BALI UPDATE #383 - 12
Broome to Bali Flights
in March 2004
to Fly Once Each Week from Broome and Karratha.
AustAsia Airlines will soon connect
people living in the Pilbara and Kimberly regions
of Western Australia with Bali via a once weekly
service operating every Friday.
The flights will be operated with Boeing 737 aircraft
chartered from Merpati Nusantara Airlines.
Fares will be announced and reservations taken
starting from January 25, 2004, with the first
flight departing on Friday, March 5, 2004.
AustAsia Airlines currently operates
a once-weekly flight between Jakarta and Christmas
Island. The Airline is considering rerouting its
Christmas Island Flights to Bali with a timing
to link with the new Western Australia service.
Sri Chinmoy to Perform
in Bali January 17
World Famous Musical
and Spiritual Visionary in Free Peace Concert
As part of a 2.5 month tour of Indonesia, Sri
Chinmoy will perform in a free Peace Concert
on Saturday, January 17, 2004 at the Gedung
Ksirarnawa in Denpasar.
The concert performance, including appearances
by 500 of his students and followers, will present
the meditative compositions of the 72 year-old
world spiritual leader who has, on occasion, performed
on as many as 150 musical instruments in a single
During his most recent Indonesian tour, Sri Chinmoy
has appeared in Solo and Yogyakarta in Central
Java, including an appearance in the Solo Palace
of Sultan Pakubuwono XII where he received the
honor of being named an honorary member of the
Solo Royal Household. In Yogyakarta, Sri Chinmoy
prayed and performed at the foot of the Borobudur
temple, the world's largest Buddhist monument.
According to local organizers, the Bali concert
represents a personal tribute to Bali by Sri Chinmoy
to an island and people he much admires and his
effort to demonstrate the inherent peacefulness
of the Balinese people.
Sri Chinmoy's concert venues have also included
the Royal Albert Hall of London, New York's Lincoln
Center and Carnegie Hall, San Francisco's Davies
Hall, Tokyo's Nippon Budokan, and the Sydney Opera
100 North Bali Orphans
Paint Elephants During a Special Day at the Bali
Elephant Safari Park.
In the period leading up to the holiday season,
Nigel and Yani Mason, owners of the Bali
Elephant Safari Park
in Taro, played
host at the park to over 100 children from the
Dana Punia Orphanage
in Singaraja, North
The day, filled with food and drink and a special
"elephant show" for the kids was made especially
memorable when the children were put to work
painting a large bull elephant.
An artist form New York who specializes in elephant
painting was on hand to supervise the children
in the application of special paints. A most cooperative
and willing model, the bull elephant stood still
while he was given a 5-point star on his forehead;
his eyes were lined; his tusks accessorized with
colored rings; and a ceremonial carpet was painted
on his back and sides.
Painting an elephant is messy work and it's understandable
if some of the kids ended up wearing only slightly
less paint than the elephant. Fortunately, the
paint is water-soluble, a fact the elephant proved
when it soon took a bath in the Park's pool and
the children discovered later during a "scrub
up" back home at the orphanage.
Millionaires in Bali
Client Appears on U.S. Game Show 'Who Wants To
Be a Millionaire.'
Last Summer, American Scott Mandell visited the
island of Bali with some friends booking local
arrangements and guides through balidiscovery.com.
Shortly after his visit, Scott wrote to tell us
how happy he was with the service of our guide
Budi and the assistance provided by Bali
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
In October following his return to the U.S.A.,
Scott was invited to participate as a contestant
on the famous TV Game Show Who Wants to
Be a Millionaire (WWTBAM). Scott's appearance
was broadcast nationally on Monday, January 5,
2004, where he vied for a chance to go home a
millionaire. When WWTBAM's host,
Meredith Viera asked Scott what he might do if
he won the grand prize of US$ 1 million he replied,
"I was in Bali for two weeks this past summer
and if I win the money, I want to take my mother
back to Bali with me for two weeks this coming
Alas, Scott didn't manage to make it to the millionaire's
circle, but did go home with US$ 16,000 with the
assistance of a telephone caller who told him
that Maine is the U.S. state with the nickname
"Down East," due to the high winds common there.
He opted out at the next level of US$ 32,000 when
he did not know the word taken from the French
meaning "to heat" or "to stoke" (chauffeur).
We've been in contact with Scott assuring him
that bargain packages including airfares from
the U.S.A. and hotels in Bali abound. We are now
helping him plan his next trip to Bali – a destination
that even non-millionaires can enjoy.
Hopefully, he'll bring his Mom along.
