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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #370 - 13 October 2003

Bali 12 Months On
Police and Tourism Officials Meet the Press.

A special press conference organized by the Association of Starred Hotels in Bali (Casa Grande) on Saturday, October 11, 2003, was held at the Patra Bali Resort. The conference, well attended by members of the international media in town to cover the memorial ceremonies for the Bali bombing victims, saw a panel convened comprised of Inspector General Made Mangku Pastika, Chief of Police for Bali; I Gde Pitana the Chief of the Bali Tourism Authority; Agung Prana, Chairman of the Bali branch of the Association of Indonesian Travel Agents (ASITA); Putu Antara, Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB); and Robert Kelsall, Chairman of the Casa Grande.

Security Dominated Discussions

The foreign press attending the conference were particularly eager to question Chief Pastika on issues related to security and safety on the island of Bali. Among the points made by the island's top policeman, voted Asian newsmaker of the year by Time Magazine, included:

• Bali has largely returned to a normal situation one year after the terrorist attack of October 12, 2003.

• The possibility of new attacks can never be totally discounted, particularly with 5 suspects in last October's bombing still at large and a quantity of their explosive cache still unaccounted for.

• Over the past year the Bali police have received substantial assistance from the local community and international friends that have made a meaningful contribution to the process of "capacity building" among local police officers.

• While the police are constantly developing new strategies and tactics to combat terrorism, the public can help join the fight on terror by "refusing to be terrorized."

• Police are enjoying an unprecedented level of cooperation with local military and international police authorities in the "war on terror." Intelligence officers of the police, military, national intelligence body, and prosecutor's office work closely together in the exchange of information.

• Terrorist cells, with Al Qaeda connections, continue to operate but are "in hiding," unable to use e-mail or electronic means of communications due to more sophisticate surveillance capabilities now possessed by the police.

• New counter terrorism tools are now available to Bali's police including newly arrived state-of-the-art bomb detection equipment and a detachment of bomb sniffing dogs.

• Foreign police advisors are now on temporary assignment with the Bali police representing senior officers from Australia, Japan and the United States.

• Chief Pastika acknowledged the negative impact of travel advisories discouraging travel to Indonesia. He suggested that rather than complain to the Governments concerned, the most effective step to counter these advisories is for Bali to take concrete steps to improve security in order to reassure world travelers that the island is indeed safe.

Chief Pastika also briefly outlined the massive security measures now in place in connection with the visit of Australian Prime Minister John Howard together with 1,500 mourners attending the weekend's memorial services. In all, some 5,000 police officers will be deployed to ensure the peace during the coming days.


Tragic Bus Accident Claims 54 Lives
Most of the Dead - School Girls Returning from a Bali Holiday.

An estimated 54 people perished in a tragic bus accident near the East Java city of Situbundo on Thursday, October 9, 2003.

49 of the dead were young school-aged girls from a Yogyakarta, Central Java high school returning from a 3-day school holiday in Bali.

The accident apparently occurred when the bus slammed into the back of a semi-trailer that had lost power and was rolling backwards down a hill. The bus struck the back of the truck before itself being struck from behind by a local produce truck. The collision ignited the truck's fuel tanks causing flames to engulf the bus, trapping the school children inside.

The horrific crash and its aftermath were witnessed by other members of the 130 school group traveling on two other busses.

Police continue to investigate the crash, including interviewing the drivers of the bus and truck who survived the collision.


Air Paradise Begins Taiwan Service
First Flight Between Taipei and Bali Departed October 9, 2003.

Air Paradise International (API) commenced its thrice weekly service between Bali and Taipei on Thursday, October 9, 2003.

The three-times-a-week service will be increased to six times starting in December 2003 in order to meet anticipated growing demand and the availability of aircraft in the API armada. The Taipei service is currently being operated with an Airbus 310-300 aircraft.

In addition to the new Taipei service, API operates flights to Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, and Seoul.


Australian Honors for Top Indonesian Cops
Da'i Bachtiar, Made Mangku Pastika and Gorys Mere Awarded Top Honors by Prime Minister John Howard.

During his visit to Bali to attend memorial ceremonies for the victims of the October 12, 2002 terror attacks, Australian Prime Minister John Howard also presented awards to three of Indonesians top policemen for their assistance in leading the investigations that resulted in the arrest of more than 30 suspects.

