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Strong Tourism Arrivals Nationally, But are They Enough?
Despite a Strong First Semester for National Tourism Arrivals, Will Indonesia Achieve 6 Million Visitors in 2007?
The national Bureau of Statistics (BPS) reports that 2.14 million foreign visitors came to Indonesia in the first semester of 2007, an improvement of 12.22% over the same period in 2006 (1.91 million).
Will National Tourism Target be Achieved?
Half way through the current year, the results to date give rise to a number of questions regarding Indonesia's tourism targets for 2007.
. Based on total arrivals of 4.8 million in 2006, if Indonesia sustains the present 12.22% rate of growth for the remainder of 2007, the total arrivals will reach 5.39 million visitors for the year, This is a total still far less than the 6 million visitors targeted by Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism.
. Still to be seen is the effect on tourism arrivals of a recently announced "blacklisting" of Indonesian aviation by the EU and renewed negative travel warnings issued by Australia and other nations.
As reported on balidiscovery.com tourism arrivals to Bali set the pace nationally, totaling 745,949 - an improvement of +35% over the same period in 2006. [See: Bali's Booming Arrival Numbers ]
Protests Mount Against Proposed Golf Course in Bali's North
Karangasem Officials Tight-Lipped on Who are Backers for Large Golf Complex Planned for Foothills of Sacred Mt. Agung.
Vague plans to develop a 100 hectare site near Bali's sacred temple of Besakih into a golf resort complex are fomenting strong opporisiton from many circles in Bali, all opposed to a resort development which has reportedly received a green light from the Regent of Karangasem.
Residents from the traditional villages of Tagenan and Menanga (near Rendang) are said to be up-in-arms over the appearance in recent days of unannounced surveyors pacing off their traditional farming lands. One local resident who's land was surveyed, quoted in Nusa Bali, insisted he was ready to wager his very life in biolent opposition to any project that would violate the sanctity of the lands surrounding Bali's Mother temple complex. The man also said he could see no value whatsoever in building a golf course on his otherwise productive agricultural lands.
According to local press reports, the proposed golf resort will use 30 hectares of land owned by Subak Lipang - a 117-member traditional water district; 21.8 hectares owned by Subak Tubuh; 31.98 hectares owned by Subak Kampika; and 16.22 hectares owned by Subak Rendang. Local farmers are apparently unified in their opposition to the proposed golf course, despite promises that 600 jobs would be created once the project is completed. Local villagers are prophesizing dire material and spiritual consequences should the project go ahead, defiling in the process lands on the foothills of Mt. Agung considered sacred by the people of Bali.
Details on Investors a Mystery?
Complaining that their has been little or no socialization of the project to local residents, land owners are becoming increasingly enraged by the presence of land surveyors and low-flying helicopters seen in recent days over the area of the proposed golf course.
The Bupati of Karangasem insists that the plan for the golf course are still at an idea stage, denying at the same time rumors that the investors in the project are Jakarta-based legislators, members of the executive branch and leading press figures. Begging a follow on question the the press, the Regent told reporters, "I have never divulged the names of potential investors."
Tensions heightened on Thursday, August 2, 2007, when a group of demonstrators, representing the Young Hindu Movement, marched on Bali's Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD). The youths delivered a statement calling on Bali's Governor and the House of Representatives to refuse permission for the project which they claim will detract from the sanctity of the nearby Besakih temple. The demonstrators also called for the resignation of Regent Geredeg in Karangasem if it is eventually proven that he granted preliminary permission for the controversial project.
US$800 Tourism Investment for Lombok
Dubai Business Group Pledges to Build Resorts and a Giant Mosque to Lure Middle East Passengers to Lombok.
Taj Hamaad, an Advisor to the Dubai-based Group Emaar International Properties, have confirmed that they will invest US$800 million in a new tourism resort development in Lombok, an island just east of Bali.
According to Hamaad, technical agreements and final a final memorandum of understanding (MOA) are now being hammered out prior to ground-breaking ceremonies planned for later this year.
Among the technical issues being resolved between Hamaad, Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik and the President's special envoy for eastern Indonesia Alwi Shihab are tax issues, investment licenses and land leases.
The Emaar Group has world-wide investments in various locales, including California and Malaysia, encimpassing office buildings, resorts and mall complexes.
The Lombok project will occupy a 1.175 hectare site in Central Lombok owned by the PT Perusahaan Pegelola Asset - a State-owned firm.
