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More Reports of Schemes and Rackets at Bali's Airport.
The Jakarta Post raised the specter of more official shenanigans underway at Bali's international airport with reports that errant baggage porters and immigration officials are on the prowl for illegal fees. One report claimed baggage handlers were demanding excise tax from departing tourist carrying large amounts of locally purchased goods. The fictitious tax is completely at odds with government efforts to increase the spending of tourist visitors and a VAT tax rebate scheme soon to be introduced in early 2010. Several tourists, clearly irritated at the request, have been circulating angry emails which formed the basis of The Jakarta Post report. According the Jakarta daily: "Ngurah Rai Airport staffers have a long and ugly history of attempting to extort illegal fees in the name of taxes or fines from visitors." The same article told of a 2007 incident in which Dorothy Longhurst, a cancer survivor on a recuperative trip to Bali, was put back on a plane with her husband to Australia when she refused to pay US$4,000 to overcome the technical illegality of only having 5 months and 2 weeks validity remaining in her passport. Immigration procedures for Indonesia require 6 months remaining validity and several empty pages in the passports of arriving foreign tourists. The 2007 incident caused an uproar and prompted the itercession of the then Vice-President, Jusuf Kalla, who insisted the culpable immigration officer be fired.
Bali: A Victim of its Own Success
Governor Pastika Reflects on Rising Crime Rates in Bali and His Efforts to Keep Bali Safe for Tourist Visitors.
Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika has responded angrily to accusations from Bali lawmakers that criminal activity on the island was out of control. Pastika's administration has set for itself a goal of creating progress, security, peace and welfare (Bali Mandara) for the island and, according to the governor, if criminality is detracting from those goals it is appropriate that such threats be resolutely confronted. Bali's Chief Executive told Radar Bali that all crime, especially a recent bank robbery, must be solved as quickly as possible. And, if those charged with the crime evade apprehension, police should not hesitate to use deadly force. Pastika said: "This is a bank robbery; it's no longer (just) the robbery of bank customers. The police must quickly arrest the culprits. This is absolute." The Governor, a retired Chief of Police in Bali, specifically named the assistant Chief of Police in his demand for quick arrests of the robbers who have soiled Bali's reputation. Speaking on the same occasion, Pastika also touched upon the numerous cases of robberies carried out on motorists whose vehicle tires are first punctured, blaming specialized groups of criminals in Bali as responsible for such acts. The governor sail that any criminality in Bali is quickly internationally publicized. As one of the world's leading tourism destinations, any problem touching on the lives of foreign visitors will always draw international attention. Recalling his tenure as Bali's Chef of Police, Pastika related how because a tourist visitor had lost a wallet with the equivalent of US$5 and Visa Credit Card, the incident had to be reported to New York because of the lost credit card. Continuing, Pastika said the recent robbery and murder of a Japanese tourist, followed by a bank robbery, and the theft of money from a Japanese motorists had "been widely discussed internationally." Adding: "The dead Japanese was a hot topic overseas. Also the problem of rabies. Thus, if there are wild dogs they must be killed. Don't wait to be bitten, it's terrible with somebody has died (because of a dog bite)." Pastika ascribed the growing level of crime in Bali to the island's success which has attracted many newcomers and transients. Insisting that his office remained committed to creating a safe environment for Bali residents and visitors alike, Pastika said his office is coordinating enhanced security measures with all the relevant branches of government, including the military and the police. Police investigators have made an arrest in the case of the murdered Japanese woman and report that they now have the identity of a suspect in hand in connection with the recent bank robbery. Related Article [Arrest Made in Murder of Japanese Tourist]
On a Dry Island, Flooding and Landslides
In the Middle of Prolonged Drought, Sporadic Rains Cause Flooding and Landslides in Certain Corners of Bali.
Although Bali's rainy season is late in arriving and has caused water shortages and dry river beds in most parts of the province, isolated heavy rains on Sunday, October 25, 2009, in Jembrana and Gianyar resulted in property damage linked to flooding and landslides. In the island's west, the Benet dam at the village of Manistutu in Jembrana was breached causing many homes to be submerged to the roof lines, with water depth in some flooded areas estimated at 3 meters. Fortunately, no deaths or serious injuries were attributed to the Jembrana area flooding. On the same date on the other side of Bali, heavy rains in Ubud and the surrounding areas of Gianyar brought landslides to the village of Tegallalang. I Wayan Lanus, a 90-year-old Balinese had to be rescued by fellow villagers when his home was swept 200 meters down a hillside in a sea of mud. Five other members of Lanus' family also managed to escape the landslide, although the elderly Balinese was hospitalized briefly with minor injuries sustained in the incident.