We Get Mail
The Decision to Finally Introduce Changes in the Visa Policy Provokes Many Comments from Readers.
The Bali Update>
coverage of the change in the tourism visa policy - [Visa Change Set for February 1
] prompted many readers to write in.
Here's a sampling of what people had to say:
• Mr. Andrew Sivijs, a Brisbane-based travel professional and tourism consultant said:"What a pity the Indonesian Government has seen fit to introduce another obstacle to tourism recovery in Bali and Indonesia. Although not as prohibitive as what was originally proposed, the visa will do nothing to encourage visitors to Indonesia and Bali. Interestingly, the visa targets the key international markets that have traditionally provided the majority of business to Indonesia. The visa-free countries barely rate on the visitor radar - no money there. The visa will reduce the stay of adventure / backpackers as they will be reluctant to renew their visa once it has expired. Too much bureaucratic muddling and effort to bother with that. Good news for Australia and other competitor destinations. The visa is short sighted and will do little to improve the Indonesian tourism environment. I bet there is no framework in place to ensure the funds raised are channeled back into the desperately needed marketing, promotion and development of the tourism industry. Not a bright start to 2004 for our tourism colleagues and partners in Indonesia."
• Peter Maaka, a regular visitor to Bali wrote:"If this is the case a lot of people won't go to Bali, US$ 25 is a lot of money to pay per visa most families who go to Bali have 2 Adults & 2 Children = US$ 100. I myself will look at other destinations for my next holiday."
• A New Zealand reader, Wendy Olson, suggests Bali has lost her business as well:"We love Bali ... my children and i ... been 8 times from New Zealand ... only affordable exotic holiday for us all ... new visa charges change that ... my friends have been saying "come to Thailand next trip" for years ... this year we will ... and will miss you lots Bali ... xxx"
• From Los Angeles, California, Matthew Mendelsohn sent the following: "A while back, I did a Master's Thesis on the impact of disincentives on foreign investment. What I found was that assuming a country offered an otherwise welcome harbor for FDI (Foreign Direct Investments), these disincentives had little impact. However, in cases of countries where there was vast corruption, unstable leadership or poor or relatively expensive access to simple business necessities, these disincentives really killed off any considerations for investment by foreign companies. I suspect the same is very true of tourism. If Indonesia did not have issues with security, relatively few direct air connections and poverty and was truly a better destination than those nearby, I could relate to this move. But Indonesia has a lot of problems and while I won't stop coming (albeit a bit more grudgingly), others will.
So to the Indonesian government, I simply say again 'what are you guys thinking?'"
• Art Laver of Canada summarized his reaction to the change by writing in to say:"I was bringing two groups of friends and business people to Bali one group Feb 12 to 24 and the second March 08 to 20. The first group had 24 people in it and the second was 34.
When I read the stupid move of Visa at entry I have canceled and moved the trips to Bangkok and Phuket, Thailand where they want tourists which Bali and Indonesia do not."
• A reader in Australia, Kevin, is more worried about delays at immigration than the proposed cost."Whilst nobody wants to pay more taxes, and many may be grossly annoyed at the cost burden, few people will probably be deterred by the entry visa. What will be the real killer are the hours wasted in immigration waiting to pay this stupid fee. The Government claims 7 minutes are all it will take. Fine. 250 people multiplied by 7 minutes each is just over 29 hours processing time. Divide that number by 6 visa collection desks and we can all look forward to spending just under 5 hours waiting for the pleasure of paying the fee! That's assuming there's only one aircraft of arrivals to deal with ... heaven help us if we are the third plane in the queue. Congratulations must surely go to the Indonesian Government on such an astute decision ... it has done more to destroy tourism than any single event in history!"
• Jan in Australia is resigned to the visa fee, but suggests: "OK so now we know. I would prefer to pay in Australia before starting my journey but it won't stop me having my yearly 2 weeks in Bali. Hopefully it will be well organized and honest!"
'Moksa' – Nyoman Gunarsa Renewed Without Limits
World Famous Bali Painter Explores A Limitless World, January 16-30, 2004 at Museum Nyoman Gunarsa.
The much-celebrated Balinese impressionist painter and museum curator, I Nyoman Gunarsa, will mark the 10th anniversary of the Museum I Nyoman Gunarsa in Gianyar with the launching of a new book; the presentation of awards to members of Bali's community involved in cultural development; and the presentation of a colossal multi-media cultural performance. Following a gala launch on Friday, January 16, 2004, a solo exhibition of recent work by Gunarsa will be held at the museum through January 30, 2004.