The government has pledged that they will support new tourism investment in Lombok through the construction of an international airport capable of handling wide-bodied aircraft.
Development with a Middle Eastern Slant
The Emaar Group have indicated that they will steer Middle Eastern visitors to the new resort development, diverting Emirate Airline passengers to Lombok once the airport is completed. Once landed in Lombok, the Middle-eastern passengers will be greeted by two purpose-built luxury resorts and a massive mosque - all built by the Dubai investor.
The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, told the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia: "I hope that by 2009 the airport and the resort will be finished and both operational. The investors are optimistic that Lombok will surpass the popularity of Bali offering a range of international facilities."
Government Not Proactive in Dealing with Tourism Issues.
Local Travel Leaders Criticize the Lack of a Coordinated Response to EU Aviation Bans and Renewed Negative Travel Advisories.
An article in the Indonesian language Bali Travel News - Image describe the EU aviation ban and recent travel advisories a two "hot" incidents currently affecting the national tourism industry. Seeing the damnation of Indonesian aviation by the European community and renewed travel warnings for Bali as fundamentally damaging to Bali's tourism, the publication solicited comments from local tourism professionals and island visitors.
The Coordinator of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), I.B. Ngurah Wijaya said: "Certainly, these two incidents hurt Bali tourism. Tourism stakeholders and the private sector have worked hard to revive the tourism sector. Promotional activities and workshops, both domestically and outside the country, have been conducted."
Condemning the government response to the latest crisis, Wijaya added: "We have struggled to restore the tourism sector; but the government tends to only be reactive, rather than proactive, resulting in the current confused state of affairs."
Wijaya suggested that as members of the World Aviation Association (WAA) Indonesia should proactively question the EU's aviation policies and, if necessary, launch a protest regarding the EU's recent aviation announcements detrimental to Indonesian travel.
In the same page-one article, balidiscovery.com president director, John Daniels, supported Wijaya's comments, claiming that national tourism leader had failed to "jemput bola" (greet the football) and were not acting proactively to restore Indonesia's damaged tourism image. Daniels warned, "if this attitude continues, Indonesian and Bali tourism will become increasingly chaotic."
The article warned that recent renewed travel advisories from Australia will eventually have a negative effect on Bali's tourism industry, although there were no immediately discernable downturn in bookings.
That travel warnings are not the final word for Bali visitors was reflected by an Australian tourist, Allan King, who said the travel advisories did not prevent him from visiting Bali and only caused him to be more vigilant in matters of personal safety. Separately, an Australian honeymoon couple, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Hastings, told Bali Travel News that anything can happen anywhere and they felt safe and secure honeymooning in Bali.
Balidiscovery.com Launches its Low Price Guarantee.
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How the Guarantee Works
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Does Bali's Sunset Road Signal the Setting Sun on Efforts to Preserve "Bali Style" in Local Architectural Values?
The Indonesian language daily newspaper NusaBali has questioned in the rapid development of businesses along Kuta's Sunset Road and the lack of Balinese architectural elements in the buildings populating this major thoroughfare.
A formal decree from the Regent of Badung in 2004 (No. 293) mandates that every building along the road must reflect traditional Balinese values in its architecture.
Traditional Balinese Architectural Values?
What actually constitutes Bali style is open to a wide range of interpretations. According to a member of the "Design Committee" of PT Pengembangan Pariwisata Bali, I Gusti Nyoman Putra Sardjana: "the main focus of Bali style is founded on the principle of Tri Angga - a reflection of the basic composition of the human body. In the form and physical structure of building architecture there must be clear divisions between the top (the head), the walls and supports (the body) and the foundations (the legs)."
While commercial and private buildings in Bali are not permitted to duplicate the look of religious temples, they are expected to incorporate proportions and ornamentations in keeping with local cultural traditions.
A local government official charged with supervising compliance with local building codes discounted the lack of local architectural touches along the Sunset Road, suggesting that many of the non-compliant buildings pre-date the 2004 regulation.
Reflecting a possible official lack of genuine concern for the strict application of codes requiring Balinese architectural values, the official told NusaBali, "if every building follows traditional designs people will be bored." Pressed further on the issue, the official said violators only need to "add Balinese ornaments to their building to comply with local laws."
