President Orders a Crack Down on Cut-Rate Airlines Cutting Corners on Passenger Safety.
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has issued instructions to the Minister of Transportation, Hatta Radjasa, to impose stiff sanctions and punishments on any national airline found to be ignoring safety procedures in the rush to sell cheap tickets.
Quoted in the Indonesian language Bisnis Bali, the President said, "I have asked the Department of Transportation to impose penalties on airline companies found to be breaking the rules." The President said that the desire to sell "cheap tickets" is no excuse for any Indonesian airline to scrimp on issues of passenger safety.
Give Garuda and Merpati a Hand?
When making his pronouncement on air safety standards, the President also gave verbal instructions to the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, Sugiharto, to help state-owned airlines rebuild and restructure. While not specifically naming the airlines he wished helped, the President's comments are widely accepted to have been directed at assisting debt-ridden Garuda Indonesia and Merpati Nusantara.
Bali Tourism Board Restructured
Bagus Sudibya to Stay on as 'Consortium Coordinator' Pending Extraordinary General Assembly set for January 2007.
In the wake of a torrent of recent criticism attacking the management style of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) and the manner in which recovery funds have been handled, the heads of the tourism stake holder organizations that steer BTB have met and decided to restructure the private sector group charged with representing the Island's tourism industry.
The nine stake holding organizations that comprise BTB have decided that the Chairmanship position leading the group will be abolished in favor of a "Consortium Coordinator" - the new job title given to the individual who will execute the directives and decision made by the respective chairmen of the nine tourism stake holder groups.
Bagus Sudibya, whose position as Chairman of the BTB has effectively ended with this decision, has been asked to stay on as "Consortium Coordinator" until the Extraordinary General Meeting of the BTB can be convened in January 2007.
Sudibya, quoted in the Bali Post, has said he accepts the decision of the Chairmen of the various stake holder organization who constitute the Board of BTB and will stay on as the caretaker "Consortium Coordinator" until the crucial January meeting is held.
Life on the Inside at Bali's 'Big House'
Warden of Bali's Prison Tell Local Seminar Some Hard and Disturbing Facts on 'Life on the Inside' at Bali's Kerobokan Prison.
Bali's Former Chief of Police and Now Head of the National Anti-Narcotics Squad, General Made Mangku Pastika, has praised the new "get tough" regime of the Warden at Bali's Kerobokan who is cracking down on illegal activities at the badly over-crowded prison facility.
Among the actions taken by Warden Ilham Djaya was the recent transfer from Bali to Madura of 10 convicts suspected of operating narcotics and extortion rings within the prison's walls.
Interviewed by telephone by the Bali Post, Pastika explained that he had long lobbied for "troublemakers" at the prison to be transferred to Indonesi's "hard-time" penal island of Nusakambangan. Those recommendations made by Pastika in 2004 were set aside in the face of assurances from the then Warden of the facility that those scheduled for relocation had seen the errors of their ways.
Pastika praised Bali's new prison warden, Ilham Djaya, for having the courage to be a man-of-action and take firm steps to curb the inmate-run narcotics trade and improve the image of the prison.
In November, Djaya undertook the transfer of ten of the most troublesome prisoners one week after attending a seminar in Bali at which Pastika spoke and reiterated his recommendations for breaking up narcotic rings by transferring suspected ringleaders out of the Bali prison system.
Despite demonstrations outside the prison by friends and families of the convicts who opposed the relocation of the prisoners, Djaya defended his decision saying the 10 prisoners moved to Madura were frequently involved in extortion, insubordination and suspected of involvement in narcotics transactions behind the prison's walls.
Life Behind Bars in Bali's Prison
Highlighted by a just published prison memoirs of Shapelle Corby, life behind bars in Bali's Kerobokan prison is no picnic.