Ayana Rock Bar - Where the Stars Gather
Rock Bar Host Awards and Wrap Party for Balinale International Film Festival.
The award winners of the third annual Balinale International Film Festival were announced at a private party at the Ayana Resort Bali Rock Bar on Sunday, October 25, 2009 - a gala event where industry and community figures applauded the festival's work in developing the local film industry. The Rock Bar event was the official wrap-up awards ceremony for the festival, which showcased 25 films from 13 countries by both international and Indonesian filmmakers. The festival also offered free workshops for aspiring young filmmakers.
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Highlights of this year's festival included Australia's Mary and Max, the opening film at this the Sundance festival; America's Valentino: The Last Emperor; Indonesia's Drupadi; Italy's El Divo - a winner at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival; and Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds. Standing on a rocky "stage" jutting out from the cliff-face, festival Director Deborah Gabinetti announced the Audience Choice Awards, based on votes submitted during the six day-long festival. Carl Valiquet's Darah & Dupa (Indonesia) won Best Short Film; Still Film by Damani Baker (USA) won Best Documentary; Tokyo Sonata by Japan's Kiyoshi Kurosawa won Best Feature Film; and Still Bill was recognized as Best Overall Film. The winner of the amateur short film competition was The Angel & the Rajapala, by Soma Helmi and Mila Schwaiko. Ayana Resort and Spa, General Manager, Charles de Foucault, welcomed the audience of filmmakers, actors, media, and festival patrons and friends to the Rock Bar and the Resort. "We are proud to support the Balinale International Film Festival and its goal to put Bali in the spotlight as a unique and feasible film location," said Charles. "The island has long been the inspiration for script-writers, but thanks to Balinale and in particular to Deborah Gabinetti, it is now gaining a reputation as an excellent filming destination, which is exemplified by the filming of 'Eat Pray Love'." About the Balinale International Film Festival Balinale was established in 2007 by the Bali Film Center to provide an opportunity for international filmmakers to screen films to an Indonesian market while at the same time exposing the country's unique culture, rich story ideas, and diverse locations to the international filmmaking community. Also, as part of its mission, Balinale strives to present Bali and Indonesia to the global film industry as a location rich in potentials for film productions and to promote the viable, creative and talented local Indonesian film industry.
Bali is Good for the Soul
Elizabeth Gilbert, Julia Roberts, Mick Jagger and Steven Segal - Send These, the Tempest-Tost to Bali's Welcoming and Healing Shores.
The current filming in Bali of the Elizabeth Gilbert best-seller "Eat, Pray, Love" underlines, once again, the world-renowned restorative powers of the Island of Bali. For decades, paupers and princes, celebrities and ne'er-do-wells have flocked to the island's shores to enjoy the restorative powers of yoga, dance, music, meditation, spirituality and quiet rest so plentiful in these parts. And, as Julia Roberts acts out before the cameras Gilbert's enlightenment under the mentorship of Ubud-based guru Ketut Liyer, we might also be reminded how in 1995 Hollywood action-star Steven Seagal traveled to Bali seeking spiritual insight; or, how several years earlier, rock legend Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall sought consecraton of their relationship in Bali. Seagal, the 7th-dan Akido Master, spent part of his 1990s Bali holiday with the late Wayan Gabra, a spiritual advisor based in Banjar Gambang, Mengwi. A close friend of Gabra's, Ketut Gogong, remembers Seagal search for solutions to various issues in his life. During Seagal's Bali interlude, the star was embroiled in a divorce from his third wife, Kelly LeBrock, who claimed Seagal was romantically involved with, Arissa Wolf, the nanny for Seagal and LeBrock's three children. According to Gogong, prior to 1995 and on an earlier trip to Bali, Seagal had his fortune told by Wayan Gabra who predicted the complicated marital and romantic situation ahead. Seagal reportedly dismissed the soothsayer's predictions, only to have them proven correct over time. Persuaded and in search of more answers, on December 25, 1995, Steven Seagal returned to Bali and the home of Wayan Gabra. Gogong told beritabali.com, that the Hollywood star was advised by Wayan Gabra to change the basic concepts that guided his life and his thinking. Gogong also remembers Seagal as an exceptionally kind man and to this day treasures a photo they had taken together. As despicted in movie magazines, novels and, now, in Hollywood films - Bali remains an island of physical, spiritual and emotional rejuvination.
