Community Leaders Ask Culture and Tourism Minister to Lobby Attorney General to Bring A Quick End to Amrozi, Iman Samudera and Ali Gufron.
Community leaders and tourism professionals in Bali are urging the Government to avoid further delays in the execution of the three Bali bombers as a necessary final step in the island's recovery from past trauma and the recovery of the world's trust in Bali as a safe holiday destination.
During a recent meeting with tourism figures in Bali, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism was asked to actively lobby for the rapid execution of Amrozi, Iman Sumudera and Ali Gufron for their roles in the October 2002 bombing that killed 202 people.
Explained Al Purwa, the Chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Operators (ASITA): "We are waiting, the rest of the world is also waiting; when will Amrozi and his friends be executed? This is important in order to restore the world's trust and permit Bali to once again become a holiday destination free of fear of further attacks."
As reported in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Bali, Minister Wacik promised that he would urgently meet with the Attorney General to personally deliver the people of Bali's aspiration to see the three convicted terrorists are put to death.
The Minister said that now, as the three terrorists have exhausted every avenue for appeal, it is completely understandable that the people of Bali are adamant in their desire to see the firing squad carry out its work.
Top Indonesian Fashion Producers and Designers Meet the World in Bali in November 2007.
Though still in search of financial backers, Bali Fashion Week is determined to return to Bali this November following its postponement in 2006.
In the past the event, founded and championed by Bali's Fashion icon Mardiana Ika, managed to draw hundred of top fashion buyers to Bali to view the latest creations by Indonesian designers and national fashion houses.
Run in conjunction with a number of public entertainment events to combine conviviality with hard-nosed fashion wheeling and dealing, the Bali Fashion Week will offer 3 days of non-stop art, cultural and fashion exhibitions centered at Bali's Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel.
More details to follow as they become available.
April Foreign Arrival Numbers Set New Records
Bali by the Numbers: April 2007 Arrivals Establish a Record-Breaking Start to the Year.
Amidst much concern among tourism industry professionals for poor length of stay and business share being lost to illegal villas, there's no doubt that in terms of overall foreign arrivals to Bali that "business is booming."
Total foreign arrivals during the first four months of 2007 totaled 472,082 and improvement of +38.38% over the same four months in 2006 and the strongest start to any year on record.
April 2007 foreign arrivals totaled 125,140 or +20.46% better than April 2006. In fact, the latest April figures were the best on record, stealing that honor previously held by April 2001 when 117,040 foreign visitors came to the island.
The charts presented on balidiscovery.com show the improving fortunes of Bali's foreign tourist arrivals from 2000 to 2007 and the deleterious impact of the terrorist attacks of 2002 and 2005 on those figures.
The next installment of Bali by the Numbers will examine where Bali's tourism business is coming from, both in terms of traditional sources and new emerging markets.
Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay to Host Delamotte Champagne Dinner on Saturday, May 26, 2007.
Not to be missed and limited to the first 50 guests who book, the Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay will host a special seaside Champagne dinner in their Coconut Grove venue on Saturday, May 26, 2007.
Featuring 4 distinguished vintages of Salon Champagne Delamotte, M. Didier Dupond, Managing Director of Delamotte, will be on hand to individually introduce each champagne.
Accompanying the fine champagnes will be a special 15-course tapas menu followed by a lavish dessert - all prepared by the Four Season's culinary team.
One of the highlights of the evening will be the uncorking of the celebrated 1995 Salon Champagne.
The cost for the evening of fine champagnes and food is Rp.1,150,000 plus 21% tax and service (approximately US$155) per person.
Immediate reservations are absolute must with resrevations limited to the first 50 paid. Call Paula Dewanti at ++62-(0)361-701010 or contact via the email link provided.
More than 3,500 Hash House Harriers Converge on Bali for Pan Indo Hash 2007.
Over 3,500 madcap runners from across Indonesia and the region gathered in Bali May 18-19, 2007, to participate in Pan Indo Hash 2007.
What is the Hash?
Founded in the 1930's in Singapore, the Hash House Harriers is an international association of cross country runners now boasting more than 300,000 members in over 1,000 clubs worldwide. Each of the clubs meets once a week at a different locality near their homes to undertake scenic runs followed by convivial sessions of earnest beer drinking.
The Bali Hash House Harriers (Bali HHH ) was founded on May 16, 1977 by an English eccentric, Victor Mason who, 30 years later, still lives in Bali and is a regular participant in the Bali runs.
Pan Indo Hash
The popularity of hashing in Indonesia was aptly demonstrated by the very strong turnout for the Bali event, a "dry run" for a Bali bid to host for a 2010 Interhash event that draws runners from around the world.