In a separate article in the Indonesian language Bali Post, the prison's new warden Ilham Djaya has been outspoken and forthright in outlining the problems that plague the administration of Bali's over-crowded and under-funded prison facility. Speaking at a recent seminar in Bali on how to curb narcotics use in Bali's prisons, Djaya revealed some sobering facts about Bali's prison:
▪ The prison built in 1997 to house 300 inmates now holds almost 900.
▪ 60% of the convicts at the prison are serving time or awaiting execution for involvement in narcotics offenses.
▪ Of the 145 government employees working at the prison, only 45 are guards. Broken into three shifts, this results in only 15 guards watching over 900 convicts during any one 8 hour period.
▪ The honor paid to a guard at the prison is only Rp. 2,500 per day (US$0.27), paving the way for bribes between prisoners and guards.
▪ As confirmed by General Pastika at the Seminar, the high profits derived from the drug trade make law enforcement against the narcotics trade difficult not only in Indonesia, but everywhere in the world.
A Tidal Change Needed in How We Care for Bali's Oceans
More Coverage of Local Outrage and Response to High Pollution Levels Reported on Bali's Beaches.
As reported on balidiscovery.com [Protecting Bali's Beaches and its Tourism Reputation], increasing pollution along Bali's southern beaches is a source of growing public concern and closer scrutiny on how business and tourism operators across the island dispose of their waste and sewage.
Minister of Tourism Reacts
As reports of concerning levels of nitrates, bacteria and other pollutants in Bali's coastal waters arrived on his desk, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, called for quick action to stop the pollution which threatens the entire tourism industry. The Minister called for legal action against the perpetrators of the pollution, if that was necessary to clean up the Island's waters.
Although pollution enforcement fall under another branch of the Government, Minister Wacik has issued instructions to his staff in Bali to find out who is responsible for polluting the waters off Bali's beaches. Two days prior to the story reporting the Minister's "get tough" order in the Indonesian language Nusa Bali, that paper carried a front page photograph of a large sewage pipe discharging waste on Sanur beach, allegedly connected to a nearby star-rated hotel.
Meanwhile, Nusa Bali reports that Denpasar's Mayor, Anak Agung Gde Ngurah Puspayoga, has issued orders to the City’s Environmental Service to track down the source of the pollution echoing a separate instruction from the Regent of Badung, A.A. Gde Agung, to the Provincial Environmental Impact Management Agency (Bappedalda) to get tough on polluters.
Jail Time for Polluting Hotel and Restaurant Owners?
In the most recent of a continuing series of page-one articles in Nusa Bali stretching over a time period of more than one week, a law expert from Bali's Udayana University, Professor Dr. I Dewa Gde Atmaja, explained that the environmental law of 1997 provided for punishments of up to 10 years in prison and Rp. 500 million (approximately US$54,400) in fines for those found guilty of polluting the nation's waterway and oceans.
The professor questioned the sincerity of local law enforcement officials who refuse to take definitive action against polluters despite having a clearly presented piece of legislation clearing the way for enforcement. According to the law professor, the same law also opened the possibility for local citizen's groups and environmental organization to file complaints with the police against companies they know to be polluting Bali's oceans.
A local environmental activist from Sanur told Nusa Bali that letters to local hotels complaining about specific instances of pollution have been largely ignored.
Maya Ubud Adds Riverside Spa Pavilions
Gentle Pampering in a Verdant Jungle River Canyon Awaits Guests at Bali's Maya Ubud Resort and Spa.
One corner of Paradise just got better with the opening of new Riverside Spa Pavilions at the award winning Spa at Maya; the riverside haven of peace and tranquility of the Maya Ubud Resort & Spa where three new double treatment spa pavilions have been created to handle the ever-increasing demand for idyllic riverside spa treatments.
The new treatment pavilions are located along the banks of the legendary Petanu River. To connect the existing spa with the new pavilions, a new boardwalk has been built along the river's edge, which also features an open-air reflexology deck suspended over the river with stunning views of the waters below and all encompassing rain forest.
