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Sanur Raya No. 27
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Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #968 - 23 March 2015


What’s All the Fuss About Security?
President Questions If Granting Visa-Free Facility to More Countries Will Jeopardize National Security

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has admitted that his Country still has some distance to go within the context of creating openness to other nations.
As reported by, the President was surprised to learn that Indonesia only extends visa-free visits to the citizens of 15 countries. “Compare (us) to other countries that (grant visa) to 150 countries, we are just doing 15,” said the President at the State Palace on Thursday, March 19, 2015.
The President pointed to Indonesia’s neighbors of Malaysia and Thailand who have large totals of foreign visitors due to their readiness to grant free visas to a large number of countries.
The President said that neighboring competing countries are granting visa-free visits to some 160 nations.
Addressing concerns raised in some quarters in Indonesia that extending a visa-free facility to a large number of countries would somehow jeopardize national security; the President questioned these concerns saying that neighboring nations granting such facilities seem unaffected.

“Other countries give visas to 150 countries and their security remains undisturbed,” the President said.

Bali’s Island Getaway
NusaBay Lembongan Resort by Waka Hotels on Nusa Penida Island Refurbished and Open for Business

The refurbishment of the NusaBay Lembongan Resort by Waka Hotel and Resorts is now completed resulting in a splendid three-star beachfront resort on Mushroom Bay at Nusa Lembongan Island.
rt, located on Bali’s near off-short island neighbor of Nusa Penida, boasts ten thatched-roof circular Lanai Cottages, a swimming pool, a massage pavilion, an all-day dining beachside restaurant and a beach club offering glass bottom boat trips and snorkeling.
vation that commenced in June 2014 has seen an extensive upgrading program that include replacement of bathroom taps, shower heads and in-room mini bar refrigerators; new electronic safes, curtains and mosquito nets in all rooms; replacement of thatched roofs on all Lanai Cottages and Gazebos; upgrading the swimming pool tiles; new sun-loungers and umbrellas at the pool deck; new pathways to Lanai Cottages and an intensive supplementation of the Resort’s greenery.
The seven-month refurbishment of the resort has cost more than US$100,000.
As a result, each Lanai Cottage is now individually air-conditioned and Wi-Fi enabled.
Guest activities have also been enhanced with the introduction of a variety of dive packages for both beginner and experienced divers operated in cooperation with the PADI qualified Blue Corner Dive Company.

Inspired by nature and the surrounding culture of Nusa Penida, NusaBay Lembongan by WHM is reminiscent of a small island hamlet sheltered in a coconut grove.
NusaBay Lembongan by WHM

The Rewards of Reciprocity
Indonesian Tourism Minister Explains that Australians will Receive Visa-Free Status when Indonesians Enjoy Same Courtesy in Australia

When Indonesia initially announced in October 2015 plans to include Australia in an expanded list of countries to be extended a visa-free facility, only to later remove Australia from the list of new visa-free countries, many saw the move as retaliation against Australia who has been highly critical of plans to execute two convicted Australian drug smugglers.
As reported by International Business Times, the Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has taken pains to explain that Australia’s removal from the expanded visa-free list had nothing whatsoever to do with the current state of tense relations between Canberra and Jakarta linked to imminent execution of Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Yahya said Australia’s removal from consideration for visa-free status was simply a matter of reciprocity. The Indonesian Tourism Minister explained: "If we give visa-free travel to Australia, we have to be given the same thing. It cannot be that we give it to them first.”  
Continuing, Yahya said: “I can guarantee that if the Australian government wants [to agree to visa-free travel], that the foreign minister and president will almost definitely want it too.”
Indonesia is preparing to expand it current list of 15 nations eligible for visa-free stays in Bali to 45 in order to increase tourism flows.
Australians, meanwhile, can receive a 30-day visa-on-arrival in Indonesia after paying a fee of US$35 per person.
Despite the US$35 fee, Australian remains the single largest source of foreign visitors to Bali.

