Chat to our customer service using Yahoo Messenger!
Click here to download and install Yahoo Messenger
"I would like to thank all at Bali Discovery Tours for providing such great service to Aurora and her passengers. The day was a real success - thanks to the detailed pre-planning from Jack and the team."
Muncipal Officals Claim they are Closing in on Hotels and Resorts Polluting Sanur Beachfronts.
The Indonesian-language DenPost says that five major hotels along Sanur beach have been identified by municipal authorities as polluting nearby waters through the pumping of raw sewage.
Municipal authorities are warning that they are in the final statges of accumulating data on which hotels are responsible for the pollution and will move rapidly and resolutely once all the facts are in hand.
Local authorities in cooperation with local community groups are monitoring the affected beachfronts and the yet-to-be-publicly announced hotels.
According to Brahmaputra, a leading Municipal official charges with enforcing buiilding codes, he will take action without reference to who owns the violating hotels and resorts once all the necessary proof is in hand. Acknowledging that his task is both difficult and hazardous, Brahmaputra pledge to be decisive in his efforts to protect Bali's environment.
Quoted in the local press, Made Mangku a local environmental activist says there are at least 5 major hotels polluting the Sanur beach area with one major hotel pumping overflow sewage directly into drainage ditches.
Is it Safe Yet?
While Waiting for the Results of TSA's Latest Safety Audit, Government Aviation Official Claims Bali is Indonesia's Safest Airport.
Despite the continuing warning in place by America's Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) classifying Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport as falling short on internatonal safety standards, the Indonesian Director General of Civil Aviation at the Department of Transportation, Budhi Muliawan Suyitno told the Indonesian language Bisnis Indonesia that Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport is now in compliance with TSA safety standards.
In fact, according to Suyitno, Bali's airport ranks Number #1 for safety and security among Indonesia's entire list of 25 international air gateways.
According to Suyitno, only Bali's Airport received acknowledgement from the TSA, beating out Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport in terms of safety standards.
A team of TSA Auditors were in Bali during the last week of March 2007 fueling hope that the negative notice about safety at Bali's airport displayed at major airports across the United States may soon be removed.
Call for Direct Sea Cargo Link Bali - Singapore
Bali Exporters Want More Efficient Sea Cargo Link to Singapore Freight Hub.
Bad weather over recent weeks causing the intermitent closure of the Bali-Java ferry crossing have had a negative impact on Bali's export business resulting in missed international shipping connections from the East Java port of Surabaya.
As a result, the Chairman of the the Association of Exporters and Handicraft Producers - Bali (ASEPHI) , Ngurah Citra has called for the establishment of a direct tramper link from Bali's Benoa Harbor to Singapore.
As reported in the Bali Post, Citra claims such a link would eliminate current shipping delays, reduce costs and increase efficiencey for Bali exporters,
Citra estimates an average 90-100 containers travel by land each day from Bali to Surabaya with massive delays of good occuring every time there is an interruption of ferry service between the ports of Gilimanuk and Ketapang. Goods are delayed and Bali exporters are compelled to rent storage sheds for their stranded goods.
According to Citra, goods now shipped via Surabaya are generally destined for Singapore where shipments are consolidated for other international destinations. By intoducing a direct link Bali to Singapore, Bali exports would automatically become more competitive in the world market.
Dramatic Increase in Bali's HIV-AIDS Infections
High School Students Among Those Included in Rapid Rise of New Cases in Bali.
The Indonesian-language Bali Post reports that the cases of HIV-AIDS in Bali now totals at least 4,000, a 33% increase from the estimated 3,000 cases reported in 2004.
According to an Island health official, 67% percent of the known cases of HIV/AIDS in Bali are linked to sexual transmission while the remaining 33% are due to infections caused by intraveneous drug users.
The head of the Health Services for Bali also reported some 60 cases of HIV-AIDS among Bali's high school students.
Garuda Ordering More Planes
25 New Generations 737-800s on Order with First Planes Set to Arrive in May 2009.
Bisnis Indonesia reports that Garuda Indonesia has confirmed that they will soon order 25 next generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft with delivery to start in May of 2009.