Clearly, those traveling Kuta's busy Sunset Road, home to strip malls and hypermarkets, can be forgiven if they momentarily forget they are actually on the island of Bali.
The Poor in Bali
Latest Economic Survey Shows 6.63% of Balinese Living on Less that US$ 60 Cents per day.
Tempo Interaktif reports that the Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) have classified 229 thousand Bali residents, or 6.63% of the island's entire population of 3.4 million as "poor."
Ida Komang Wisnu of the BPS stated that calculation of those officially deemed to be poor was based on the latest nation-wide economic survey.
The Ranks of the Poor in Bali are Growing
When compared to the number of the poor recorded in July 2005 when 228,400 Bali residents were grouped as "poor," the latest survey indicates a small increase in the ranks of Bali's impoverished.
What is Poor?
Currently the Government considers the poverty line as anyone with an income below Rp. 165,954 per month (approximately US$18). This means that only those earning less than US$0.60 per day were classified as "poor."
Garuda Flies into the Black, Finally
Smaller Fleet Flying More Hours and Higher Ticket Prices Help Garuda Turn a Long-Awaited Profit.
After many years of writing its financial results in red ink, Garuda Indonesia closed the first semester of 2007 by reporting a net profit of Rp. 148 billion (approximately US$16 million). In an impressive turn-around, the current profit results stand in stark contrast to the first six months of 2006 when the Airline reported losses of Rp. 361 billion (approximately US$39.24 million).
Garuda's president director, Emirsyah Satar, attributes the airline's improved performance to increased passenger loads, higher airfares and more efficient use of the company's armada.
Quoted in the Jakarta Post, Satar said: "We managed to accommodate more passengers in fewer airplanes due to an improvement in the utilization rate of each plane form an average of 8 hours and 45 minutes to 9 hours and 17 minutes a day."
Revenues increased 11.5% during the first 6 months of 2007 reaching Rp. 5.8 trillion (approximately US$63 million).
The Airline currently produces revenues equivalent to US$0.072 cents per seat per flown kilometer, an improvement in revenue yield of 7.5% over the same period last year.
Garuda is projecting a 20% improvement in revenues during the second half of 2007.
John Hardy Sells World-Famous Bali Jewelry Brand
Change in Ownership at Bali's Leading Jewelry Design and Export Company.
John Hardy - the man who first came to Bali in 1975 to study silver-smithing and stayed to produce a line of fine jewelry sold in exclusive shops around the world has reportedly sold his stake in his very successful venture to his company president Damien Dernoncourt and creative director Guy Bedarida.
According to a report in Women's Wear Daily, Hardy's Company is believed to have had sales in the U.S. in 2006 totaling US$150 million. Producing gold and silver pieces with designs that draw their inspiration fromr the flora and fauna of Bali, the John Hardy sells its jewelry in the U.S.A., China, Japan, Russia and the Middle East.
All of the company's exports are produced in Bali, employing a workforce of 800 craftspeople.
The new owners of the company have worked with Hardy for between 5-10 years. Their purchase of the company for an undisclosed price was backed by a private equity firm with Lincoln International acting as a financial advisor for the transaction.
Relinguishing the reins to Dernoncourt, John Hardy will assume the job of brand visionary and international ambassador for the Company. John's wife, Cynthia, will remain with the Hardy line working as a merchandising consultant.
In a statement from Hardy, he said: "In a world of many possibilities, I have taken the necessary steps to ensure that the brand realizes its full potential. Damien has taken the reigns and I support him fully. I will now be able to do what I do best, which is to focus on environmental leadership, preservation of local culture and traditions, and social responsibility."
Pianist Adam Gyorgy to Perform in Bali
World Renowned Hungarian Pianist in August Nation-Wide 'Indonesia Pusaka Tour'
One of the world's leading piano talents, Hungarian Adam Gyorgy will visit Bali as part of a nation-wide concert tour in August 2007.
Acknowledged early as a child-prodigy, Gyorgy was accepted when barely a teenager at the Bela Bartok Conservatory in 1994, later graduating from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, in Budapest. He is currently undertaking doctoral studies at the Liszt Academy as a State scholarship winner.
