Sanur Raya No. 27
Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai,
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia
Tel: ++62 361 286 283
Fax: ++62 361 286 284
24h: Voice/SMS ++62 812 3819724
BALI UPDATE #577 - 01
Bali Update Wins PATA Gold Award
Balidiscovery.com Acknowledged as Asia Pacific's Best Tourism E-newsletter at Special Luncheon in Bali.
During a special luncheon at PATA Travel Mart 2007 in Bali on Friday, September 28, 2007, twenty-four travel-related organizations and individuals were honored with PATA Grand and PATA Gold Awards as the "best of" winners in categories of Education and Training, Environment, Heritage and Culture, and Marketing.
Winning a 2007 Gold Award as the best e-newsletter in the Asia-Pacific was Bali Discovery Tour's - Bali Update. In granting the award to Bali Update, the award committee stated:
Distributed every Monday to more than 17,000 subscribers from over 80 countries, including the traveling public, travel industry people, international travel media and government officials, Bali Update is frequently cited by the international press and government officials.
In addition to covering all news about Bali, including crisis, from the perspective of a Bali-based tourism operator, the e-newsletter successfully updates its readers on new product information and drives them to www.balidiscovery.com, the website of Bali Discovery Tours.
"While not the slickest e-newsletter, it is the most useful and honest; a believable newsletter with personality. The news about Bali and Indonesia is not just promotional. It does a good job of creating and maintaining trust and community." - Judges comment.
"With compelling content that will encourage readership, the simple layout is easy to scan and read." - Judges comment.
Bali's Update's Editor, John Daniels, thanked the judges and the newsletter's loyal readership for their support of Bali Discovery Tour's newsletter. Explained Daniels" "Our goal over the past 10 years has been to preserve Bali's right to 'tell its side of the story' on news affecting the island's tourism industry. That, along the way, we have reaped the vitriolic harvest of maniacal 'anti-Bali' websites and the occasional ire of a local hoteliers possessing a myopic view of creating a sustainable Bali tourism product is probably a good indication that we're managing to hit the correct middle-ground in our desire to present objective news about Bali."
Daniels further explained that the growing subscribers' list, now topping 19,000 loyal readers, demonstrates that Bali Update does not shy away from the "tough" news while at the same time always striving to include the steps and measures being undertaken in Bali to address and correct any problem and crisis that may arise.
Emrisyah: Airline Preparing to Spread its Wings Back to Europe.
Despite the current blacklisting of all Indonesian registered commercial aircraft from European airspace by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Indonesian national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia appears adamant in its desire to resume service to Europe, planning to recommence service to Amsterdam in 2008.
The President Director of Garuda, Emirsyah Satar told Bisnis Indonesia that his airline continues to study the viability of an Amsterdam service.
Speaking to the press at the PATA Travel Mart in Bali, Emirsyah said that Garuda is also exploring adding a new destination in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Garuda and national aviation authorities continue to lobby European Union authorities to lift the current blacklisting of Indonesian aircraft, pointing to the airline's ability to meet the stringent requirements aviation regimes in Australia, Japan and China all served by the Airline.
The current blacklisting by the EU is scheduled for an automatic review in October 2007.
Should current plans to resume service to Europe materialize, Garuda will face the additional challenge of earning the trust of major European travel wholesalers, many of whom felt they were left in the lurch by Garuda's sudden withdrawal from Amsterdam in November 2004.
Bali's Airport: Between a Wet and a Soft Place
US$161 Million and 2 Years Needed to Expand Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport.
balidiscovery.com recently explored the many problems faced by Bali in efforts to expand the Ngurah Rai International Airport and increase the tourism carrying capacity of the Island. [See: Run, Run, Run, Run... Runway].
Indonesia's Vice President, Jusuf Kalla, conducted an inspection of Bali's air gateway while in town to open the PATA Travel Mart - accompanied by the Minister of Transportation, Syaffi Djamal, and the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, Sofyan Djalil. Following that inspection Kalla called on PT Angkasa Pura - the company charged with managing the airport, to extend and expand the current runway. Kalla told the Bali Post: "the Ngurah Rai airport must soon be expanded. In the first phase, the runway must be extended 600 meters. In the second phase, a new runway must be constructed." The Vice President called for an urgent construction program to be undertaken in order to permit Bali to welcome the larger, A380 aircraft within two year's time.
The Vice President also said that in order to handle growing passenger levels Bali must build a new domestic terminal and expand the current international terminal. Funding, according to the VP, should come from domestic sources and national banks.
Kalla estimates the cost of the airport expansion will require Rp. 1.5 trillion (approximately US$161.3 million).