Thirst on Tropical Beaches
Badung Regency Tourism Chief Calls for Review of Ban on Sales of Beer at Bali Convenience Stores and Beaches

DenPost reports that the Badung Tourism Service in Bali is asking the Indonesian Department of Trade to review and revise Ministerial Regulation Number 6 of 2015 that will severely limit the distribution and sale of beer.
Under the new regulation slated for implementation in mid-April, beer can no longer be sold from convenience stores or from local vendors circulating on Bali’s beaches. After that date the regulation would limit the sale of beer to supermarkets, hypermarkets, bars and restaurants.
The head of the Badung Tourism Service (Kadisparda), Tjokorda Raka Darmawan, on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, commenting on the new regulation said: “The impact (of the regulation) will not be immediate, but will certainly be strongly felt over the long term. If this is allowed to stand, tourist visitors (to Bali) can shift to other countries, such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.”

Darmawan said the regency of Badung is targeting a 5% increase in tourist visitors in 2015.

Citing the popularity of cold beer among the citizens of major markets to Bali, Darmawan added: "If this (beer) is outlawed or its distribution limited, this will certainly affect their enjoyment. The total number of visitors from Australia to Bali has now achieved one million or around 80,000 Australian visitors per month, many of whom like this beverage (beer). Because of this, the government needs to review the rules and tourism areas should be exempted.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by the chairman of Commission II of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung), Nyoman Satria. Insisting that beer with less than 5% alcohol does not make people drunk, said: “It would be better if the Government focused more on controlling local alcoholic beverages such as home-made 'arak' that has not been studied by the Ministry of Health. Regulations from the Minister of Trade must meet the aspirations and protect the people and not only seen from a narrow perspective.”

Bali Gets its Own Search & Rescue Ship
40-meter Rescue Boat KN Arjuna Now Based at Bali’s Benoa Harbor

The head of the National Search and Rescue Corps (Basarnas), Air Vice-Marshall Bambang Sulistyo, has formally launched a 40-meter long search-and-rescue vessel in Bali on Wednesday, March 18, 2015.
The ship, based at Bali’s Benoa Harbor, was christened as the KN Arjuna with the hull number of 229. Powered by three 1,400 horsepower engines capable of a speed of 30 knots, the 126-ton vessel is one of five similar search and rescue ships launched by Indonesia since 2014.
The ship was manufactured in Indonesia by PT Karimun Sejati.

“All these (SAR) vessel were built by Indonesians. It all constructed from domestic products at an international standard of quality,” said Sulistyo.
The remaining four search and rescue vessels are based in Medan, Padang, Manado and Batam. The locations were chosen by the government based on their proximity to areas prone to sea disasters.

“Each vessel is being coordinated under the search and rescue offices in their respective areas. This, however, does not preclude the possibility that when a disaster occurs in another region these ships might be deployed to those locations,” the air vice-marshal explained.

Bali has received a search and rescue vessel because of its prominence and strong potential as a water tourism location.

Basarnas now operates 57 ships located across the nation. The five new search and rescue ships have been built at a cost of Rp. 200 billion (US$16 million).

Basarnas operates with an annual budget of Rp. 2.1 trillion (US$168 million).

A Dozen Million
Tourism Minister Targets 12 Million Foreign Tourist Visitors in 2015

Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya has announced that he is endeavoring to transform Indonesian tourism in order to quickly achieve a large increase in national tourism arrivals.

Optimistic that his efforts will be successful, Yahya has set a national target of 12 million foreign tourists in 2015, an increase of 27.65% over the 9.4 million tourist visitors that came to Indonesian in 2014.

Quoted by on Thursday, March 19, 2015, Yahya said: “In 2015 we are bold to set the target of a bold jump to 12 million, and by 2019 we must surpass 20 million foreign tourists. That’s an average annual increase of 16% - a target that is very optimistic.”

Yahya, who, before becoming Tourism Minister, headed the marketing team at PT Telkom Indonesia, admits that the tourism targets he has set are very high. But, at the same time, he insists his targets are achievable.

Bali: Where Ronny Rules the Roost
General Ronny Franky Sompie Takes Command of the Bali Police

Bali’s new Chief of Police, Inspector General Ronny Franky Sompie received a traditional Balinese welcome when he arrived at the provincial police headquarters on Thursday, March 19, 2015.

Leading the welcome was the outgoing Chief of Police for Bali Inspector General Albertus Julius Benny Mokalu accompanied by the Deputy Chief of Police and members of the Bali police command.
As reported by, the spokesman for the Bali Provincial Police Headquarters, Police Commissioner Hery Wiyanto, said, “It has become a traditional for the Bali Police to welcome their new chief of police in accordance with the traditional culture of Bali.”