Despite his relative youth, Adam Gyorgy has shone at a number of international piano competitions. In 1998, he won the National Youth Piano Competition followed, two years later, by winning the coveted 'Pianist 2000' Award in Hungary. The accolades and awards continued in 2002 when his masterful interpretation of Haydn in Vienna secured Gyorgy the "Vienna Classics Prize" (Wiener-Klassik-Preis). This was followed with a special prize at the San Remo International Piano Competition in 2003 and a grand sweep of three categories at the International Chopin Piano Competition, in Budapest in 2004.
Crossing the Atlantic, Gyorgy made his Carnegie Hall debut in New York in 2006, just one year after being invited to join the Steinway Artists Community - a hallowed circle reserved exclusively for piano virtuosos.
CNN World Report lauded Gyorgy as "the rising star in 2004."
With honors and prizes rolling in, the 25-year-old is already considered among the best pianists of his generation. Drawing his inspiration from the musical spirit of Liszt, Adam Gyorgy's charming appearance and charismatic stage presence have earned him following more normally accorded a rock star than a classical musician. His current touring schedule includes the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia and China.
The Indonesia Tour
Adam Gyorgy will perform in Jakarta on August 7; the Royal Palace of Yogyakarta on August 12; an open-air concert at Central Java's Prambanan Temple complex on August 17; and in a special appearance in Bali on August 21, 2007.
Dubbed the "Indonesia Pusaka Tour", Gyorgy will pay special tributes to the works of the immortal Indonesian composer Ismail Marzuki. The concert will, of course, also include selections from the young pianist's award-winning classical repertoire.
The Event's organizer states that Adam Gyorgy's Indonesian appearances represent part of efforts to build a cross-cultural dialogue between Indonesia and Hungary.
Mr. Gyorgy's Indonesian concert tour is also being recorded by Hungarian Television for eventual broadcast in Europe. The Concert Tour is sponsored by Citra Amalia in cooperation with the Embassy of Hungary in Jakarta and, in Bali, by the Bali International Woman Association (BIWA) with some of the proceeds to benefit community programs in Bali.
INDONESIA PUSAKA TOUR - Adam Gyorgy
Steinway Artist Pianist
Tuesday, 21 August 2007 - 7.30 p.m
Auditorium - The Westin Resort Nusa Dua
Tickets are available at the BIWA Center for Rp. 500,000 (approximately US$54) and include a cocktail reception. Reservations can be mad to Rosaline at ++62-(0)816572500 or ++62-(0)361-7447500
Saluting Indonesian Independence with a Grand Feast
A Very Special Rijsttafel Celebration at the Kayumanis Jimbaran August 24-25, 2007.
Bali's Kayumanis Jimbaram Private Estate is planning a sumptuous Rijsttafel to help celebrate the month of August and the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Indonesian Republic.
What's a Rijsttafel?
When the Dutch colonized the Indonesian archipelago they took particular pleasure in sampling the varied culinary specialties of Indonesia, made succulent by the almost endless range of aromatic spices grown on the islands.
While few would argue that the Dutch were resolute overlords of Indonesia, it appears that they dissolved into confusion and indecisiveness when sitting down to the dinner table. After sampling so many delicious dishes from every corner of the colony, the Dutch mijnheer en mevrouw obviously couldn't decide which were their favorite recipes. The solution: Include as many different dishes as they could at a single dinner seating.
And, thus, was born the Rijsttafel - a grand and seemingly endless feast of Indonesian dishes, often served back-to-back by a long line of attentive waiters and waitresses in Indonesian traditional dress. Meaning rice table in the original Dutch, the modern Rijsttafel continues the tradition of a grand feast of Indonesian specialty dishes accompanied by steamed white rice and spicy condiments.
Reviving this grand culinary tradition, the Kayumanis Jimbaran Private Estate will re-introduce the grand Rijsttafel on August 24 & 25, 2007 at their Tapis signature restaurant.
The special dinner will include a complimentary glass of wine and music provided by a traditional orchestra - all for only Rp. 460,000 plus 21% tax and service (approximately US$60.50) per person.
Through friends at NDI we've been keeping tabs on the young Balinese who have been sharing stages and dance studios with young American dancers, presenting the finer points of the classical Balinese dance, and learning more about contemporary American dance from teachers and fellow students.
By all accounts, the results have mesmerized the East Coast dance community and the audiences who attended the various dance recitals held in the New York area.
Too Good Not to Share
Last week a video clip of the our Balinese kids dancing with their American friends was posted on Current TV. We urge you to download the clip and see what happens when hip hop meets kecak on a New York stage.