In a ceremony held on Saturday evening, October 10 at the Sheraton Nusa Indah Resort Prime Minister Howard presented the Honorary Order of Australia Award to the Head of the National police General Da'i Bachtiar and Chief of Police for Bali Inspector General I Made Mangku Pastika. An official honor was also presented for the lead investigator in the Bali bombings, Brigadier General Gorys Mere.

In acknowledging the award, Bali's Chief of Police, Inspector General Pastika was quick to point out that any award was earned by his team's efforts rather than any individual honor for himself.


Garuda Increasing Flights for Coming Holidays
National Carrier Adds Regional and Domestic Flights to Meet Anticipated Higher Demand.

An additional 65,028 seat capacity will be added by Garuda Indonesia to meet anticipated increased demand on domestic and regional flights over the coming Idul Fitri and Christmas/New Year Holiday periods.

Idul Fitri Holidays

For the period November 19 - 30, 2003, covering the celebration of Ramadan, Garuda will increase capacity through the utilization of larger aircraft or supplemental flights on 8 domestic and 5 regional routes. The routes obtaining the additional capacity are Jakarta-Denpasar, Jakarta-Yogyakarta, Jakarta-Semerang, Jakarta-Surakarta, Jakarta-Padang, Jakarta-Batam, Jakarta-Palembang, Jakarta-Singapore, Jakarta-Guangzhou, Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta-Bangkok.

Additional Christmas/New Years Flights

This additional capacity will be re-introduced during the Christmas and New Years travel period from December 20, 2003 through January 3, 2004.

Of the 65,028 passenger seats, 43,998 will be in the form of additional flights with the remaining 21,030 due to the utilization of larger aircraft.

The planned additional 65,028 seats over the coming holiday periods represents a substantial increase from the additional 30,188 seats added to meet extra demand during the same periods one year ago.


Personal Accident Insurance
balidiscovery.com Offers US$ 100,000 Accident Coverage to All Internet Bookers Now Through 01 February 2004 At No Extra Cost.

balidiscovery.com is offering a special bonus of US$ 100,000 personal accident insurance coverage to every customer who makes an Internet booking via their website through February 01, 2004.

The coverage, arranged through American International Group (AIG) provides for up to US$ 100,000 coverage for medical expenses and emergency evacuation in connection with an accident that may occur while holidaying in Bali. AIG, a U.S.-based international insurance and financial services organization, is one of the most respected and experienced providers of insurance in the Indonesian market place, operating in the country since 1970.

Terms of Offer

balidiscovery.com special insurance offer includes:

• Coverage for every passenger in a hotel, tour, or transportation program booked via balidiscovery.com.

• Coverage remains in effect for the duration of the client's holiday in Bali, commencing from their arrival in Bali until their departure, covering insured movements and non-excluded activities even on those portions of their holiday not purchased through balidiscovery.com.

• Coverage can only be considered to be in place upon final payment of all costs in connection with a balidisocvery.com travel product booking and the issuance of a coverage coupon by the Company bearing the insured's name.

• Coverage for bookings made after the client's arrival are effective only from the actual date of the purchase and payment of the applicable Internet hotel, tour or attraction booking.

• Clients are obliged to provide balidiscovery.com with the complete names of each participant as it appears in their passport or official identification at the time of purchase.

• As with all insurance coverage, conditions apply and a complete description of activities and injuries not covered under the policy is available for inspection at the offices of Bali Discovery Tours in Sanur.

Commenting on the special offer from balidiscovery.com, Mr. Arie Sukirno, Managing Director of Bali Discovery Tours said "I hope people will take advantage of this exceptional opportunity to obtain such valuable insurance coverage from AIU during their Bali holiday. Purchase any product of any price from balidiscovery.com during the course of this special promotion and the customer has accident coverage in place for the length of his or her holiday in Bali."

More information: E-mail for more information


Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
Rotary Club of Ubud to Host Halloween Fund Raiser.

Rotary Club of Bali Ubud is hosting a Halloween fund raising evening at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Riverside Café from 7:00 p.m. until midnight on Friday, October 31, 2003.