During the welcome at Bali Police Headquarters, the outgoing Chief of Police General Benny Mokalu gave General Ronny a floral garland. This was followed by a blessing with sacred waters and was escorted to the parade ground by Balinese dancers, including male dancers dressed to resemble the Monkey-King Hanoman of Hindu legend.

Prior to assuming command at the Bali Police, General Ronny served as national spokesperson at National Police Headquarters.

Outgoing General Benny Mokalu has been assigned to a senior post at Police Headquarters.

On Thursday evening, March 19, 2015, a formal welcome reception was held at the Hotel Discovery Kartika Plaza in Bali.

Related Article

Change of Command at Bali Police

The Greatest Journeys Start Within
‘Interior Journey’ – a Painting Exhibition by Made Mangku Mahendra at The Pullman Legian Nirwana in Bali

Through May 17, 2015 Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana presents “Interior Journey” an art exhibition by I Made Mahendra Mangku.
Bali in 1972, Made Mahendra Mangku is a graduate of the Fine Arts Faculty of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI) in Yogyakarta. He has held numerous successful solo and group exhibitions throughout Indonesia, the U.S.A., Singapore, Germany, and Hong Kong.

His works now form part of important private collections and have earned numerous awards from ISI Yogyakarta and from the Ministry of Art and Culture (1998). Mahendra was a finalist in the Philip Morris International Art Awards (1996).

For I Made Mahendra Mangku the act of painting is an interior journey. Starting from one point of departure on a piece of canvas or paper Mangku embarks on a journey in a world of lines and colors. This is a journey with no specific destination. The journey is what matters. Each interior journey ends when Mahendra decides a canvas is completed. Employing a painting method he calls “wandering” Mangku creates images that have no predetermination and lacking in any fixed point of origin.

Made Mahendra is a natural-born-artist. He shows his artwork locally and internationally since 1992. In collaboration with Tony Raka Gallery in Bali he has gained many fans and new lovers of abstract paintings.

“Interior Journey” is the sixth art exhibition by Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana in relation to the on-going development of art within the region.

Interior Journey
Paintings by I Made Mahednra Mangku
At the Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana
Through May 17, 2015

Bali – the Director’s Cut
Balinale – Bali Film Festival 2015 Returns for 9th Edition September 24-30, 2015. First Call for Film Submissions.

Balinale 2015 - The Bali International Film Festival returns for its ninth year September 24-30, 2015 at a new location for the showcasing of  a weeklong event of Indonesian and foreign award-winning feature films, documentaries and short films.

The 2015 festival looks to further expand and strengthen on the global recognition earned by Balinale over the past eight years with an even grander festival of award winning films, movie premieres, attendance by film professionals, and creative & educational programs.

As in the past, showcasing outstanding Indonesian films in a common forum with internationally acclaimed foreign films has served as an important platform for Indonesian films.

Last year, BALINALE screened 60 films from 18 countries including 3 world premieres attended by over 40 celebrities, filmmakers and studio executives.

The 2015 Balinale will move to the newly opened Cinemaxx located at the Lippo Mall Kuta on Jalan Kartika Plaza. The state-of-the-art five studio multiplex is capable of showing 2D, 3D, as well as, Cinemaxx Gold VIP cinema.

PT Cinemaxx Global Pacific, the owners of the Cinemaxx in Bali, has signed a three-year contract with Balinale to serve as the festival’s official venue partner.

Part of a national cinema chain operated by the Lippo Group in Indonesia, Balinale will be publicized and promoted at cinemas nationwide in the lead up to the festival.

Balinale – Bali Film Festival is now open for submissions by Indonesian and International Film makers.

Balinale Bali Film Festival Website

45 Countries Granted Free Visas in 2015
Indonesia increases number of Countries Eligible for Visa-On-Arrival to 45

In an announcement published by the State Secretariat the Indonesian Minister of the Economy, Sofyan Jalail, announced on Monday, March 16, 2015 that 30 more countries would soon be added to those nations whose citizens are eligible for a free 30-day visa when visiting Indonesia.

The new visa policy forms part of a packet of economic measures aimed to stimulate the national economy.

Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has revealed the list of new countries to be eligible for free visa under the revised immigration policy:

1. The Peoples Republic of China
2. Japan
3. South Korea
4. U.S.A.
5. Canada
6. New Zealand
7. Mexico
8. Russia
9. United Kingdom
10. Germany
11. France
12. The Netherlands
13. Italy
14. Spain
15. Switzerland
16. Belgium
17. Sweden
18. Austria
19. Denmark
20. Norway
21. Finland
22. Poland
23. Hungary
24. Czechoslovakia
25. Qatar
26. United Arab Emirates
27. Kuwait
28. Bahrain
29. Oman
30. South Africa

Commenting on the new policy. Yahya said, “Free visa is one of the easiest means to increase.”

Prior to the announcement of the new policy, the fifteen countries grated free visa on arrival in Indonesia were: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, Chile, Morocco, Peru, Vietnam, Ecuador, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

“After adding 30 countries, the total of visa-free countries becomes 45. We hope that this policy will improve service as people (from these countries) will no longer need to be bothered with obtaining a visa,” explained Yahya.

The government also expressed the hope that by adding 30 countries to the visa-free-on-arrival list that the number of tourist arrivals to Indonesia will be increased.

Arief Yahya continued: “We hope that there will be an increase in foreign tourist arrivals of around 1 million that if converted to foreign exchange generated equal US$1 billion, because every foreign tourist spends and average US$1,200. I have been conservative and estimated only US$1,000 (in expenditures) by each visitor.”

The omission of Australia from the list of visa-free countries has been separately explained by the Minister as the result of the Australian government’s failure to extend free visas to Indonesian visitors to their country. This, however, appears to be an inconsistent argument as there are several countries in the list of nations newly given visa-free status by Indonesia who still demand that Indonesians apply and pay for a visa before making a visit.

3 Months Jail for Russian Thief
Maria Savateeva Given ‘Time Served’ for Shoplifting in Kuta Beachwalk Shop in Bali

Maria Savateeva also known as Natalia Kozlova (31), a Russian national, was sentenced in a Denpasar Courtroom to 3 months in prison on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 in the failed theft of a bag from a store in Kuta Beachwalk.

The woman, who told the court she suffers from a bipolar disorder, tried to steal a knapsack from a store on December 30, 2015 when shop attendants and security guards caught her as she tried to flee the scene.

Expected to be freed shortly for time served while awaiting trial, Savateeva told the court she deeply regretted her crime, accepted the verdict of the court and would not appeal.

Related Article

The Fate of a Russian Bag Lady

Balinese Culture: On the Extinction List?
Badung Government Working to Reverse Decline of Balinese Cultural Traditions

The Culture Department of the Badung Regency in Bali has identified 15 cultural traditions that are nearing extinction due to a lack of interest in their preservation and practice by Bali’s younger generation.

The State News Agency Antara quotes the head of Badung’s Culture Department, Ida Bagus Anom Basma, saying, “A number of cultural traditions are virtually extinct, a part of which are sacred rituals that can only be performed during specific religious rites.”

According to Basma, among the threatened ritual traditions are the Baris Kraras, Wayang Wong and a number of other sacred performances. Basma bemoaned that Bali’s younger generations has little interest in studying and preserving such rites.

The cultural chief also admitted that changing times and the temptations of modern life have resulted in diminished interest in traditional Balinese culture. To try to reverse this trend, the Badung Regency has budgeted Rp. 25 billion (US$ 2 million) to help promote the preservation of these vanishing art forms.

The subject funds will be used to purchase costumes, musical instruments and other supports. At the same time, Badung officials are making regular field inspections across the region to survey and monitor the state of cultural rites and performances.

Giving Young Indonesians the Business
Entrepreneurship Expo to be Held in Bali April 9-13, 2015

The State News Agency Antara reports that the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) Ministry will host an Entrepreneurship Expo in Bali April 9-13, 2015.

Prakoso Budi Susteyo, the SME Ministry’s deputy for human resources said: "The expo will display products of successful entrepreneurs who have been able to enhance their capabilities, and it is expected to inspire other entrepreneurs."

Seeking to inspire an entrepreneurial spirit among young business people. The Ministry seeks to promote employment via seminars at universities across the nation.

Quantity Before Quality
Tourism Expert Warns More Tourists Does not Guarantee Proportionate Rise in Tourism Expenditures carried the warning from an Indonesian tourism expert that plans by the government to add 30 countries to the visa-free list for Indonesia is no guarantee that the much-need foreign exchange generated form tourism in crease significantly.