Moksa – An Existence Without Limits
The mega-event draws its inspiration from the Artist's artistic and spiritual renewal following a major stroke he suffered in December 1998. Some 101 paintings produced between 1996-2003 will trace Gunarsa's struggle to return to his art and his inner-spiritual journey to achieve the Hindu state of moksa - when one is freed of the restraints of earthly desires and becomes one with all the order and disorder that comprise the cosmos.
Jatayu Sang Maestro
As part of the anniversary celebration Nyoman Gunarsa will also launch a book entitled "Jatayu Sang Maestro, Nyoman Gunarsa, Water, Colour dan Sketsa." The book written in English, Indonesian and German, will present a collection of Mr. Gunarsa's latest work and be the sixth edition of a book commemorating his body of work.
The celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Museum will explore the same theme via a colossal presentation of dance and music performed by the students and faculty of the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI). The performance will be supported by a high-tech light and sound staging that will include laser-effects and fireworks.
Aji Sewaka Nugraha
During the opening of the anniversary celebrations, Nyoman Gunarsa will present Aji Sewaka Nugraha Awards to 11 members of the community for their service to the community and culture. Those to be honored are:
• I Gede Ardika, Minister of Culture and Tourism
• Drs. Dewa Made Beratha, Governor of Bali
• Drs. Made Mangku Pastika, the Chief of Police for Bali
• Ida Pedanda Gede Made Gunung, a Balinese religious leader
• Guruh Soekarnoputa, son of Indonesia's first president and brother of President Megawati, a nationally-recognized artist in the fields of music and dance
• Dr. Wayan Rai S, the Rector of the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) recognized for his research on Balinese culture
• Putu Wijaya, a nationally-famous playwright and author
• I Wayan Sukra (Thomas U. Frietag) an author and international cultural authority
• Made Wijaya (Michael White), a designer of spaces, buildings, and Balinese gardens
• Jean Couteau, prolific writer and expert on Balinese art and culture
• Tjokorde Gede Agung Suyasa, an intellectual leader in the field of Balinese culture and society.
The Moska Exhibition from January 16-30,
2004 at the Museum Nyoman Gunarsa
Australian Held on Child Sex Charges
Growing Concern Over Child Sexual Exploitation.
An Australian man is under police detention in Karangasem in East Bali in connection with charges of having illegal sex with two under aged boys.
The man has reportedly lived in the area since 1996 working as an instructor at a local tourism Academy.
Local press reports indicate that the man has admitted to police that he sexually molested the boys on two occasions under a local bridge during the last month.
The sexual exploitation of children in Bali is a matter of growing concern with its eradication the topic of an international conference held on the island in June 2003.
ARV Funding Shortfall
Many HIV/AIDS Victims in Bali Remain Untreated Due to Lack of Funds.
From a total of 125 HIV/AIDS sufferers in Bali qualified to receive Anti-retroviral Therapy (ARV), a mere ten are able to take advantage of the relatively low-cost medication able to allow patients to sustain relatively normal and prolonged life.
Through the cooperation of various international agencies ARV Therapy can be given to HIV/AIDS afflicted patients in Indonesia for only Rp. 750,000 (approximately US$ 88) per month. The same course of treatment in the United States can cost upwards of US$ 10,000 a year.
Speaking to the Press in Bali on January 7, 2004, Australian HIV/AIDS activist Brendon Carpenter and his Indonesian counterpart, Rosy, explained the workings of the Bali ARV Fund (BAF) and the Kerti Praja Foundation in their efforts to assist HIV/AIDS patients through ARV Therapy and educational measure to stop the spread of the virus.
Confidential counseling and testing is provided without charge to the public with follow up services to those confirmed infected with the disease. In order to qualify for ARV Therapy participants must pledge to follow the treatment protocols and refrain from unsafe sex and drug usage practices.
Of the known sufferers from HIV/AIDS in Bali, 30-50% are intravenous drug users while the remaining affected are scattered across commercial sex workers and housewives.
ARV therapy has proven highly successful in boltering HIV/AIDS' sufferers immune systems allowing them to live normal and productive lives, effectively delaying indefinitely the onset of full-blown AIDS. Unfortunately, funds are still insufficient to provide ARV therapy to all those qualified for treatment in Bali, rendering a very negative prognosis when a relatively inexpensive treatment is available that offers a chance at a productive life.
Standardized Security for Bali Hotels
Police Chief Presents Awards for Security Standards to Top Hotels. Bemoans Lack of Support for Police Effort to Increase Hotel Security.
Bali's popular Chief of Police, Inspector General Made Mangku Pastika, used the opportunity of a ceremony marking the security certification of Bali's 4 and 5 star hotels to request more support from the hotel sector for the police in carrying out security enhancement programs.