The financial director of the Airline, Alex M.T. Maneklaran, told the press that Garuda has signed a contract with Boeing at the end of 2005 and has paid an initial deposit of US$23 million against the new plane order.
"Prices are still in negotiation, but the current market price is around US$35 -$40 million," explained Maneklaran.
The new planes' delivery will be phased beginning in May 2009 until February 2012 with an initial 8 planes due for delivery in 2009.
According to Maneklaran, the financing of the new aricraft will be facilitated through a consortium controlled lease agreement or via bprrpwings.
Improving Financial Condition
The Airline's Finance Chief reported good company performance for the period January-February 2007 with a booked profit of Rp. 131 billion (approximately US$14.23 million), a 175% improvement over the same period in 2006 when the airline lost US$18.9 million.
Garuda carried 1.37 million passengers on its international and domestic services during the first two months of 2007.
5 Star Welcome to Bali for 5 Star Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways Passengers, Crew and Passengers Recived a Joyous Welcome on Commencement of Four Flights a Week.
On March 28, 2007, the world's fastest growing airline Qatar Airways commenced service to the world's most popular tropical holiday destination, making Bali its 75th worldwide port-of-call. With an initial schedule of four flights per week operating to the Airline's hub in Doha, airline executives are hoping to match the seven daily flights now operated to Jakarta by introducing daily flights to Bali once new aircraft on order become available.
While the initial flight flown by Qatar operated on the previous Sunday (March 25th), the official welcoming ceremonies and reception were held three days later on March 28th to permit the Company's Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker to be personally on hand to celebrate the momentous day in Bali tourism.
Reflecting the enthusiastic support of the Balinese people for the new service, a special welcoming ceremony was held shortly after 4 p.m. on Wednesday when QR624 landed on Runway 27 at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport. Leading representatives of the local and national government together with Bali tourism figures were in attendance at a mid afternoon reception held in a Balinese pavilion located just meters away from a special parking bay prepared to welcome the A300-600 aircraft.
As the aircraft rolled to a halt under a fire truck water salute, a gamelan orchestra performed as the red carpet was unfurled to the aircraft's steps and 20 colorful traditional Balinese warriors performed a baris dance on the adjoining tarmac. Escorted by a welcoming reception of regional representatives of the Airline and traditionally dressed attendants holding ceremonial umbrellas, Mr. Al Baker made his was to the reception area where he received a floral welcome.
In a brief ceremony at the airport, Al Baker joined Wardiyatmo, a Senior Advisor to the Minister of Culture and Tourism, in a poignant ceremony marking the day. Each man poured sands collected from their respective lands into a common vessel held by a Balinese youth as the events master of ceremonies underlined how the symbolic mixing of soils from Bali and Doha also spoke of a new found commitment to promote and publicize to the world the rich culture of Bali and the hospitality of the Balinese people to the world via the vast network of Qatar Airways.
Gala Dinner Reception
On Wednesday evening more than 300 invited guests were treated to a lavish welcoming reception hosted by the Airline at the Ritz Carlton Bali, Resort and Spa. In keeping with its reputation as a 5-star airline, the guests were treated to a pre-dinner cocktail reception with free flowing Dom Pérignon and live music. Later, doors openrd to the Resort's Ballroom for an evening of outstanding food and drink and non-stop musical entertainment drawn from across the vast route network of Qatar Airways. This included a virtuoso performance on a classical Arabian lute or Ud by [Anello Capuano], exotic belly dancers, an appearance by the Qatar Airways Indian Cultural group and, to highlight the Airline's newest destination, a special appearance by Bali's own internationally acclaimed recording stars [Saharadja ]
Meeting Akbar Al Baker - CEO, Qatar Airways
In his address at the Gala Dinner on March 28th, Al Baker said: "We look forward to bringing passengers to this tropical paradise from throughout our international network, especially from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Likewise, we anticipate many business travellers will be looking to take advantage of the new Doha to Bali connection."
Al Baker praised the island's tourism sector for its resilience having facing tremendous challenges over the past few years. He expressed delight that Qatar Airways was able to launch flights to the island which, he said, would undoubtedly help bring in tourists from around the world and give the island's tourism industry a huge boost.