A fun-filled evening in keeping with a ghosts and goblins theme is planned with support from a number of Bali hotels, restaurants and trading companies. Gourmet warungs representing some of the areas leading restaurants and hotels will be providing sumptuous food and drink; raffle and door prizes will be on offer; a round trip ticket Denpasar-Syndey-Denpasar on Air Paradise will be given away; and outrageous games and dancing - will all form part of the evening's entertainments.

The suggested dress for the night is "masquerade" with a limited amount of rental costumes available at the door.

Admission is limited to the first 300 people and costs Rp. 150,000 each (approximately US 17.90) which includes 3 food and drink coupons. Additional coupons for food and drink are available for Rp. 10,000 each.

Proceeds for the evening will be used to help fund a community based waste-recycling project for the village of Ubud.

Tickets

Tickets can be obtained from:

• Ibah Luxury Villas in Ubud at Telephone 0361-974466

• Dijon/The Corner in Kuta at Telephone 0361-759636

• Bali Medical Insurance in Sanur at telephone 0361-270361.


Rotary Nusa Dua Funds Hospital Improvements
Sanglah's Burn Unit to Get Dedicated Operating Theatre.

Rotary Club of Nusa Dua, Bali is using funds collected in the aftermath of the October 12, 2002, terrorist attack to contribute additional funding for Australian Aid projects being carried out at Bali's Sanglah General Hospital. Funds under the Club's control will be used to improve the hospital's intensive care unit, cardiac care center, and a burns unit with its own dedicated operating theatre.

The Club has spent the past year meeting with local officials in order to determine the best use of the funds and finally decided that the bulk of the money at their disposal should be used for the establishment of a dedicate operating theatre in the hospitals newly renovated burns unit. In practical terms this will mean that burn victims being treated at the hospital will be able to now undergo surgery without having to leave the sterile environment maintained at the burns center.

Rotary Club Nusa Dua has a long-standing relationship with the Sanglah General Hospital assisting in the past in the establishments of a blood bank and the funding of cleft palate surgery at the facility.

A complete accounting of the funds collected and donations received are listed at the Club's website at www.rotarybali.org.


Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Ritz Carlton Bali Offers an Evening of 'Cigars Under the Stars'.

Ritz Carlton Bali is hosting an evening of fine food, drinks and cigars on Saturday, October 18, 2003.

The evening gets underway with Veuve Cliquot Champagne reception at 7:00 while watching Cuban master cigar roller, Hamlet Jaime Paredez, demonstrate the craftsmanship and quality that goes into every Cohiba Siglo VI.

Included in the evening is the welcoming cocktail reception, a seven course gourmet dinner, five wines and 3 cigars. Seating is limited for "Cigars Under the Stars" with each seat available for Rp. 950,000 per person, including 21% tax and service.

A selection of fine cigars will be available for purchase during the evening presented by the Pacific Cigar Company.

For more information or to book a place at dinner contact Ms. Rento Rianti at the Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort and Spa at telephone ++62-(0)361-702222 (extension 7165).


Intra-ASEAN Barriers to Tourism
ASEAN Business and Investment Summit Identifies Tariff Barriers to Region's Tourism Growth.

Speakers at a seminar on Business Partnerships Among ASEAN Countries held in Bali on October 7, 2003, the third day of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, identified tariff and non-tariff barriers to tourism development in the region.

During a discussion of the need for a one-visa policy tourism experts called for urgent discussions among ASEAN countries on how to remove barriers to travel resulting from the variety of visa entry requirements existing with ASEAN and fiscal taxes affecting intra-regional travel.

Speaking at the seminar held at the Bali Hilton International in Nusa Dua, Ms. Elly Hutabarat, a member of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Indonesia Chapter Board said there is a need to eliminate visa requirements for visitors to ASEAN or, at the very least, establish a system where a single visa applies for those wishing to visit several countries in the 10 member association.

Ms. Hutabarat bemoaned recent changes in Indonesia's immigration policies which will require the citizens of many countries to purchase a visa upon arrival in Indonesia. She went on to predict that these changes in Indonesia's policy will cause further erosion in arrival numbers and result in significant losses in badly needed foreign exchange. Because of this, Ms. Hutabarat renewed her call for the Government to reconsider its plans for the new visa-on-arrival policy.