The Age of Stupid
Bali International School Presents the Bali Premier of "The Age of Stupid."
"The Age of Stupid" is the epic film from director Franny Armstrong, her previous works include "McLibel." Four years in the making,
"The Age of Stupid" is a dramatic representation of a future dealing with the consequences for a world that has ignored warning about global warming. Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite who played the priest in Romeo and Juliet portrays a global archivist living in 2055 who conducts audiences through news clips and personal docu-stories from 2004 - 2008, asking why the world didn’t stop global warming when it had a chance to do so. To discover for yourself if we are living in the "Age of Stupid" you are invited to come to the Bali International School on November 12 & 13, 2009 at 7 p.m. each evening. Supported by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Move ON and Tck Tck Tck - "The Age of Stupid" has been screened for the United Nations; Center of American Progress; EPA; The World Bank; the UK Parliament; the European Union; and the Scottish, Welsh, Swedish, Australian and Dutch parliaments. Tickets for the Bali screening cost Rp. 20,000 (US$2) each with proceeds towards the Bali International Schools charity projects. Refreshments will be available. Reservations can be obtained by calling ++62-(0)361-288770. For more information [Bali Premier of The Age of Stupid]
Bali's Rabies Crisis Spreads to New Areas
Five of Nine Bali Regencies/Cities Now Confirmed as Rabies Positive.
Radar Bali confirms that Bali's rabies epidemic has now spread to five of the island's nine regencies and metropolitan areas. According to Ida Bagus Alit, the Head of Bali's Animal Husbandry Department (Dinas Peternakan) confirmed that Karangasem and Bangli now have confirmed cases of the deadly disease in their dog populations, while previously cases of rabies were confined to Denpasar, Badung and Tabanan. Alit explained: "After the Galungan holidays we sent laboratory samples to the Balai Veteriner. The results show that there are several confirmed cases of rabies. Because of this, we have sent special teams to socialize information on rabies to people living in those two regencies (Karangasem and Bangli). We will also step up the elimination of wild dogs in those two areas." In Karangasem the positive samples come from dogs tested in the villages of Tianyar Barat, Tianyar Tumur, Tianyar Tengahad the village of Ban. Meanwhile, in Bangli the confirmed case of rabies was found in the sub-district of Bangli. Alit told the press that his department has only been allocated Rp. 600 million (US$60,000) to cover socialization, education, vaccination and elimination of wild dogs across the entire province of Bali. Most of that amount has been spent on publications and socialization. "On television alone we have spent Rp. 57 million (US$5,700). We have also spent p. 80 million (US$8,000) on billboards, Rp. 25 million (US$2,500) on banners and Rp. 50 million (US$5,000) on honorariums for staff giving innoculations. This leaves a balance of around Rp. 209 million (US$20,900). Whether the remaining amount is sufficient to address the expanding epidemic in Bali remains to be seen, according to man in charge of dealing with the rabies outbreak. Alit has told breeders of Bali's famous Kintamani of dogs in Bangli to vaccinate their animals immediately to avoid having their pets eliminated by teams of officials. Official records kept by the government show at least 40 confirmed cases of rabies among Bali's dog population since November 2008.
Smile, You're on Candid Camera in Bali
Bali Police Seek to Curb Crime by Installing More Surveillance Cameras. 112 Emergency Call Center Back in Operation.