Each of the new spacious open-thatched pavilions is equipped with two treatment tables and a separate dressing room, double outdoor showers and indoor showers, large hand-crafted stainless steel bath tubs, manicure and pedicure areas, toilet facilities and daybed overhanging the river where clients can relax and enjoy refreshment after their treatment. Each pavilion's interior is a beautiful combination natural stone, soft gray marble, teak wood, frosted glass and water features. The back wall of each pavilion is a lichen-clad natural rock embankment.
The new spa pavilions and gardens encompass 6,300 square meters and each pavilion has and enclosed area of 250 square meters with a total investment of US$ 280,000. "This enhancement of our award winning Spa at Maya," explained Paul Blake, General Manager of the resort, "will be a great asset to our being able to accommodate the growing demands for treatments from our guests and outside clients as well."
Pictures of the new Riverside Spa Pavilions are show on balidiscovery.com.
Mandala Set to Fly from Bali to Malang in East Java
Service Ready to Start Pending Approval from Indonesian Air Force.
The East Java city of Malang will soon have a direct air connection to Bali, according to a report published in the Indonesian language Bisnis Indonesia.
Pending the issuance of a final approval letter from the Indonesian Air Force who control the airport serving Malang, Mandala Airlines plan to offer direct flights from Malang to Bali as well as flights between Malang and Jakarta.
According to Purnadi, the Head of the Communication and Tourism Office in Malang: "Mandala Airlines is prepared to go. They’re only waiting for the letter of recommendation from the Headquarters of the Air Force."
Sources have reported that obtaining the needed recommendation from the Air Force may be complicated by the current condition of the Abdul Saleh Airport in Malang which lacks an instrument landing system (ILS) limiting flights to Visual Flight Rule (VFR) operations during daylight hours. The estimated cost of repairing the ILS in Malang is Rp. 1 billion (US$108,700) and is only scheduled for disbursement in the next State budget.
Until repairs are completed on the ILS system all flights in and out of the airport must be completed before 5 p.m. local time.
Malang is a cool resort community in the highlands south of Surabaya known for its clean city, resort hotels and villas, and relatively easy access to the tourist location of Mt. Bromo.
Bali's Electrical Power Supply Under Threat
State Electrical Board Official Warns of Critical Power Situation in Java and Bali in 2008.
The Indonesian language Bisnis Indonesia reports that PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) predicts the shortfall in electrical power production for Java and Bali will reach critical stages in 2008 as the result of the shortfall in new power-generating capacity.
Fahmi Mochtar, General Manager Distribution for Jakarta and Tanggerang for PLN told the newspaper that electricity requirements in 2007 will be met for the most part by new capacity coming on line in 2006 and entering into full service in 2007. Nonetheless, he warned, "the condition (of electricity generation in 2007) won't be substantially different than 2006."
Four new generating station set to be in full operation in 2007 include:
▪ Cilegon with a capacity of 720 MW
▪ Clilicap with a capacity of 300 MW x 2
▪ Tanjung Jati B with a capacity of 660 MW x 2
▪ Darajat with a capacity of 110 MW
Trouble Ahead in 2008?
Although electricity demand for 2007 should be met by new generating plants and a southern distribution network of 500 KV, the PLN official charged to track distribution warns there's trouble ahead if new generating capacity is not found before 2008.
According to Fahmi, by 2009 the critical electrical shortage looming for 2008 will be eased by an additional 6,900 MW scheduled to come on line from 10 new generating plants.
World AIDS Day in Bali
Various Events Underway to Mark World AIDS Day on an Island Home to More than 1,000 Confirmed Cases of HIV/AIDS.
The Indonesian-language Bali Post reports that recorded cases of HIV/AIDS infections in Bali total 1,136 - making Bali the 5th highest center of known cases nationally after Jakarta, Papua, Riau and East Java. Nationwide an estimated 4,617 people suffer from AIDS and 6.987 from AIDS.
Bali health workers count 782 people as infected with HIV and another 354 under treatment for AIDS. The highest rate of HIV infection is in Denpasar with 614 cases, followed by Badung 282, Buleleng 134, Tabanan 33, Jembrana 28, Gianyar 28, Klungkung 7, Karangasem 6 and Bangli 4.