In a Thursday press conference, the Chief Executive Officer briefed members of the local and international press about his carrier, providing interesting insights on Bali's newest air connection to the world, including:
. Qatar Airwayswas launched in 1994 with only one aircraft and today operates 57 aircraft.
. According to Al Baker, his airline is the world's fastest growing airline recording a 35% year-on-year growth rate over ten years; a phenomenal rate of growth it expects to maintain for at least the next 4 years.
. The Airline operates one of the world's youngest fleets with the average age of each plane at 3 years.
. By 2015 Qatar Airways plans to have a fleet of 110 aircraft, including both Airbus and Boeing wide-bodied equipment, in operation.
. Qatar Airways is one of the launch customers for the new Airbus 380 aircraft with its new airport in Doha, set to open in 2009, specially configured to handle the world's largest aircraft.
. Qatar Airways is the only airline the in world to have a separate dedicated terminal in its home port only for business and first class passengers. The premium terminal includes meeting rooms, spas, accommodation and five star dining options for passengers transiting or joining a flight in Doha.
. Qatar Airways has received a 5 star rating from Skytrax for the quality of its in-flight services and has been voted as having the best cabin crew in the Middle East every year from 2003-2006.
Committed to Indonesia
During his visit to Bali, Al Baker repeatedly declared his airline's desire to expand their services by adding more flights to Jakarta and Bali. Al Baker also said his Airline hoped to commence service to Surabaya, pending Indonesian government approval.
Shown on balidiscovery.com are selected images from the arrival of QR624 to Bali and the inaugural flight press conference.
President: Be Smart and Creative in Promoting Tourism
Yudhoyono and Tourism Leaders United in More Dynamic and Creative Approach to Promoting Tourism.
The Indonesian language website Bisnis.com reports that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on the Department of Culture and Tourism to optimize their work, be smarter and more creative in developing national tourism. The President's comments were made at the opening of a 3-day national coordinating meeting on culture and tourism held at the National Palace in Jakarta.
The President told the meeting: "In fact volcanoes, areas of national disaster, mud volcanoes, earthquake zones and tsunami affected areas all have the potential to become tourist attractions. This is not 'disaster tourism,' but Indonesia's geology which is presented for tourism. If thousands of people come to see the colors of our volcanic crater lakes, that is not a problem . . . Let's be smart, creative and innovative."
The President hopes the tourism industry is able to become the top contributor of foreign exchange to the economy, as in the case of the United States where tourism generates an estimated US200 billion. In this regard, the Head of State urged the Department of Culture and Tourism not to be embarrassed to study from other countries where tourism has become a mainstay of the economy.
A Highly Competitive Tourism Market
The Council on Indonesian Tourism (DEPARI) used the occasion to remind all tourism stakeholders that Indonesia faces strong competition from neighboring destinations. Because of this, the Council said steps are needed to rescue tourism through joint programs to prevent the collapse of the tourism sector.
Sri Mulyono Herlambang, the Chairman of DEPARI recently said: "In confronting this strong competition the Minister of Culture and Tourism, all tourism associations and affiliated agencies cannot adopt a defensive attitude. On the contrary, they must develop an offensive strategy. A defensive attitude will only delay our eventual defeat."
Close Cooperation Needed
While on a private level, the Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik enjoys good relations with the heads of Indonesia's various tourism organizations. However, in the future, closer cooperation on an institutional level is needed to create strategies to confront hyper-competition.
Giving Thanks to Those in a Thankless Job
Editorial: We Take Issue with Those Seeking to Censure the Australian Federal Police for their Handling of the Bali Nine Arrests.
A petition filed last week by Australian backbench parliamentarian Gary Hardgrave and 1,500 supporters condemning the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for "delivering up" the notorious "Bali Nine" for death sentences when tipping off police in Bali, providing information that led to the group's arrest at Bali's airport with a damming 8.3 kilograms of heroin taped to their bodies. The Australian petitioners are irate with the Australian police, claiming that "Australian sovereign rights" were somehow compromised when assistance was lent to their fellow countrymen's apprehension in Bali. The petitioners contend that the more prudent course of action would have been for the Australian police to refuse cooperation with their Indonesian counterparts, choosing to arrest the "Bali Nine" only after they returned to Australia.