Did we say "dry run"?
Anyone acquainted with Hash House traditions knows a run is anything but "dry". Each of the many runs organized along river valleys and Bali's picturesque rice fields is followed by gatherings at the finish line where copious quantities of Bir Bintang are consumed in practice sessions for further imbibing at the evenings social gatherings that follow.
The Pan Indo Hash 2007 event was formally opened by Bali's Governor and the Mayor of Denpasar.
An International Event
Among the 3,500 runners coming to Bali were 89 hash clubs from Indonesia, 9 from Malaysia and hundreds of Hashers from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Holland, the U.S.A., United Kingdom and Kenya.
The Bali event was headquartered at the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur where a final nights social gathering was held on Saturday, May 19, 2007.
The Bali event was a warm up for the Pan Asia Hash scheduled for Medan, North Sumatra on August 3-4, 2007 where an expected 4,000 runners are expected.
Over 4,000 runners are expected in Perth, Australia in March 2008 where they will attend the World Interhash. In Perth, Bali will once again renew its bid to host the succeeding World Interhash 2010 where an estimated 10,000 Hashers from around the world are expected to attend.
The latest Bali Hash event was clearly a run awaysuccess with Bir Bintang managing - just barely to provide sufficient brew to keep the thousands of runners well fueled.
Sink or Swim - Monte Fights Child Hunger
Bali-based American Long-Distance Swimmer Sets Another Record to Publicize the Plight of Hungry Kids.
Early on the morning of May 10, 2007, Bali-based American ocean swimmer Monte Monfore achieved another world's first swimming from Lombok to Gili Tranwangan. His 7-kilometer, Lombok Fight Hunger Swim was the latest installment in his series of the World Food Program Global Walk the World Event to assist hungry school children throughout the world.
The 46-year-old athlete began his swim at Malimbu Beach in northwest Lombok, still in predawn darkness at 5:45 a.m.. Before entering the water, he addressed the large number of press and supporters gathered on the beach about the goals of the World Food Program and the United Nations Millennium Campaign to end child hunger by 2015.
Monte, who lives on Bali, said: "This swim is to give a voice to the world's hungry, especially hungry children. I'm beginning in darkness to symbolize that many people are 'in the dark' about world hunger. I'll finish after sunrise to represent the hope and optimism that child hunger can be overcome."
He then entered the black ocean water under the moon and stars, dedicating his swim to his recently deceased Mother, Carol Monfore.
Nature Offers Strong Resistence
With a fluorescent light stick attached to his swimsuit to enable supporters and the media in follow boats to track his progress, Monte entered the ocean in calm and placid waters which quickly changed to strong opposing currents just one kilometer from shore. So intense were the currents in the legendary treacherous waters between Bali and Lombok that the powerful swimmer had trouble breaking free and was, at times, drawn back towards his starting point by the grudging undertow of the water.
Monte later explained: "I've had some difficult swims before, but this was the toughest by far. There were times I didn't think I was going to make it. I'm extremely thankful to support crew and the media for continuously cheering me on. I feel very fortunate the conditions were calm. Had there been wind and chop, I would have never made it."
As he approached Gili Trawangan, Monte encountered more rushing currents, seemingly determined to deny him his record swim. Summoning a final burst of energy, Monte swam at full pace to break the channel's grip. At 7:55 a.m., after two hours and 10 minutes fighting the strong currents, the swimmer stepped onto the shore at Hotel Villa Ombak, one of the event's sponsors. Exhausted, but nonetheless elated, he was cheered ashore by a crowd of more than 50 locals and tourists.
A Message Worth Repeating
Following the swim, Monte spoke to the media. Determined to repeat his humanitarian message at every opportunity, Monte reminded everyone of his serious mission to feed hungry children. Underlining the urgency of his message, he told of how every 5 seconds a child dies because of lack of food. Or, as he reminded the assembled press and fans, in the 2.5 hours he spent swimming the Straits of Lombok roughly 2,000 children had died of hunger to which another 6,000 children could be added who died while we were all sleeping in our beds the night before.
Monte said that for only US$ 0.19 a day children can be provided nutritious meals with the World Food Global School Feeding Program. Or, in other words, $US34 will feed a child for an entire school year.
Three days prior to his latest epic swim Monte fell ill, becoming nauseous and suffering a high fever. Originally scheduled as a 13-kilometer swim, he refused to cancel the event but, instead, halved the distance to 7 kilometers.
