. It is run by Canggu Club Director of Tennis, Jimmy Roland, with the Head of Development and Achievement Division, PELTI Bali, Andre Kanginnadhi, and Pro-Coach Robbert Wille.
The 6500 square-meter Tennis Centre offers four state-of-the-art pro-international standard floodlit Tennis courts, comprised of two covered and two uncovered courts, two additional practice half-courts, and two air-conditioned rubber spring cushioned squash courts designed in accordance with International Squash Federation guidelines, as well as a second level viewing balcony, changing/shower rooms, training classrooms and a refreshments area.
Chidren 6-17 years wishing to enrol at the Canggu Club Tennis Academy pay a monthly fee for two one-hour sessions per week of Rp. 440,000 per month (approximately US$48) for Club members and Rp. 565,000 per month (approximately US$62) for non-Members.
To register for the Tennis Academy contact the Canggu Club Tennis Academy Centre or Club Reception on ++62-(0)361-844 6385 or via the email link provided.