Frankly, these emotive rants are beneath the dignity of a the Australian people who have a proud tradition of a law-based democracy and suffers from the same abberation that argued convicted drug smuggler Shapelle Corby should have gone unpunished because of the aid provided to Indonesia following its 2004 tsunami disaster. Neither of those two dogs hunt; never will.
Take note. The petitiion criticizing the Australian police is being championed by failed National Minister and Parliamentarian Gary Hardgrave, himself the subject of an AFP investigation for defrauding the Commonwelth.
But, returning to the question at hand: We're Australian Federal Police derelict in their duty when they provided information that led to the "red handed" capture of the "Bali Nine" and their possible final date before an Indonesian firing squad? Many of us living in Bali, where the very fabric of our society is being undermined by narcotics, would take issue with the Australian petitioners. Our view is that abundant praise, rather than criticism, should be heaped upon the AFP officers who helped bring the Bali Nine to Indonesian justice.
From our perspective in Bali, a number of factor have been glossed over by those seeking to criticize the Australian constabulary, including:
. Australians, or any other foreign nations, have no soveriegn rights when traveling in Indonesia beyond those enjoyed by Indonesian nationals under the laws of the Republic.
. Caught with drugs strapped to their bodies, tried and convicted - we've yet to hear a persuasive argument of innocence on behalf of any member of the Bali Nine; or that they received anything other than a fair trial in a Bali Court; or that they are in any way being denied every possible appeal allowed under Indonesian law prior to any final imposition of sentence.
. A generally accepted principal of law enforcement is that in dealing with felonies police should not be selective in the enforcement of the law and take immediate steps to stop a crime in progress. If, as the Australian petitioners suggest, the AFP should have knowingly allowed people carrying dangerous narcotics containing the the potential of killing hundred of people to board a commercial flight in Bali, we ask if this wouldn't have made the police witting accomplices in a felony?
. And, while busily defending rights - sovereign or otherwise, we also ask if the average law-abiding citizens boarding an international flight doesn't have the right to a "reasonable expectation" that police on duty at both ends of the flight route will spare no effort in keeping their aircraft free of criminal activity, weapons and deadly toxic substances?
. Assuming that the AFP had allowed the Bali Nine to board their flight and only arrested them upon arrival in Australia, we wonder if Australian attorneys would not now be arguing that by knowingly allowing their clients to board a flight with heroin in their possession the AFP had played a game of wrongful entrampment?
. We also question if the 15,000 petitioners on behalf of the Bali Nine share an equally fervent humanitarian concern for the fate of the Bali bombing terrorists now awaiting execution? What's the connection? The link between the international drug trade and international terrorism is well documented. Terrorist bombers and drug dealers are merely fellow workers on the same supply chain producing a common product: death and destruction.
While we have no desire to judge which of these two criminal group constitutes the more heinous class of criminals - the three 3 Bali bombers or the 6 members of
the Bali Nine now sentenced to death - it is fair to say that all 9 are ruthless merchants of death; the former motivated by a tortured fanatic idealogy and the latter by rapacious, mindless greed.
While all death is tragic, the stark fact remains that the world will not long mourne the passing of any of these 9 men, be they bombers or drug dealers when the legal process eventually places them at the business end of a firing squad.
These sentiments will seem overly harsh to the 15,000 Australian petitioners currently protesting the apprehension of the Bali Nine. But let's also consider for a moment the even greater number of damming signatures we could collect in Indonesia from family and friends of the estimated 15,000 young Indonesian who die each year linked to the illicit drug trade.
With apologies to Mr. Hargrave and the Australian petitioners, we suspect the less vocal majority of law-respecting Australians are in agreement with us and quietly happy to be rid of the Bali Nine.
To the Australian Federal Police and their Indonesian colleagues who successfully put the Bali Nine behind bars - we extend a too-seldom-spoken vote of heartfelt "thanks" for giving priority to the general publics' desire to enjoy a peaceful, drug-free existence.
Now that would be a petition worth signing!