Every 15 minutes during his swim Monte stopped for 10-20 seconds to consume energy drinks. Adhering strictly to the international rules for ocean swimming he undertakex each crossing with no fins, no wetsuit, and never makes direct physical contact with the support boat while in the water. On his May 10th swim Monte suffered numerous painful jellyfish stings.
The Lombok Fight Hunger Swim follows Monte's May 2006 Bali Fight Hunger Swim, where he performed a double-crossing of the 4-kilometer Bali Strait.
What's Ahead for Monte?
Continuing his series of endurance swims in support of the United Nations Millennium Campaign, later this year the humanitarian swimmer plans an Environmental Sustainability/Anti-Global Warming Swim, and an HIV/AIDS Awareness Swimsupporting the Bali Community Cares organization for children of HIV/AIDS patients.
Monte on Video
For more information on Monte Monfore and his historic swims or to see video footage of him in action visit. Watch swim video and donate to hungry children at [Monte Monfore Website]
Photographs of Monte Monfore's latest swim were kindly provided by Erik Wijaya.
Click Images to Enlarge
US$5.5 Billion in Tourism Spending Targeted
Government Explores How to Grow Arrivals, Increase Spend and Prolong the Length of Stay of Foreign Tourists.
The Indonesian Department of Culture and Tourism is hoping that every foreign visitor to Indonesia will spend an average US$1,000 resulting in US$5.5 billion in valuable foreign exchange for Indonesia in 2007.
To achieve this goal, the Secretary General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Sapta Nirwandar, recently told the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia that the Government is working hard to encourage higher spends and longer lengths of stay for long-haul visitors from Europe and the Middle East.
Pointing to improving arrival statistics nationwide, Sapta is optimistic that a number of important conferences scheduled for the second half of 2007 and improving tourism numbers generally all underline positive developments in Indonesian tourism.
Based on the latest Passenger Exit Surveys (PES) conducted at airports by the Department of Culture and Tourism, the average length of stay (LOS) for tourists in Indonesia has increased from 9.0 days to 9.06 days. While improving, LOS figures are down from the recent past when visitors stayed an average of 10 days or more in Indonesia when on holiday.
The same survey suggests that each foreign tourist visiting Indonesia spends an average of US$105 per day, up slightly from the previously reported level of US$100 per day.
Will We or Won't We?
In order to achieve government targets of US$5.5 billion in foreign exchange from tourism at current levels of spending it will be necessary for Indonesia to achieve 6 million visitors in 2007.
The exit surveys conducted by the Government are based on standard indices established by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The latest survey showed growing confidence among Indonesian visitors on security issues in Indonesia, but identified frequent areas of complaint as regards general tourism information, money changers and local taxi transportation.
Indonesia's First Volcano Museum Opens in Bali
Museum Gunung Api Batur Opens in Bangli, East Bali.
In early May 2007, Bali inaugurated its first Volcano Museum in Bangli. Opened as part of the 803rd anniversary of seat of the Bangli Regency, the Museum Gunung Api Batur was officially opened its Regent I Nengah Arnawa.
The Museum is located in Bangli, not far from Batur - one Bali's active volcanic mountains. Intended to educate the public on both the dangers of volcanoes as well as the positive contribution they make to mankind, the Museum features interactive exhibits for children and computer animations.
Of the 129 volcanoes found in Indonesia, 80 are considered active with the potential of exploding any time in the near future. Of the 80 active volcanoes, 64 are considered sufficiently dangerous to surrounding population and are under continuous monitoring by the Indonesian Department of Meteorology and Geophysics (BMG).
Bali Aims for the Stars
Governor Beratha Visits Bali's Bulgari Resort and Bestows Stars on 17 Other Bali Hotels.
Bali's Governor Dewa Beratha took time from his busy schedule on Wednesday, May 16, 2007, to visit the Island's newest luxury boutique property - Bulgari Resort and officially sign a plaque marking the hotel's opening. In doing so the Governor fulfilled a belated promise to officially "open" the hotel when earlier travel commitments prevented him from attending the formal opening held on September 25, 2006. [See: The Bulgari Resort, Bali is Open for Business]
Inspecting the 59-unit luxury property that boasts one of Bali's highest published room rates, the Governor was impressed with the standard of the facilities and commanding view of the Indian Ocean guests staying at the Resort enjoy. Reflecting on the Bulgari Resort's room rates which can range from US$1,300 to US$6,500 per night - depending on room category, the Governor told those attending the ceremony that hotels of this caliber are "exactly what Bali needs."