Dr. Jajang Gunawijaya of the University of Indonesia in an interview on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, when asked if a sudden increase in foreign tourist numbers will bring a corresponding increase in foreign exchange, said: “You can look at it that way and, indeed, if tourists bring an average US$1,000 each then 1 million tourist will bring US$1 billion in foreign exchange. My concern is that the tourist will only be using their loose change.”

Dr. Gunawijaya is concerned that the liberalized visa rules for Indonesia will not necessarily attract high-spending foreign tourists.

Elaborating further, the tourism academic said: “The free visa will certainly stimulate tourists (arrival) – that’s positive. But in terms of attracting quality tourists – I am pessimistic.”

Explaining what he meant by “quality tourists”, Jajang said the term applies to people with large amounts of disposable income from the middle to upper class, well-educated, interested in Indonesia’s culture and natural resources, and seeking to stay in Indonesia for an extended holiday.

“Quality tourists will use good accommodation and eat in a better standard of restaurants. They will stay longer in our country. Say, a week in Bali, then to Yogyakarta for 3 days with a further stop at Raja Ampat. The longer they stay the more they spend,” said Jajang.

Jajang warned that the free visa policy might prove more interesting for backpackers. But, unfortunately, backpackers are very thrift minded and spend minimal amounts when they travel.

“They use what every money they have at their disposal. They stay at small inns or in the homes of the local community. They travel about on foot. Let’s not let the free visa policy have less than optimal effect because it attracts low quality tourists,” said Jajang.

Birth Behind Bars
Chicago Teenager in Jail and on Trial for Murder in Bali Gives Birth to a Baby Girls

The 19-year-old daughter of a Chicago socialite on trial with her 21-year-old boyfriend for the murder of her Mother in a South Bali hotel has given birth while under police detention.

Heather Lois Von Weise gave birth by caesarian section to a baby girl at Bali’s Sanglah General Hospital on Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

The woman, being held at Bali’s Kerobokan prison with her boyfriend and presumed father of the child Tommy Schaefer, was rushed to the Hospital when she went into labor.

Heather Lois Von Weise and Tommy Schaefer are standing trial in Denpasar charged with the premeditated murder of Sheila Anne Von Weise (64) on August 12, 2014.

While Schaefer has told the Court he killed the grandmother of his child in self-defense after being told his child would be aborted, he originally told police that the woman was killed by terrorists who forced their way into the Hotel. Police uncovered the death when Schaeffer and the younger Von Weise tried to smuggle the woman’s body out of the hotel in a bloody suitcase and into a waiting taxicab.

Heather Lois Von Weise who, together with Tommy Schaeffer could receive the death penalty for their crime, has said she will nurse and raise her infant daughter behind the walls of Kerobokan prison.

The trial of the couple continues in Bali.

Related Article

Chicago Lovers Come Clean in Bali

Our Islands Aren’t Moveable
West Nusa Tenggara Governor Says ‘No” to Plans to Mine Sand from West Lombok to Reclaim Bali’s Benoa Bay

The Jakarta Globe Reports the controversial Benoa Bay Reclamation Project has run into another obstacle as the West Nusa Tenggara government has refused a requests from Tirta Wahana Bali International (TWBI) to be allowed to dredge 23 million cubic meters of sand from Lombok and deposit it in South Bali.

The West Nusa Tenggara Governor Zainul Majdi said on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, that the “disadvantages outweighed the advantages’ of the proposed sand mining exercise.

Approval for the controversial project was rushed through via a decree signed in the waning days of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s presidency that saw land originally declared as protected mangrove conservation areas re-designated for commercial development.

Conservationists and environmentalists have staged demonstrations and protests calling into question the 2012 decree by Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika authorizing TWBI – a company controlled by Indonesian business tycoon Tommy Winata – saying the project will do irreparable harm to environmentally critical mangrove areas that buffer Bali’s southern coast.

Pastika eventually withdrew the original permit issued to TWBi but authorized the company to conduct feasibility studies for the reclamation project.

Meanwhile, environmental impact studies conducted by experts at Udayana University refute the analysis of other experts who endorse the project.