Australian Federal Police Chief Salutes His Indonesian Counterparts
Mike Keelty Praises Indonesia's Impressive Record at Tracking Down and Capturing Terror Suspects.
Tempo Interaktif reports that Mike Keelty, the Chief Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, has praised the Indonesian Police for their record of apprehending terrorists over the past five years.
The Indonesian Police, according to Keelty, have performed their duties well in managing to solve a number of terrorist crimes. Keelty's praiseful comments were delivered in Jakarta at the inauguration of a new DNA laboratory at the National Police Headquarter's Secretariat for Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) located in Cipinang, East Jakarta and followed a series of dramatic raids in Yogyakarta by Indonesia's elite anti-terror squad.
Those raids netted 7 terror suspects sought by the police and, according to Keelty, included unspecified support provided to the Indonesian police by his department.
Australia's top cop told the Indonesian police that his department will continue to cooperate with the Indonesian authorities in bringing terrorists to justice.
Balinese Cuisine on a Flying Tour to Salzburg, Austria
Bumbu Bali's Heinz von Holzen Featured Chef at Salzburg's Famous Hangar-7 in June 2007.
If asked to describe Hangar-7 in Salzburg, Austria you might say it was a gourmet restaurant, a cutting edge contemporary art gallery, a performance and presentation venue, home to several trendy bars and an aircraft museum. In fact, it's all this and more. Defying description or categorization, the impressive and steel-and-glass structure and all it encompasses, in the word of its creators, is "a place where art, passion, technology and refined living meet."
Founded by the Flying Bulls of Salzburg, a group of pilots and aviation enthusiasts who scour the world for vintage aircraft that they purchase and lovingly restore, Hangar-7 is the home to the group's historical collection of aircraft - some more than 60 years old - all maintained in an airworthy state, ready for their next flight leaving from the adjoining Salzburg airport's runway.
But what fun is having one of the world's most impressive collection of flying machines if you can't show them off to the world? To that end, the Red Bull's opened Hangar-7 in 2003 featuring:
. An aircraft museum open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. .
. Ikarus Restaurant open daily for lunch and dinner, a gourmet restaurant which hosts a different celebrity chef and his or her cuisine each month. And, in keeping with Ikarus' unrivaled reputation for an ever-changing dining experience, Bali's very own Heinz von Holzen will be traveling with his own culinary team to Austria to showcase Balinese cuisine for the entire month of June 2007.
To learn more about Heinz, his award winning Balinese cuisine and his definitive cookery books on the subject visit his website at [Balifoods.com].
. Mayday Bar - Open every day from 5:30 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. the following morning. It's unique bar surface is, in fact, an interactive computer monitor where guests can perform aircraft maneuvers, direct cartoon generated waiters and waitresses moving through the streets of New York while avoiding customers drinks, and even send text messages to other guests seated along the massive bar. An adjacent Cigar Lounge offers a relaxed atmosphere for premium smokes and congeniality amidst the warm embrace of deep leather seats, lush carpets and hand-rubbed precious woods.
. The Three Sixty Bar - Accessible only via a single stairway and situated at the very top of the hangar, this bar's all-glass floor provides a "bird's eye view" of the Flying Bulls aircraft collection.
. Carp Diem Lounge - open each day from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. is adjacent to the aircraft collection offering visitors a perfect locale for an expertly brewed espresso or something thom a range of light food and snacks.
More About Heinz von Holzen
Chilli peppers, ginger root, turmeric root, galangal root, kencur, salam leaves and lemongrass - the aromas wafting from the kitchen of Heinz von Holzen have absolutely nothing to do with Swiss culinary tradition. Nor can they, since Heinz von Holzen, born in Stans, Switzerland, in 1958, is more or less the discoverer of and sage in matters of Balinese culinary art. It's perhaps unbelievable to think that "The Food of Bali" - written and photographed by the Swiss-born cook in 1993 - was the first cookbook to embrace the world of Balinese cuisine. And, on an island where fine Balinese dining options are surprisingly few, Heinz's Bumbu Bali is widely considered the best of its kind; the recipient of "Best Balinese Restaurant" awards from the Government of Bali.