As reported in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, the Security and Safety Standardization Program was the result of an intensive 3-month review carried out from September 23, 2003, at all 4 and 5 star hotels by the Bali Police. The review evaluated levels of security staffing, safety equipment, building condition, security software, and training standards.
Among the stipulated standards set by the Police is a requirement that hotels must employ a minimum of one security staff for every ten rooms offered for sale, while 5 star hotels are requested to install explosive detectors on their premises.
Hotel Certificates Issued
Of the 34 four and five star hotels reviewed, 29 received gold awards for their high compliance, while the remaining 5 were given silver awards. The Hotel Nikko Bali earned the highest rating (97.83), with the Four Seasons Resort (97.41) and Bali Cliff Resort (96.88) ranking second and third.
Certification is valid for one year with each property required to undergo annual re-inspection. A similar program for Bali's 1, 2, and 3 star hotels will commence in February 2004.
Police Chief Calls for More Solidarity on Security
The award ceremony was a simple affair held at the Bali Police headquarters. Chief Pastika pointed to the lack of a sponsor from among the local hotels for the award ceremony as indicative of the lack of support for security concerns among local hoteliers. Saying that security is ignored whenever the times are normal, he warned that security standards are beginning to slip. Chief Pastika told of complaints he received from visitors regarding hotels that fail to implement visible terrorist counter-measures.
Bali's Waterfronts to Get a South African Link?
South African Mission Offers Bali Assistance to Redevelop Beachfronts into Classic Waterfront Area.
Indonesia's Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. M. Abdul Nasier, led a group of South African business people on a working tour of Bali including a call of the Island's Vice-Governor, Drs. AAN Puspayoga on Thursday, January 8, 2003.
During that meeting the group offered its assistance to help Bali develop the island's beachfront areas into attractive waterfront complexes modeled on the very successful tourist areas operating in Capetown, the capital of South Africa. The group, including a well-known South African Architect, Mr. de Kock, suggested that Bali's many waterfronts offered opportunities to develop integrated attractions, including water sports, ports, restaurants, art galleries, pubs, and entertainment centers. By utilizing the Capetown business model for port development, additional foreign visitors would be drawn to Bali.
Mr. de Kock explained how a well-produced and successful waterfront complex can also provide an economic multiplier effect on the communities surrounding the complex. Emphasizing the role played by the waterfront, Mr. de Kock said, "before the development of the waterfront visitors to the Capital of South Africa numbered only in the thousands but now reach one million in a single month."
The Vice-Governor welcomed the suggestion from the South African visitors and hoped a preliminary feasibility study might be done to see if the proposal would work in Bali and ensure such a development is in keeping with plans to make Denpasar a cultural center, integrating cultural products and handicrafts into any final plan for the proposed waterfront.
Garuda Buys New Jets
Aircraft Purchase Highlights Focus on Domestic Routes.
The National Antara News Agency has reported that Garuda Indonesia is in the process of purchasing 10-15 new Boeing 737-300 aircraft.
According to the report, the aircraft will be used to bolster service on domestic sectors including the Airline's discount subsidiary Citylink.
The purchase of the new aircraft reflects Garuda's new business focus on domestic and regional services and increasing competition from new low-cost carriers.
Garuda is targeting passenger growth of between 12-15% for 2004.
Shephard to Shepherd Sales for Asia Escape
Veteran Travel Professional Named to Manage Sales to Growing List of Destinations.
Respected New Zealand travel sales professional, Mr. Rick Shephard, has joined Perth-based travel wholesaler Asia Escape to serve as General Manager, spearheading the marketing of the company's travel products to Bali and Thailand. Shephard will be assisting the Company's Managing Director, Mason Adams, in the day to day management of the Asia Escape.
Born in New Zealand, Shephard spent his formative years in Fiji and Canada before embarking on a 20 year career with Air New Zealand. In the early 1990's he opened the regional office of Tek Travel in Wellington, helping prepare the way for that company's emergence as a major travel wholesaler in New Zealand.
In 1995, he moved with his wife and two daughters to Perth in Western Australia where he established Kiwi International Airline's before joining Asian Explorer Holidays as their Western Australia State Manager.
Dynamic Plans Ahead for Asia Escape
In his new capacity as General Manager of Asia Escape Holidays (AEH), Mr. Shephard will help the company grow its Bali and Thailand products while launching new destination packages for Singapore, Japan, and Malaysia. Plans are also moving ahead for the commencement of a weekly charter service between Broome/Karratha and Bali.
Early in 2004, AEH will also launch its new state-of-the-art booking system for Australian travel agents.