An estimated 83 persons have died of HIV/AIDS in Bali since records were established for tracking the illness.
World AIDS Day December 1, 2006
To mark World AIDS Day which falls on December 1, 2006 a number of HIV/AIDS awareness activities are underway in Bali including month-long educational programs at local schools, dialogues on local TV stations, an AIDS commemoration ceremony in downtown Denpasar on December 1st, distribution of flyers on HIV/AIDS education and a special concert planned for December 17th in Kuta.
Choirs of Balinese Angels
Carols by Candlelight – A Yuletide Fundraiser at The Canggu Club Sunday, December 10, 2006.
A celestial host of talented musicians, soloists and performers including chorale students from three of Bali's international schools will lead the community in songs of the holiday season at the Canggu Clubs' first Carols by Candlelight - I'm An Angel Fundraiser recital on Sunday 10 December from 6.00 p.m. - 9.00 p.m..
This special family event will see Bali's only private members' club open its doors to the public and transform into a sea of flickering candle light as Bali's children and residents take to the stage to perform carols covering the entire musical milieu from popular Christmas carols, to jazz, opera, pop and rock.
The event is free of charge and all the community are invited to join in the festive spirit of song.
Carols by Candlelight embraces the true spirit of Christmas by helping raise funds for the health and educational needs of many of Bali's most impoverished and disadvantaged children who, through the I'm an Angel Foundation receive assistance together with 2,788 other children in the Tianyar region of Karangasem, as well as 150 more orphans waiting for placement in local orphanages.
Adding to the festivities, The Canggu Club has erected a Christmas Angel Tree where the names, details and photos of the children are hung along the trees branches. Visitors and guests are able to select a child to purchase either a present of their choice, or a pre-packaged 'Ready for School' pack (Rp.35,000 per child - approximately US$3.80) which will enable the child to start school with the appropriate supplies and uniforms. Donors are also able to add to the packs if they wish to include other items such as toys, comic books and candy. Second hand items of any nature are also gladly accepted.
The Christmas Angel Tree will be up at The Canggu Club from December 07 – 30, 2006in the Clubs' Lobby for anyone wish to "become an angel" for one of the children aided by The Club and the Foundation.
Special appearances are planned at the recital by children from choirs of local international schools, Australian opera singer Katrina Valkenberg, and jazz vocalist Kim Patra – more readily known as Bali's favorite registered nurse and mid-wife. They’re will also be the Christmas play 'Santa's Workshop' performed by the 'Dramarama Group' of Canggu Club children, and, of course, a special visit from Santa Claus and his helpers will be part of the festivities.
A Carols by Candlelight program Song Book as well as a giant screen with the lyrics to the carols will help everyone get into the sing-a-long spirit.
Candles, Christmas decorations and loads of festive fare will be available for sale including fruit mince pies, gingerbread men, iced coconut eggnog and shortbread biscuits with proceeds donated to the Foundation.
A family style BBQ, Salad Bar and variety of beverages will also be available.
For event details contact The Canggu Club ++62-(0)361-8446385 .
The Canggu Club is located on Jl Pantai Berawa, Banjar Tegul Gundul, Canggu.
October Arrivals to Bali by Major Markets
Bali by the Numbers: October 2006 – the Month that Bali Foreign Arrivals Turned the Corner?
As reported on balidiscovery.com [Signs of a Turnaround in Progress], foreign arrival totals for Bali hit 112,629 in October 2006. While direct comparisons with the "bombing affected" month of October 2005 are problematic, there are signs that Bali may be shaking off the damage to arrival numbers visited upon the island by the October 1, 2005 terrorist attack.
Total Foreign Arrivals
As show in the graphics presented on balidiscovery.com:
▪ Unsurprisingly, October 2006 arrivals (112,629) were +38.85% ahead of 2005 (81,109) when visitors either cancelled their Bali Holidays or abbreviated their stay in the aftermath of the bombing.