Von Holzen's career didn't get off to the smoothest of starts. He was interested in technology and began studying mechanical engineering. But three and a half years of working in an office bored him to such an extent that he decided to look for another apprenticeship position. Changing to a chef's apprentice, he fell in love with cooking on the very first day. Von Holzen started at the Hotel de La Paix in Lucerne, worked his way up the culinary and career ladder in various Hilton hotels, arrived in Singapore as a sous-chef in 1985, where he switched to the Hyatt Regency, subsequently becoming head chef of the Grand Hyatt Bali in 1990.
Balinese restaurants, explains von Holzen, tend to offer very similar dishes: a little Indonesian, a little Italian, a little French. In his search for authentic Balinese recipes, von Holzen staged a cooking competition for 159 Balinese staff at the Grand Hyatt. He was surprised and overwhelmed by the variety of flavors and dishes that emerged as a result of the competition. The recipes uncovered at the Hyatt went into "The Food of Bali," forming the foundation for each of the dishes served by von Holzen at the Bumbu Bali today: roasted duck or grilled fish in banana leaves, ox tongue in sweet nutmeg sauce, braised squid in lime basil.
Several books, numerous promotional trips and well-attended cookery seminars later, Heinz von Holzen has become the ambassador of Balinese cooking. The Bumbu Bali has been rated the best Balinese restaurant in Bali several times, and von Holzen himself has been voted one of Bali's 21 most important personalities owing to his services to local cooking. "Balinese cooking," says von Holzen, "has genuinely taken hold over everything I do." Is there anything typically Swiss left of him? A love of endurance sport, perhaps. And of course the discipline and enthusiasm with which he prepares and globally promotes Balinese cooking.
Minister of Justice & Human Rights Bestows Indonesian Citizenship on 117 Children in Bali of Mixed Parentage.
Tempo Interatif reports that 117 children of mixed Indonesian-foreign parentage were officially made Indonesian citizens in a special ceremony presided over by Indonesia's Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Hamid Awaluddin, on Thursday, March 29, 2007.
At that ceremony, Hamid told the Indonesian mothers of the children that, "now, you mothers can now sleep peacefully and not fear that your children might be deported by immigration officers."
The bestowing of Indonesian citizenship was done in accordance with law number 12 of 2006 which formally allows children of mixed Indonesian-foreign parentage to hold dual citizenship until they reach the age of 18 at which time they must choose to either become solely Indonesian nationals or adopt their foreign citizenship.
Prior to the introduction of the new law, children resulting from mixed marriages were automatically assumed to follow the Father's citizenship. Under that system, these children were were compelled to organize costly and time consuming temporary stay permits with local immigration departments on an annual basis. What's more, when divorce occured the Indonesian Mother's custodial rights over her own children was placed in jeopardy. In those instances when the children remained with their Indonesian Mother, she was burdened with organizing costly immigration permits for her "foreign" offspring.
In bestowing Indonesian citizenship on the children in Bali, Hamid said he hoped the children of mixed parentage would now consider Indonesia as their homeland.
Getting Serious About Tourism Promotion
Visit Indonesia Year 2008 Needs Funding of US$30 Million
The Indonesian-language Bisnis.com quotes the Director General of Marketing for the Department of Culture and Tourism, Thamrin Bachri, as saying the government should commit to a promotional budget of US$30 million a full year in advance of the planned Visit Indonesia Year 2008.
Citing the need for advance planning of at least one year, Bachri told the press that the US$30 million promotional budget will be presented and discussed at a 3-day coordinating meeting for culture and tourism to be opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The substantially larger amount than that normally allocated to national tourism promotion will be used for general promotional activities and to support a series festivals in various regions throughout Indonesia scheduled for 2008. Bachri explained that in order to meet the targeted 7 million foreign visitors to Indonesia in that year, the planning process must commence immediately.
Reminding the press that Indonesia is in stiff competition for its share of international tourist visitors, Bachri pointed to the US$80 million being spent by Malaysia on Visit Malaysia Year 2007 now underway.
Bachri added, "that there must be a marketing formulation, creation of an appropriate strategy and the accumulation of funds from the private sector in support of Visit Indonesian Year 2008 in order that the desired target can be achieved."