Governor Shifts Opinion
One day following the Vice President's visit, Bali's Governor Made Beratha joined the chorus calling for the airport's expansion, changing his earlier position opposing Ngurah Rai's expansion. Moreover, Beratha told the Indonesian language Nusa Bali that the land needed for the expansion was already available.
According to Beratha, land is in hand for the construction of a of an alternative runway with the responsibility of building and funding the facilities falling to PT Angkasa Pura I.
While press reports did not stipulate what specific land the Bali Government has prepared for the airport's expansion, it is widely assumed that environmentally sensitive mangrove forest flats will be sacrificed to make way for the longer runway. The alternative of reclaiming land at the western end of the current runway is widely considered to pose an erosion threat to the entire Kuta beach area.
In speaking to the press, Governor Beratha dismissed plans to build a new airport in West Bali, insisting a new airport is not needed as long as the current airport can be expanded.
Visit Indonesia 2008 - Please Tell Us More!
Hotel and Restaurant Chief Says Government Late in Announcing the Details of Visit Indonesia Year 2008.
The Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) has called on the Government to immediately announce the detailed work program and planning for Visit Indonesia 2008 (VIY 2008) intended to bring 7 million visitors to the Country.
Yanti Sukamdani, the Chair of PHRI, complained to Bisnis Indonesia that with the exception of a single television appearance by Tourism Minister Jero Wacik discussing VIY 2008, the travel industry remains largely in the dark regarding the component parts of key tourism promotion programs for the coming year.
Explained Sukamdani: "We in the tourism industry are ready to support the Government's programs, but without a formal announcement from President Susilo Bambang Yidhoyono, a logo and promotional material - it remains unclear when the program will be launched. How can we possibly prepare?"
The Head of the PHRI cautioned that the Department of Culture and Tourism needs to remember the time required for the production and distribution of promotional material in any plans currently afoot to increase tourism flows to Indonesia in 2008.
As time marches on, according to Sukamdani, the Government is losing opportunities to include VIY 2008's logo in the promotional brochures, letterhead and websites of tourism operators nation-wide.
Let's Get Moving!
Sukamdani summarized saying: "Here we are at the end of September, with just three months until 2008. If the flag carrier Garuda want to paint a 'VIY 2009' logo on their aircraft that will require three months. If the Government is only prepared to announce its program at the end of this year, how can the tourism industry possibly play a role?"
Elimination of Fiscal Tax to Impact Bali Tourism
Tourism Community Concerned that Indonesian Domestic Travelers May Forsake Bali When Rp. 1 Million Fiscal is Eliminated in 2010.
As reported on balidiscovery.com the Government has announced its intention to eliminate by 2010 the Rp. 1 million (approximately US$106) fiscal tax charged each time an Indonesian national or resident travels abroad. [See: Fiscal Tax to End?]
While the promised change is widely welcomed by many Indonesians and their ASEAN neighbors who insist the current tax restricts free movement and regional trade, elements of Indonesia's tourism community have begun expressing their concerns for what effect the change in policy will have on domestic tourism.
The Chief of Tourism for Denpasar's Tourism office, Drs. I Putu Budiasa, told BisnisBali that the removal of the fiscal tax will cause domestic tourists now coming to Bali to move their holiday destination abroad.
With domestic tourism estimated to comprise 52-54% of Bali's tourism business local hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions have become dependent on the income produced by Indonesian visitors. Cheap regional airfares offered by low-cost carriers and the removal of the fiscal tax have many tourism companies worried that Indonesians may find the draw of an overseas holiday too strong to resist.
To illustrate the argument, Bisnis Bali points out that the prices for a short holiday in Bali or Singapore, including airfare and hotels, are similarly priced at Rp. 2.5 million (approximately US$270). It is feared that the 2010 elimination of the fiscal tax will remove current price disincentive for Indonesians holidaying abroad, thereby drawing an important business segment away from Bali.
Here's that Rainy Day
Bali's Weather Forecasters Predict a Return to Normal Rain Patterns for 2007-2008.
Higher levels of rainfall have been predicted for Bali's coming "rainy season," which will typically runs from October through April.
The Head of Bali's Meteorology and Geophysics Department (BMG), Drs. Widada Sulistya, told the Bali Post "this year this is no 'El Nino' so we're hoping for more rainfall than last year," referring to the El Niņo-Southern Oscillation - a periodic significant fluctuation in surface water temperatures which results in drought in many areas of the Pacific.
Sulistiya recently told the Bali Post that the BMG does not expect delays to the start of this year's rainy season and that sea temperatures are rising which will result in more more cloud formation and rainfall in Bali.