In what was seen as a public relation's slight of hand by Winata, European football legend Christiano Ronaldo was named a “mangrove ambassador” and flew into Bali to pose with himself and then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for the press at a tree planting ceremony in the same mangrove forest that will be largely obliterated by Winata's development project.

TWBI seeks to reclaim more than 700 hectares of bottomlands in Benoa Bay to build hotels, a convention center and entertainment complex.

Protestors say the rights and economic futures of fisherman who live on Benoa Bay are being ignored by the project and question the selection of TWBI to undertake such an environmentally sensitive project given the less than exemplary adherence to environmental and cultural benchmarks at other projects in Bali controlled by the principals of TWBI.

Governor Zainul has formally filed a letter rejecting plans by TWBI to excavate with the Forest and Environment Ministry’s Center for Environmental Impact Analysis.

“We want to guard this area so we can pass it on to the next generation. Therefore, we won’t permit anything that can destroy the environmental quality in West Nusa Tenggara,” Zainul said.

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Hearing Only What We Want to Hear
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Plans to Reclaim Bali’s Benoa Bay Cancelled

The Governor’s Side of the Story
Fancy Footwork by Ronaldo?

When Good Friday Gets Even Better
Local and International Artists to Auction Art to Educate Balinese Children on Good Friday, April 3, 2015

On Good Friday evening, April 3, 2015, a group of local and international artists from the Positive Negative Visual Gallery will join forces to raise funds the Bali Children’s Foundation.

The Foundation provides educational scholarships to disadvantaged children endeavoring to open a lifetime of growth and long-term sustainability for those they assist.

“The inaugural Good Friday Gratitude event will raise funds to give precious education to those kids who have the greatest struggle on the island while showing some of Bali’s most acclaimed artists along with outstanding international names too,” says Gallery owner Ngurah Nuaba and partner Debbie Amelsvoort.

Every collector who buys a canvas valued at over AU$1,500 will automatically sponsor a child’s education for 12 months through the Foundation. For works priced below AUD1,500 - a 20 per cent will be allocated to a group fund to sponsor additional children.

Positive Negative Visual Gallery and the Bali Children’s Foundation are targeting to secure at least 20 scholarships from the Good Friday Gratitude Exhibition.

Among the artists participating in the event are Australian artist Geoff Todd, Balinese artist Wayan Wirawan, Australian Janette Lucas, New Yorker Tracy Hamer, Russian artist Alexandrov and three distinguished Balinese artists – Ni Nyoman Sani, I Made Somadita and Le Kung.

Cocoon Beach Club is a major supporter of the event that will be held from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm on April 3, 2015 , which is open to the public. Canapés and wine will be served.

For more information or to obtain a catalogue of works on offer prior please (Email). 

Bali Children’s Foundation Website

The Positive Negative Visual Gallery on Face Book

Reduced Thirst for Power
PLN-Bali Report Significant Drop in Electrical Power Demand During Nyepi Celebrations

The Bali State Power Board (PLN-Bali) recorded that Bali’s electrical power demand declined 216.5 Megawatts during the 24-hours of enforced silence and inactivity of the Nyepi Holiday on Saturday, March 21, 2015.

The senior manager for corporate communication for PLN, Bambang Dwiyanto, based in Jakarta said that at 7:00 pm Eastern Indonesian Time (WITA) on Saturday the power demand of Bali touched 478.7 Megawatts.

“The power loading in the evening was only 487.7 Megawatts, declining 216.5 Megawatts when compared to peak evening loads one week before on Saturday, March 14, 2015 that stood at 695.2 Megawatts,” said Dwiyanto.

Meanwhile the peak load on Saturday at 15:30 WITA was 417.5 Megawatts. That rate of consumption was 165.9 megawatts less than the 637.4 Megawatts recorded one week before on March 14, 2015 at the same hour.

Dwiyanto said that the observance of Hari Raya Nyepi Saka 1937 sees the Hindu residents of Bali retire from all daily activities resulting in a significant drop in electrical use.

Cleared of Landings and Takeoffs
422 Domestic and International Flights Cancelled in Bali During Nyepi – Bali’s Day of Silence

Bali’s busy Ngurah Rai International Airport was closed for 24-hours during the Hari Raya Nyepi Tahun Baru Caka 1937 on Saturday, March 21, 2015.

Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, I Gusti Ngurah Ardita, the co-general manager of PT Angkasa Pura I the Company that manages the Bali airport, said, “The closure of the airport has been done routinely since the year 2000 with the airport is completely closed for 24 hours during Nyepi.”

The closure of the airport began at 6:00 am on Saturday morning, March 21, 2015 and lasted until 6:00 am the following morning.

During that period only emergency landing or medical flights were permitted at Bali’s main airport.

During the closure some 258 domestic flights operated by 10 national airlines and 164 international flights flown by 25 international airlines were canceled.

The last international flight to leave Bali prior to the shutdown was the 3:00 am departure on Saturday morning of a Korean Air flight bound for Incheon.

The first outbound flight on Sunday morning, March 22, 2105 was Garuda GA 401 that departed at 6:05 am for Jakarta.

Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport is one of the Nation’s busiest air gateways handling an average 47,370 domestic and international passengers each day.

In 2014 the Bali airport handled 17.3 million domestic and international passengers.

Less than 3 Months to BBTF 2015
President Joko Widodo to Host Welcoming Dinner for Those Attending Bali & Beyond Travel Fair June 10-14, 2015

The Bali & Beyond Travel Fair (BBTF) to be held in Nusa Dua, Bali June 10-14, 2015 is the second edition a business-to-business travel exposition designed to brings more international tourists to Indonesia.

Using Bali as the main draw of attraction, the organizers wish to use Bali’s established reputation as an international tourism destination to springboard interest to other Indonesian destinations such as Papua, Yogyakarta, Padang, West Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi and Sumatra.

Nearly 40% of all foreign tourists visiting Indonesia use Bali as their first stop.

The date for the BBTF 2015 is timed to coincide with the Bali Art Festival – the month-long annual celebration of Balinese dance, music and drama.

As reported by the State News Agency Antara, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya revealed the theme of the BBTF 2015 is: "See the Wonderful Indonesian Archipelago through Bali’s Natural Beauty."

Yahya continued, saying: "The implementation of the BBTF 2015 is special because President Joko Widodo will host a dinner for delegations comprising buyers and sellers.”

Some 325 travel buyers are expected in Bali to attend the event from the United States, European nations, Middle Eastern countries, South Africa, North and South Asia, India, ASEAN member nations, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Latin American countries.

370 sellers from hotels, travel agents and other tourism operators are expected at BBTF 2015, an increase from the 278 sellers participating in 2014.

Efforts are underway to encourage cruise operators to participate in BBTF 2015 in light of the growing infrastructure in Bali to facilitate visits by large cruise ships.

Bali and Beyond Travel Fair Website

Nyepi for the World
In a Tradition Unique to Bali, an Entire Island Suspends All Activity on ‘Nyepi’ for 24-Hours to Celebrate The Bali-Hindu New Year

The small island of Bali that is the home for nearly 4 million people, resembled a “ghost town” for 24-hours starting at sunrise on Saturday, March 21, 2015 as people stayed hidden behind closed doors to reflect on the start of a new year on the Bali-Hindu calendar - Tahun Baru Saka 1937.

Observed as a matter of law by all people including visitors to Bali – the devote Balinese Hindus observe four prohibitions for 24-hours starting from sunrise on Saturday morning refraining from: work and other activities (amati karya); lighting fires or lamps (amati geni); venturing forth from their homes (amati Lelungan); and earthly pleasure (amati Lelanguan).

Streets were deserted and silent across the island, punctuated only by the occasional barking dog or cackling chicken.

The only people to be found on public streets during Nyepi were pecalang – traditionally dressed security teams from local villages, who patrolled to strictly ensure no one violated the peace by venturing onto the roads, no visible lights were shining from dwellings that could be seen from the outside, and no one was creating noise.

A joint decree promising to honor the spirit of Hari Raya Nyepi was signed by the leaders of all the major religions practiced in Bali in the presence military, police and Ministry of Religion officials. That decree paved the way for local regulations that required both Hindus and non-Hindus to confirm to the rules and the spirit of Nyepi – and remain quietly at home during the 24-hour island wide curfew.

Ngurah Rai Airport

March 21 also marked the 17th time since 1999 that Bali’s airport ceased operations for 24-hours during Nyepi observances.

Also closed were all ports in Bali including: Benoa, Celukan Bawang, Gilimanuk, Tanah Ampo and Padangbai.