Kompas.com confirms that the Bali police will be installing an additional 75 CCTV cameras in potential high crime areas in Denpasar and the Badung regency. The Head of Public Relations for the Bali Police, I Gde Sugianyar, told the press on October 29, 2009, that the installation of the additional CCTV units is part of the police force's program to reduce the recent upsurge in criminal activity, including the robbery of a BRI Bank branch. He continued: "The installation is 95% complete and recordings from the CCTV will be monitored from three separate call centers at the Kuta Precinct, the traffic police in Denpasar and police headquarters." 15 new units have been put in operation in Denpasar and 60 units in the Badung regency. The police spokesman refused to be more specific on exact locations for the cameras, saying their positions will be camouflaged and kept secret from criminal elements. In addition to the new CCTV units, the Bali police will also reactivate the 112 emergency call center. Public needing police assistance will only need to dial 112 to obtain an instant response.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Bali Slated to Host Conference on Smoker's Rights in July 2010.
A group of Australians protesting against an increasingly inimical environment for people who smoke, have declared their intention to hold a smokers' rights conference in Bali in July 2010. Angry at what is seen as an assault on personal liberties by anti-smoking advocates. The group also is organizing resistance to drinking bans and taxes on foods deemed unhealthy - all part of a larger effort to fight over-regulation and the loss of personal choice in how people conduct their daily lives enginnered by the Nanny State. The group insists it is not pro-smoking, but rather pro-choice and pro-freedom. Details on the July 2010 conference remain sketchy, but organizers are planning a five-day event with time for local tours of Bali. More details to follow.
Low Water at Sky High Prices in Bali
Some Bali Businesses Experiencing a Ten-Fold Increase in the Cost of Ground Water.
Stricter enforcement on ground water usage and higher tax rates on those who tap into Bali's underground water reservoirs are causing financial pain to many island businesses. In response to diminishing water supplies and growing salt water intrusion into Bali's natural water supplies, governor Made Mangku Pastika increased tax rates and ordered tighter control on illegal use in June of 2009. Quoted in The Jakarta Post, the Chief of Denpasar's Environmental Management Agency, I Gede Ngurah Alit Sudibya, said that at least 12 major property owners, including hotels and supermarket operators, are threatening to discontinue use of groundwater due to high cost. 1,062 registered users of groundwater and a large number of illegal wells tap into Bali's limited ground water supplies on a daily basis. With the State Water Board (PDAM) able to supply only 2.3 million cubic meters of an estimated 3 million cubic meters needed to meet daily demand, ground water represents a large and important component of meeting the water demands of Bali consumers. Higher taxes on the use of ground water and stricter monitoring has resulted in substantial increases in water costs. One small medical clinic in Denpasar said that their monthly groundwater bill had increased from Rp. 300,000 (US$30) to Rp. 3 million (US$300). Hotels in Bali report that they are now paying Rp. 27,000 (US$27) per cubic meter of ground water as compared to only Rp. 1,500 (US$1.50) per cubic meter prior to the recent increase. As a result, the chairman of the Bali branch of the Indonesian Employees Association has filed a formal complaint regarding the tax increase with the Bali House of Representatives, alleging the higher water rates will eventually result in job losses. Among the other changes introduced under the new ground water regime, medicine and cosmetic producers pay Rp. 75,000 (US$7.50) per cubic meter. Hospitals, formerly exempted from the tax, are now compelled to pay. Officials admit that Bali has hundreds of illegal ground water users who have sunk wells without obtaining the necessary permits and enrolling in the under ground water tax program. Related Articles [Who's Using the Most Subterrain Water Resource?] [73 Rivers in Bali Have Run Dry] [Bali's Worsening Water Crisis] [Bali Hotels Asked to Begin Desalinating Seawater]
Denpasar Junction Mall - at a Critical Crossroad
Denpasar Shopping Complex Violates Building Rules and Fails to Pay Tax Bill.
A new shopping complex in the heart of Bali's capital of Denpasar is under fire from the municipality's administrators for unpaid taxes and violations of local building codes. The Denpasar Junction Mall (DJM) is a large, modern shopping facility constructed by PT Eka Jaya Agung on Jalan Teuku Umar on a 900 square meter parcel of land leased from the Indonesian postal service. An outstanding tax bill of more than Rp. 200 million (US$20,000) has caused local tax authorities to post a signboard at the Mall's entrance to publicly remind H. Ekco Sukadi, the operator of the Mall, to meet his tax obligations. In a separate case, Denpasar zoning and building authorities claim the DJM was built not in accordance with its approved site plans and, as a result, now exceeds the maximum building height limit of 15 meters. And, despite repeated promises by the developer to reduce the building's height, the structure continues to be in violation of the rules. The General Manage of DJM, Yoze Eman, has told the press that the zoning regulations and parking sace shortfalls will be remedied within the 2 week time limit given by municipal authorities.