Here's that Rainy Day
Metereologists divide Bali into 13 separate rainfall regions, each with its own timetable for the start of the coming rain season. Bali's western shores and central region are due to welcome the rainy season in October. Bali's southern and easterm regions can expect "the rains" to start anytime during the entire month of November. And the Island's North and Nusa Penida are predicted to start their rainy season in December of 2007.
Rainfall is expected in average amounts for much of Bali in the coming year. However, the eastern and southern areas of Karansasem and the island of Nusa Penida are slated for above average levels of precipitation. Meanwhile areas in Buleleng's north and southern regions, the northern and eastern parts of Jembrana, and Bangli's north - can expect slightly diminished rainfals levels in the coming year.The remaining parts of the Island are expected to experience rainfall amounts within average ranges.
Vice President Calls for Firing of Bali Immigration Officer
Letter from Australian Tourist Causes Suspension of Bali Immigration Officer and Prompts Inspection Visit by Vice President Jusuf Kalla at Bali's Airport.
An angry complaint from an Australian tourist regarding his run in with a corrupt immigration officer at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport on September 16, 2007 precipitated a surprise visit by Indonesia's Vice President Jusuf Kalla to Bali's Airport on September 26th and a public demand that the immigration officer, Nanang Yunanto, be fired.
In a widely circulated letter from Geoff and Dorothy Longhurst is told the harrowing tale of how JetStar failed to adequately screen passports on one of their Bali-bound flights, allowing Mrs. Longhurst to board a flight with less than the mandatory 6 month's remaining validity in her passport. In fact, Ms. Longhurst arrived in Bali with only 5 months and 2 weeks remaining in her passport. As a result, Dorothy faced the prospect of denied entry to Indonesia and immediate deportation back to Australia.
According to the letter, the Longhurst's were ushered into a side office at the airport where an immigration officer, identified as Nanang Yunanto, offered to resolve their immigration problem for an unofficial fee of US$4,000, later lowered to US$2,000.
In the end, according to the letter, the officer became abusive and the Longhurts were compelled to return to Australia on the next flight.
Incensed at the crass behavior of the immigration officer, Bali tourism leaders brought the Longhurt's letter to the attention of ranking immigration officials in Bali who, to their credit, relived Yunanto of his Bali post, assigning the man outside the island for eventual disposition by National immigration officials.
While Indonesia's Vice President, Jusuf Kalla was in Bali to open the PATA Conference, he paid a surprised visit on the Airport immigration office were he demanded that Yunanto be fired for his alleged extortion against the Australian tourists. Kalla told the local press, "Make an official ceremony and take stern action; openly fire him and announce it to the mass media."
Said to be incensed over the action of the immigration officer, the Vice President characterized the action by Yunanto as "unforgivable" requiring that the erring government official be made a public example for the purpose of educating other civil servants.
The Director General of Immigration promised Vice President Kalla that one the investigation against Yunanto is completed and his guilt documented he would be compelled to attend a mass assembly of immigration officers to be stripped of his rank and uniform as part of his dismissal process from the immigration service.
During his visit to the airport in Bali, Kalla also called for higher levels of service to international passengers and faster processing time at immigration counters.
Garuda Opens Service Center at Nusa Dua
Indonesian Carrier Expected to Handle More than 2 Million Domestic and International Passengers in Bali in 2007.
In order to improve customer service in Bali, Garuda Indonesia opened a new Service Center inside the Nusa Dua Complex on Wednesday, September 26, 2007.
The Service Center provides integrated support to the Airline's passengers through supplying reservation, ticketing, city check-in and general information services.
Officiating at the opening of the Service Center, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism heralded the facility as a demonstration of Garuda's growing commitment to its customers.
The Executive Vice President of Garuda, Arya R. Suryono told the press that Bali remains a priority destination for Garuda with nearly one million passengers carried on domestic and international flights to and from Bali during the first half of 2007.
Given the strong start to the year and continuing positive business trends Suryono is confident that more than 2 million tourist will be handled by Garuda in Bali in the current year.
The Road to Bali
By all Accounts - the 30th Annual PATA Travel Mart in Bali was a Rousing Success.
The 30th Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart was held in Bali September 25-28, 2007, at the Bali International Convention Center (BICC).
Attracting a record number of buyers and sellers from around the world and requiring additional tented space to sccomodate 4,294 meters of exhibitor space, the Mart was officially opened by Indonesia's Vice-President Jusuf Kalla who echoed the popular sentiment that the hosting of the major travel event in Indonesia signaled the return of full-recovery to Bali's and Indonesia's travel industry following two tragic terrorist attacks.