Whirlybird, Whirlybird, Where are You?
Bali Waiting for 2 Helicopters for Search and Rescue Operations

The head of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) for Bali, Air Vice-Marshall Bambang Sulistyo, speaking at the inauguration of a new Search and Rescue Ship in Bali revealed that the sole SAR helicopter based in Bali is old and no longer viable.

As reported by, Sulistyo said: “This helicopter is aged, and no longer suitable for flight. As a result, we are trying to obtain two new helicopters to be placed in Bali.”

The Search and Rescue Chief for Bali says Bali’s need for helicopters should be prioritized due to the high potential for disaster and the Island’s prominence as an international tourist destination.

While waiting for new helicopters, the Search and Rescue Team in Bali must make due with the existing aircraft that will be used sparingly. Bambang said, “Gradually we will ground the old helicopter and replace it with a new one.”

The eventual plan is for two “new” helicopters to be based in Bali for search and rescue work. These helicopters will, in fact, not be brand new but of more recent manufacture than the aged helicopter now in use. One of the “new” helicopters will come from Pangkalan Bun in South Kalimantan where it was recently used in the recovery of operation for the doomed AirAsia flight.

Nyepi Takes a Toll on Tolls
Bali Toll Road Estimated to Have Cost US$24,000 in Toll Fees Due to Nyepi Closure

Like the rest of Bali during the mandatory period of silence that accompanies Nyepi, Bali’s Mandara Toll Road was also shut during the first day of the Bali-Hindu New Year.

In observance of the period of silence, the Bali Mandara Toll Road closed for 31 hours from midnight on Friday, March 20th until 7:00 am on Sunday morning, March 22, 2105.

According to, the toll road closure cost its operators Jasa Marga Bali Toll some Rp. 300 million in toll fees (US$24,000).

Toll authorities estimate that some 41,000 vehicles travel over the toll road during a 24-hour period.

On the other hand, the closure of the toll road for 31-hours also resulted in a substantial saving in electrical cost. In an average month PT Jasamarga Bali Toll has an electrical bill of Rp. 300 million (US$24,000). Derived from this figure, toll authorities calculate they have saved Rp. 15 million (US$1,200) due to the Nyepi closure.

Bali Still in Fashion
Bali by the Numbers: No Sign of an Australian Boycott as Bali’s Arrival Figures for February Increase 21%

Tourists arrivals through the end of February 2015 continued to demonstrate strong growth in arrivals with 335,469 foreign tourists coming to Bali – a 21% improvement over February 2014 when 275,795 arrivals were recorded.
on a cumulative basis for the first two months of the year, foreign tourist arrivals to Bali totaled 637,217 - increasing 14.8% when compared to the first two months of 2014.

No Sign of an Australian Boycott Yet

Vigils and threats of a boycott of Bali in connection with the imminent execution of the two ringleaders of the Bali Nine aside, arrivals statistics for February provide no evidence of any downturn in Australian visitors to Bali.

Australian February arrivals hit 71,365 - up 13.85% over February 2014.

Australian arrivals for the first two months of 2105 are also up 16.76%.

China Boom Underway

A concentrated program of special charter flights between China and Bali operated by Garuda Indonesia and other airlines boosted Chinese arrivals by 64.49% to 93,922 in February. Year-to-date arrivals from China for January-February 2015 are up 33.71% as compared to January-February 2014.

Japan Looking Better

The Japanese market is, despite a recession, showing marked improvement. January-February 2015 arrivals ex-Japan are up 32.32%.

Malaysia and Singapore Arrivals Down

Malaysian arrivals for January-February 2015 have declined 15.77% while Singapore arrivals for the same period declined 9.65%.

Europe Performing Strongly

Arrivals from the United Kingdom for January-February 2015 increased 25.25%, with The Netherland up 21.26%, and France ahead 9.48%.


India is proving itself a real player in Bali tourism, quickly moving up to a position among the top ten inbound markets. Indian bookings boomed 47.52% for January-February 2015 over the same period in 2014.

Russian Market Ailing Badly

Russian arrivals to Bali are sick and getting sicker. Arrivals are down 42.36% for January-February 2015. Russia now ranks 14th among Bali arrivals, sliding from 9th in 2014 and 6th in 2013.

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