Swedish Girl Reports Rape in Kuta
Drinking and Late Night Motorbike Ride Preceded Sexual Attack om Swedish Tourist.
A 19 year-old Swedish woman has told police that she was raped on Thursday, October 29, 2009, by a motorcycle jockey (Ojek) on a side street of Kuta. The young woman who presented at a local police in an intoxicated state smelling of alcohol, has thwarted police in their efforts to investigate the case by refusing a police interview. Bali's Chief of Police, General Sutisna told Kompas.com, "Although the victim refuses to be interviewed, the police continue to investigate by collecting information from various sources around Kuta." Based on the Swedish girl's initial report, police are making every effort to catch the rapist. Said Sutisna: "We're still looking for the culprit. Pray that we can catch him quick, especially because this involves a foreign visitor." Police are waiting for the results of a forensic examination carried out at Bali's Sanglah General Hospital. According to police, the woman was attacked after attending a late night drinking party by a man she had paid to bring her back to her lodgings on a motorbike.
It's Too Dam Hot
Bali's Current Heat Wave Chasing Visitors Off the Beach.
Tourists and residents across the island are complaining that temperatures on the island are exceptionally hot. According to Kompas.com, Bali's hotter-than-normal-heat-wave have seen sunbathers, who used to spend the entire day on Kuta Beach, abandoning the shoreline at 9:30 a.m. to escape the escalating heat. Michael Lois, an Australian who has visited Bali three time, complained" "It's very hot. I can't stand to sunbathe too long." On past visits Michael was able to sun bathe for five or six hours, but current heat conditions make it impossible to enjoy the sun for more than 3 hours at a single stretch. Similarly, Lois Jean, a Canadian tourist, said she found the beach heat unbearable. Because of the extraordinarily high temperatures, the famous 12 kilometer stretch of Kuta beach has substantially fewer sun worshippers than is normally the case at this time of year. One local tour guide, Made Surta, complained the sand becomes so hot that bare feet feel as though they are burning. Those tourists venturing onto Bali's hot beaches are seeking relief by wading in the shallows, swimming or wind-surfing. Officials at the Bali Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) date the current heat wave from mid-October when temperatures began averaging 33-34 degrees centigrade, several degrees above the average of 32 degrees centigrade at this time of year. Endro Cahyono, a BMKG meteorologist blames the sun's current position at 10 degrees south latitude as the cause of current heat wave. The high temperatures are expected to persist until mid-November as the sun slowly moves to more southern latitudes, bringing summer to the southern hemisphere. Cahyono also warns that the high temperatures may bring local showers and conditions ripe for the creation of localized land and water spouts. Cahyono also warned that lightning storms can also be expected during the current change of seasons. Related Article [Bali Weather Warning]
An Evening of French Art & Music in Ubud
Free Recital by Renowned Violinist and Guitarist at Mozaic Restaurant in Ubud, Bali November 7, 2009.
The Mozaic Lounge, Ubud's premier dining venue, will play host to an evening of fine art and music on Saturday, November 7, 2009. With an art exhibition of charcoal workds by Aimery Joessel as a background, two rising stars of the classical music world will present two separate one-hour receitals beginning at 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.. French violinist Nicolas Dautricourt and classical guitarist Emmanuel Rossfelder will perform at these free-of-charge concerts in the lounge where Mozaic's singnature cocktails, select wines by the glass and delicious canapes will be available from the menu.