PATA's CEO, Peter de Jong, confirmed "Bali was back" saying: "We're very pleased that Bali has been well-received and its hotels are getting full again. It's even a problem getting rooms for some of our board members attending the meetings at the end of this week."
The Bali event's success following the succesful Mart last year in Hong Kongis also seen as a vindication of PATA's decision to return to a rotating program of international destinations within the Asia-Pacific region. That decision followed a hiatus that saw efforts to permanently base the event in Singapore flounder.
PATA Travel Mart 2008 will be held in Hyberabad, India in September 2008.
Show on balidiscovery.com are some snap shots taken during a gala opening night for PATA Mart held at Bali's "Garuda Wisnu Kencana" Cultural Park.
Click Images to Enlarge
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - You're Dead!
It's Final: Indonesian Supreme Court Confirms Death Sentences for All 3 Bali Bombers.
As reported on balidiscovery.com [He's Got to Walk that Lonesome Valley], the Indonesian Supreme Court ruled on October 12, 2007, that Bali bombing terrorist Amrozi had exhausted the appeal process and was now destined to die before a firing squad for his role in the October 12, 2002, bombing that claimed 202 lives. Days after rendering that decision, the Indonesian Supreme Court also ruled that Amrozi's accomplices - Iman Samudra and Ali Gufron were without further appeal steps and are therefore irretrievably destined for execution for their crimes.
The final written decision of the Supreme Court must be sent to Bali prosecutors, where the original trial took place, who will then commence the administrative steps leading to the executions, now estimated to take place early in 2008. While many Bali leaders have expressed the desire that the 3 prisoners be returned from the imprisonment in Java for execution in Bali, Indonesia's former Attorney General issued orders stipulating the firing squad would be convened on a lonely beach in Java near the three's current island prison. It is also unclear if the three will be executed as a group or individually.
Winning widespread praise for the police investigation and prosecution of terrorist, the Indonesian courts have been relentless in prosecuting those connected to the 2002 bombing, sentencing three to death row, two to life imprisonment and more than 30 others to extended jail terms.
Mel Gibson Co-Stars with Shirley Temple in Bali?
Hollywood Superstar Mel Gibson Causes an International Media Storm Following a Visit to a Bali Nightspot.
When not reaping headlines in connection with his latest film project, Mel Gibson sometimes grabs less flattering coverage, as he did in July 2006 for blathering racist expletives during an arrest for drunk driving in California.
Now, just coming off a court-ordered year-long recovery program that stipulated weekly attendance at Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, Mel's been In Bali for a holiday visit. The 51 year-old actor was reported by the social columnist of the Bali Times to be in very fine spirits during his stay; engaging in table-top dancing and adult sofa jumping at a local nightspot, creating scenes reminiscent of Tom Cruise's now-immortal Oprah Winfrey appearance.
Bourbon Renewal in Kerbokan?
The incident and Mel's state of "overly joyous holiday abandon" occurred during an evening out at The Living Room Restaurant in Kerobokan and has prompted speculation in the international media that Mel may have "tippled" off the wagon on the road to sobriety during his Bali visit.
However, a spokesman for the Actor was quick to launch a pre-emptive strike, insisting Mel remains "dry" and "high" and was only drinking one of those fruity, non-alcoholic mocktails while in Bali.
As Mel will testify, sipping a Shirley Temple in Bali can be lethal to your reputation.
Hey, Mel, was that two umbrellas and a maraschino cherry?
Farewell San Michele
After 40 Years, Australia's San Michele Travel Closes its Doors.
On September 20, 2007, a worsening business situation forced Sydney's San Michele Travel to cease trading after more than 4 decades of providing Asian holidays to the Australian public.
Founded in 1966 by John Forsyth and his wife, Aileen, the company was sold to Ian Norris in April 2004. Prior to the acquisition, Norris served as an executive with Garuda Orient Holiday in Sydney.
Plagued by declining Australian traffic after the second Bali terrorist attack in 2005, the company, which pioneered travel to Bali, also suffered losses caused by the closure of Air Paradise International in November 2005. In efforts to continue operations the company ceased wholesale operations in May 2006, down-scaling to a retail travel shop with a sole office in Sydney.
Travel industry sources say a recent court decision compelling San Michele to pay a $30,000 creditors claim in connection with the 2002 collapse of Ansett prompted the final decision to stop trading. Complicating the financial condition of the Company were recent increases in insurance premiums.
Passengers visiting the San Michele website are directed to contact Bradd Morelli at ++61-(0)2-9236 8333.
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