▪ More worthy of note, however, is the fact the October 2006 arrivals were only -12.23% behind the more representative benchmark of October 2004 when 128,399 foreign visitors came to Bali.
▪ That the gap in "normal" arrivals has narrowed to -12.23% is encouraging when compared to shortfalls in arrivals of hovering between -23% to -27% for the period July-August 2006.
▪ Japanese arrivals for October 2006 (24,685) are up +31.10% as compared to October 2005 (17,006).
▪ When compared to the more representative month of October 2004 (32,867), October arrivals for 2006 are down only -24.89%. This represents a narrowing gap in arrivals against the months of January –September 2006 when Japanese arrivals were down in a range from -31% to -36%.
There's little good news in the arrival figures from Australia which continues to suffer a lingering depression.
▪ October 2006 (11,201) arrivals were even worse that October 2005 (12,801); down -12.49%.
▪ When compared to more representative numbers presented by total Australian arrivals in October 2004 (25,701), arrivals are down -56.41% suggesting little signs of recovery in arrivals which continue to lag more than 50% behind normal tourist flows dating form the first quarter of 2006.
Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort, The Balé and Laguna Resort and Spa - Nusa Dua Named Among Best in Indonesia in 13th Annual World Travel Awards.
Established in 1993 to track and reward quality in the fast developing travel industry, The World Travel Awards calls on tens of thousands of travel professionals from around the world to vote for their favorite travel companies.
Nominations for finalists are based on voting in the preceding year with trophies awarded in all areas of the industry. Travel agents from over 200 countries vote for their favorites, broken down by geographical area and industry sector. Hundreds of thousands of votes are cast on line ending with the eagerly awaited list of winners hailed by the Wall Street Journal as the "Travel Industry's equivalent to the Oscars."
While a complete list of the World Travel Awards 2006 winners is available via the link provided, here's quick list of the Bali hotels who distinguished themselves in the 2006 awards:
• Asia's Leading Golf Resort - Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort, Indonesia
• Indonesia's Leading Boutique Hotel - The Balé
• Indonesia's Leading Resort - Laguna Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua
Yoga in Bali with Don Peers and Eileen Hall Lead Yoga Workshops in Ubud in March and April 2007 at Uma Ubud Resort.
Ubud's idyllic river-side Uma Ubud will host two important Yoga seminars in March and April 2007 led by Don Peers and Eileen Hall.
8 LIMBS OF YOGA WITH DON PEERS - 11 to 17 March 2007
Peers, who trained in Australia with Simon Borg-Oliver, has also worked in India with Sri Desikachar, and with Tim Miller in California. Morning sessions will focus on creating a solid foundation for yoga practice, exploring the Iyengar concept to build a stronger asana. By adding the Ashtanga Vinyasa method of coordinating breath and movement (Vinyasa), the three locks (Bandha) and gaze (Drushti), students will discover breath, lightness and focus. Afternoon sessions will explore philosophy, breathing and meditation.
Prices start from US$1,540. Non-resident rate US$760.
ASHTANGA YOGA WITH EILEEN HALL - 22 to 28 April 2007
Eileen Hall has been a student of yoga since 1982. During this time she has spent many years in India studying with both Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, master of the Ashtanga method, and BKS Iyengar, master of the Iyengar system. During this Bali retreat, Eileen will teach from a practical level, emphasizing the importance of daily, consistent and sincere practice. Students will learn the basic techniques of Ashtanga, and better understand what integrated practice can mean when incorporated into our daily lives.
Prices start from US$1,925. Non-resident rate US$1,060.
Included in the Yoga seminar packages are:
▪ 6 nights accommodation at the Uma Ubu (Not included in non-resident offer)
▪ 5 hour of Yoga instruction daily
▪ Daily brunch (beverages not included)
▪ Welcome and farewell dinner
▪ Round trip private airport transfers (Not included in non-resident offer)
Additional nights, either pre or post workshop, can be booked.