Nicolas Dautricourt Considered one the most brilliant and engaging violinists of his generation, Nicolas Dautricourt has won numerous music awards, including: ADAMI Classical Discovery of the Year» presented at Midem in Cannes; Natexis Foundation Award;Henryk Wieniawski Prize (Poznan, Poland); Rodolfo Lipizer Prize (Gorizia, Italy); and the Gian-Battista Viotti International Violin Competitions (Vercelli, Italy). He has appeared at major venues in France, including Salle Pleyel, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Cité de la Musique, Musée d'Orsay, Opéra du Rhin and Grand Théâtre de Provence. Internationally he has performed at Wigmore Hall in London; Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow; Boston's Gardner Museum; Teatro Nacional de Belém, Copenhagen Concert Hall and the Ongakudo Hall in Kanazawa, Japan. Dauricort has performed as a soloist with the Orchestre National de France, Mexico Philharmonic, Belgrade Radio Orchestra, Kiev Philharmonic, Nice Philharmonic orchestra, Caen Symphony orchestra, Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Pasdeloup, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Orchestre des Pays de Savoie, Orchestre d'Auvergne, Orchestre Français des Jeunes, Orchestre de l'Opéra de Toulon, Baltic Chamber Orchestra, European Camerata, the chamber orchestra of La Scala de Milan, the Tokyo chamber orchestra, the Kanazawa Orchestral Ensemble and The Sendai Strings Ensemble. Dautricourt is very fond of Chamber music as well as Jazz, with records in both genre to his credit. Emmanuel Rossfelder Picking up the guitar at 5 years of age, Emmanuel Rossfelder had by the age of 14 already won a Gold Medal from the Conservatory of Music Aize-en-Provence. In recognition of his prodigious talents, he was placed under the tutelege of Alexander Lagoya at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique Pari. Among the awards to his credit are Master of the Guitar in Paris; The Pierre Salvi Award presented personally by the French Minister of Culture; The Stotsenberg prize (USA); Walcourt (Belgium); Benicasim (Spain); and Vina del Mar (Chile). He has performed as a soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio-France; orchestras in Cannes, Nices, Avergne, Perrugia, la Scala in Milan; the Landmarks Orchestra in Boston; and The Baltic Chamber Orchestra. The Mozaic's regular jazz ensemble will also be performing in the lounge. Those attending the recital are welcome to make reservations for dinner at the Mozaic Restaurant. For reservations and more information, call ++62-(0)361-975768.
Paintings by Angels - Indonesian Gemstones
An Exhibition of Indonesian Gemstones Fashioned by Irwan Holmes in Bali November 27, 2009 - January 14, 2010.
American Irwan Holmes first came to Indonesia in 1969, settling in Jakarta where, by his own admission, he fell in love head over heals with Indonesian gemstones. His love for gems, shared in almosy equal measure with affection Holmes feels for his Indonesian wife and family, has help him win numerous international awards for his innovative jewelry designs.
Holme's dazzling exhibition of outstanding jewelry will be on display at:
Paintings by Angels – Amazing Gemstones of Indonesia November 27, 2009 until January 14, 2010 Papen Jewelry Artifacts Jalan Jagaraga 66 – Celuk Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali For more information telephone 62-(0)81999755897
Proceeds for the exhibition will be donated to the UNICEF Children Projects in Indonesia.
Keeping Bali's Economy Bubbling
Interview with Prof. W. Ramantha, Dean of the Economics Faculty of Bali's Udayana University.
The October 29, 2009, edition of The Bali Post carried an interview with Professor W. Ramantha, the Dean of the Economic Faculty at Bali Udayana University. Here is our translation of Professor Ramantha's comments. The Interview: Professor W. Ramantha – Dean of Economics Faculty, Udayana University, Bali. Bali Post:Tourism remains the backbone of Bali's economy. What will be the condition in the future. Prof. Ramantha: For several years to come, tourism will be the foundation of a number of economic activities. What's more, in the past two years there's been rapid development in tourism. This means that this sector must be protected well to guarantee it can continue to make an even larger contribution in the future. Bali Post: What do you mean? Prof. Ramantha: Tourism cannot be exploited without accompanying efforts to retain and enhance its attractiveness. Because, if there are no repairs, eventually the tourists will become bored. Moreover, if we're not careful tourism can even decline. Let's not forget that tourism in Bali in addition to being dependent on nature is also reliant on the environment, arts and culture. Bali Post: How do we do this? Prof. Ramantha: One effort should be plowing back some of the proceeds from tourism to create stronger tourism industry in the future. There must be reinvestment in tourism, both in tourism services as well in the manpower working in the tourism sector. Bali Post: What about other sectors? Prof. Ramantha: Actually, Bali has the potential to develop its economy outside of the tourism sector. To do this will require time. For example, the agricultural sector which is under pressure from decreasing land resources will need new breakthroughs in technology, new seeds and create a higher rate of return from the marketplace.