Discussions also focused on the Rp. 1 million (approximately US$ 119) fiscal tax which must be paid by all Indonesian residents each time they travel abroad. Participants pointed out how such fees adversely affect intra regional travel, acting as disincentives to the growing youth-travel market and to short visits to neighboring ASEAN countries.


Bush in Bali October 22
Press Reports Increasingly Point to Brief U.S. Presidential Visit to Bali During Coming Asian Tour.

Although there's been no official confirmation from the White House Press Office, it appears increasingly likely that U.S. President George Bush will squeeze in a brief visit to Bali during his coming Asian tour, October 17-23, 2003.

Bush's first foreign stop will be in Japan October 17-18 followed by an 8-hour stop in the Philippines on October 18. Air Force One will then wing its way to Bangkok for preliminary meetings there October 18-21, prior to the APEC conference. A Singapore stop is scheduled for October 21-22 followed by a brief stopover visit to Bali on October 22 before proceeding to Australia for October 22-23 on his way back to the U.S.A.

While it's expected that Bush will meet with President Megawati Soekarnoputri during his Bali stopover, official confirmation of that fact is still awaited from either official Indonesian or U.S. sources.


Bali by Moonlight
Bali Update's Editor Suggests A "Bali After Dark Tour" With a Difference.

I'm often asked for my short list of things that visitors "must do" during a holiday visit to Bali. In fact, people walk into my office every day seeking such advice. I'm not complaining. It goes with the territory when you're a travel agent.

For guests and friends in search of a concentrated cultural experience likely to provide deeper insights into Bali's very rich local culture it's hard to beat attending an odalan festival. Bali is home to literally thousands of temples and an odalan is the celebration of a temple's anniversary, an event that happens once every 210 days on the Balinese calendar, usually marked by lively night markets, music, dance, elaborate offerings, and ritual prayers.

A Party Where Gods are Guests and You're Invited

Bali is brimming over with temples. Every village has a minimum of three. There are also state temples, regional temples, banjar or village temples, subak temples located in the island's rice terraces, and family sanggah temples. And each of these temples has a birthday or odalan – an event that can run from one to three days during which the Balinese believe patron gods of the temple temporarily descend into the temple compound to await entertainment by the local community in the form of music, dance and lavish offerings of food.

The abundance of temple (pura) everywhere in Bali makes finding an odalan during your Bali holiday a fairly simple affair. The Bali Tourism Authority, local hotels, and tour agents can point you towards a temple celebrating an odalan. Failing that, a Bali calendar - every Balinese home has one – lists major odalan dates and locations.

While you're checking the Balinese calendar, look for the dates with red circles signifying a full moon. If your visit to Bali coincides with a full moon be sure to seek out an odalan falling on that date - there's almost certain to be one.

Every dawning of the full moon is celebrated in Bali by villagers, beautifully dressed in traditional finery, filing through the streets carrying offerings to local village temples. However, when an odalan falls on the same date, visitors are in for a special treat of a massive festival held in the midst of thousands of lesser celebrations at every nearby pura.

Behave: God is Watching You!

The Balinese have always welcomed visitors who show a genuine interest and respect for their culture and religious traditions. Visitors who make the simple gesture of adopting Balinese dress when attending an odalan earn appreciative smiles from fellow worshippers eager to share the spirituality and good fellowship which marks such occasions.

If you're unable to adopt complete Balinese dress then be sure to wear polite western dress (i.e., forget the shorts, t-shirts and tank tops) and add a selendang or waist slash when entering a temple.

A little social deference goes a long way when visiting a Balinese temple. Always let the locals take the lead and, as in the West, seeking even a nod of approval before taking an individual's picture is simple good manners.

A final suggestion: Ask your travel agent to arrange your odalan outing for you. They can supply a knowledgeable, licensed Balinese guide who will explain the many dances and rituals on offer. He'll also be able to show you how to tie your sarong and participate in the blessings of holy water and rice kernels applied to one's forehead and temples available to all worshippers.

On holiday in Bali, attending an odalan during the dawning of a full moon, and receiving the blessings of the island's gods: Once, twice and three times blessed!

This article by J.M. Daniels first appeared in the October issue of Air Paradise International in-flight magazine.


 
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