Jokingly pointing out that the cost of one night at the Hotel exceeded his monthly salary several times over, the Governor applauded the outstanding facilities suggesting that the present 5-star rating system for Indonesian hotels was somehow inadequate to describe the guest experience presented by the Bulgari.
Bali's Bulgari Resort, according to its owner who spoke at the ceremony, represents a total investment of US$40 million.
The Governor also used the occasion to confirm the star rating of 17 hotels in Bali.
. 5 Star Status - Receiving 5 star certification were the Sofitel Seminyak, Ayodya Resort, Nusa Dua Beach Hotel, Novotel Benoa and the Inna Grand Bali Beach.
. 4 Star Status Receiving 4 star certification were The Payogan Village Resort & Spa, Sanur Paradise plaza Hotel Resort, Hotel Puri Santrian, Grand Bali Sani Suites, Bali Garden Hotel, Hotel Candi Beach Cottage and the Alam Kulkul Boutique Resort.
. 3 Star Status Hotels getting their certification a 3 star properties were the Ramayana Resort & Spa, Nusa Lembongan Resort and the Kuta Beach Club Hotel.
Gasoline Shortage Hits Bali
Some of Bali's Gas Stations Close Temporarily as Supplies of Premium Fuel Becomes Critical.
A number of gas stations were forced to temporarily suspend operations when new supplies of premium gasoline failed to arrive in Bali.
The shortage, which lasted for 3- 4 days during the second week of May 2007, was blamed for 30-40 minute lines at the gas stations that stayed open to distribute diminishing fuel supplies.
Local managers for Pertamina, the state-owned oil company, blamed the fuel shortage on the late arrival of a fuel tanker from Singapore carrying 4,000 kiloliters of premium gas. That tanker, originally destined for Balikpapan in Kalimantan, was diverted to Bali when local fuel reserves became critical.
Additional fuel supplies were also urgently ordered and dispatched from Pertamina stocks in Cilicap (West Java) and Balikpapan (Kalimantan).
An Island Thirsty for Fuel
According to Pertamina, Bali's network of 125 gas stations sell 1,500 kiloliters of premium gas every day with a minimum reserve of less than 3 days or 4,000 kiloliters held at the Company's fuel depot in Manggis, East Bali.
Why local Pertamina officials failed to anticipate the recent shortage of premium remains a mystery. Fortunately, all gas stations in Bali had returned to normal operations by May 18, 2007.
Bali Development Fund
Leading Law and Business Figures Thinks a 'Bali Development Fund' Needs a Home on the Jakarta Stock Exchange.
A local businessman and law expert in Bali is suggesting that the establishment of a Bali Development Fund financed through the national stock market would accelerate the development of the Island's economy.
According to well known entrepreneur Anak Agung Ngurah Manik Danendra, a Bali Development Fund would permit investment participation by the capital market and banks in providing much needed funds for small and medium sized enterprises.
Speaking at the launch of his book "Bali Plans for the Future," Manik told the Indonesian language Bisnis Indonesia that the proposed fund would widen access to credit facilities and training for small and medium-sized businesses.
Noting that Bali's tourism prospect were rapidly improving, Manik called for more attention to now be paid to the development of Bali's South, including the construction of a new airport for the Island.
Bali and Java Experience Unusually High Waves Caused by Planetary Alignment and Strong Winds.
Unusually large waves struck the southern shorelines o f Java and Bali on Thursday and Friday, May 17-18, 2007, destroying shoreline buildings and preventing local fisherman from going to sea.
In Bali, the waves swept ashore along the beaches at Kuta and Jimbaran, dissuading tourists from recreating on Bali's most popular seaside and sweeping away the simple sheds of local businesspeople at the fishing village of Jimbaran. A number of local fishing boats in Bali were reportedly also destroyed by the sudden waves.
Local press reports state that the unusually high waves and ocean swell hit their peak on Friday, May 18, 2007, and were worst felt in Bali along the beaches at Kuta, Jimbaran, Kuta, Sanur and Tanah Lot. The popular Kedonganan seafood dining area, near Jimbaran, sustained damage to locally-owned restaurants when the waves came ashore and swept into at least 4 local dining places. At least 2 homes and tens of local fishing boats also suffered significant damage. Meanwhile, visitors to Bali's famous Pura Tanah Lot at Jimbaran witnessed huge waves breaking over the temple, located in the ocean a short distance off the shore line.
A natural phenomenon, the waves measuring as high as 4-5 meters along Bali's coast were blamed by Indonesian officials of the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) on a the celestial alignment of the sun and moon resulting in unusually high tides working in concert with strong off-shore winds and were expected to last for only 3-4 days.
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