Bali Tourism Officials Challenge Claims by Best Western Kuta Resort that Letter is in Hand that Clears the Way for Legal Operations. Showdown Ahead?
The controversial drama over the licensing and basic legitimacy of The Best Western Kuta Resort (Sapta Petala) continues. According to NusaBali, the hotel which has been in operations for more than a month, claims to now have a powerful letter of recommendation from the Bali Tourism Authority (Dinas Pariwisata Provinsi Bali). Bonaventura Cristiani, the General Manager of the Best Western Kuta Resort, made this boast to the press last week. Cristiani said his hotel, located on Jalan Bakung Sari in an area zoned as prohibited for hotel development, now holds a recommendation for the all-important operating license. He told the press that his 111 room hotel is allowed to operate while waiting the necessary three months for the formal issuance of an operational licenses from the provincial tourism office (Dispar Provinsi). He told the press: "While we certainly do not have a license, but we do have a letter of recommendation from the provincial tourism office which allows us to operate. This letter was signed by a Batak officer in the office." Batak is the name of a large ethnic group from North Sumatra. However, the General Manager's statement was rebutted by Ketut Naria, the Head of the Planning and Development Division of the Bali provincial tourism office. Naria insists that his department never issued any sort of license or permit for the Best Western Kuta Resort. Naria added: "I have never heard of a request for a permit from that hotel. Every request to the provincial tourism office for a permit for a starred hotel in Bali must first come to me because I head that section."
Further underlining the situation of the hotel, Naria said that even if such a request for a permit were made by the Hotel it apparently could never be approved. The area in which the hotel stands is zoned for mixed residential purposes, only allowing a local inn with less than 25 rooms. However, in reality, the Best Western Kuta Resort has 111 rooms which automatically places the hotel in the starred hotel category - a type of zoning use specifically prohibited in that area of Kuta.
Naria said it would be impossible for the provincial tourism office of Bali to grant a license for the subject hotel. And, as regards the recommendation claimed by the Hotel’s General Manager, Naria dismissed such a claim out of hand. "There is no such thing as a recommendation," Naria insisted. According to Naria, the Best Western Kuta Resort, which is still named the Sapta Petala, held a license issued in 2000 under the rules for autonomy in Bali. At that time the right to issue permits for inns was held by the provincial tourism office while permits for starred hotels were issued from Jakarta. Naria said that the permit issued in 2000 was automatically revoked when the hotel changed its building structure (i.e. size) and its name. The polemic revolving around the Best Western Resort Kuta began when the hotel, once known at the Sapta Petala, tried to request a new license that would alter its status from a inn (hotel melati) to a starred-hotel. This request was refused by a number of government agencies. The zoning law for Bali specifically prohibits the establishment of a starred- hotel on Jalan Bakung Sari. Related Articles [Selective Enforcement of the Law] [Crackdown on Illegal Bali Hotels and Clubs Begin] [Best Westen Opens in a No Hotel Zone] [Does the Sheriff Always Win at the Best Westerns?]
Kuta Beach Shoreline on the March
Beach Erosion Severe on Large Stretches of Bali's Kuta Beach.
The investment of substantial sums in recent years to reclaim and protect Kuta's shoreline has done little to prevent severe erosion in the last days of October 2009. A major stretch of Kuta has lost 15 meters of beach depth along a stretch 200 meters long. A member of Commission B of Bali's House of Representatives (DPRD), Wayan Puspa Negara, said the erosion damage was severe and has been taking place over the past several months. A Kuta Beach official, IGN Tresna, said the worst erosion has occurred near Kuta' Pura Pesangrahan Temple. Tresna explained: "The beach sand which was used to reclaim the beach has been washed away. Moreover, the foundation stones placed below the sands are now visible due to the wave actions of the sea." Tresna said he was worried that (eventually) all the sand placed on the beach would wash away. According to DenPost, the erosion of the beach is not limited to the areas surrounding Pura Pesangrahan, but has also affected the beachfront near the Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel and the Discovery Shopping Mall to the point that the paper postulated guests may be dissuaded from using the beach. The Head of Bali's Waterway Department, Ir. Wayan Ray Yusa, said the erosion problem was still under review and monitoring, suggesting that repairs would commence on Kuta's beach in 2010.
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