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BALI UPDATE #394 - 29 March 2004

Elections: Security 80% in the People's Hands
Bali Police Chief's Thoughts on Maintaining the Peace in Run-Up to Elections.

Bali's Chief of Police, Inspector General Made Mangku Pastika, recently shared his thoughts on maintaining the peace in the current period of political campaigning in Bali. In comments published in the Indonesian-language newspaper Kompas on March 27, 2004, Chief Pastika said that in the effort to maintain the peace the police force's contribution is only 20% of the whole, with the remaining 80% dependent on the people's support.

So Far, So Good

With the exception of several minor campaign skirmishes that have occurred in Tabanan and Sukawati, the days of campaigning that commenced officially on March 11 have proceeded with remarkable smoothness, a situation that is hoped to be maintained until the first round of voting on April 5, 2004.

Bali's long history of protracted internecine conflict fuelled by political rivalry has caused considerable concern among the island's leaders in the pre-election period. Violent political conflicts in October of 2003 claimed the lives of 2 members of the Golkar Party in political skirmishes between the Golkar and The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) in Buleleng. Buleleng was also the scene of political violence 5 years earlier costing 9 lives. In 1971, again in Buleleng, riots and widespread fires in the community resulted when local residents refused demands to join the then-ruling Golkar party.

Heavy Security Measures in Place

According to Chief Pastika, some 7,200 police personnel have been deployed to guarantee security in Bali prior to the elections. In addition to the heavy police presence, Chief Pastika has also established dialogues with all community leaders in Bali. During those meetings the Chief has urged local traditional villages to avoid direct involvement in practical politics, keeping the local defense forces or pacalang from playing any role in the campaigning of the various parties vying for seats in the election process.



New Faces at Maya Ubud
Spate of New Appointments See Experienced Local Hoteliers Hired at Ubud Resort.

The 108-room Maya Ubud Resort & Spa have recently announced a number of new appointments.

Mr. Taufik Junianto - joined the Ubud property in February of 2004 when he was appointed Sales Manager. His former postings include a 5 year stint as Sales and Marketing Manager at the Puri Bagus Villa Resorts preceded by 3 years with the Camplung Sari in Ubud as Sales Manager.


I Gusti Ayu Mariasih was named Marketing Communications Manager in November 2003. She joins the resort from the Mandara Spa group where she worked as Sales Manager. Prior to that appointment, she held sales positions with Raddin Sanur Bali and Hotel Santika Beach.


Komang Surini was appointed Spa Manager in November 2003. Her previous employment were as Assistant Operations Manager at Mandara Spa and as Assistant Spa Manager at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa.


Kadek Suartana joined the hotel in late 2003 as Assistant Front Office Manager. He came to the Ubud property after an assignment as a Senior Duty Manager for three years at Le Meridien Niwana Resort.




South Bali Closed to New Investment?
Investment Coordinating Board Official Says Denpasar and Badung Closed to New Foreign and Domestic Investments.

In a meeting held on March 11, 2004, in Kuta, a Deputy from the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), Drs. Netap Perangin-angin said, "Denpasar and Badung are now closed for general investment, including investment in new travel agencies." Badung is the regency occupying most of the southern part of Bali and the location of the majority of Bali's hotel and tourism investments.

Stating that these areas were already saturated with investments, the BKPM official defended the decision to stop new investment saying this was the wish of the provincial government.

Growing New Investment

Despite the negative effect of the Bali bombing in October 2002, over 100 new investment projects were approved in 2002 with a total value of Rp. 1,120 trillion (approximately US$131.7 million). In 2003 the number of new investment approvals grew to 106 with a stated value of Rp. 2,283 trillion (approximately US$268.6 million), an increase of 103% in one year.


Calling all Writers and Readers!
Ubud Writers and Readers Festival October 11-17, 2004.

Targeted to attract between 750 and 1,000 participants, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is expected to attract writers, readers, artists, performers, translators, scholars, publishers, booksellers, film-makers and students.

The week long event, October 11-17, 2004, will feature panel discussions, workshops, performances, poetry, bi-lingual readings, exhibitions, book and magazine launches, bookstalls and musical events.

Centered in Bali's hillside artists' colony of Ubud, the festival will utilize a number of picturesque Balinese settings for its various event venues.

The stated mission of the inaugural Festival Event is to bring together writers, readers and other cultural workers to foster the exchange of information, inspiration and opportunities between cultural communities from around the world with special emphasis on cooperation between people in Australia and Indonesia. In addition to creating a greater public awareness and understanding of issues concerning writers and readers in the region the festival is also intended to provide opportunities for young and emerging writers to present their work to a larger public.

For more information on registration for this event or sponsorship possibilities, follow the e-mail link below:



Where's the Chinese Market?
Total Mainland Chinese Arrivals Fail to Meet Expectations.

Despite the great store placed in a promised flood of mainland Chinese (PRC) visitors to Bali, the actual numbers continue to fail to impress.

In 2003, a total of 49,573 PRC visitors came to Indonesia, a number just short of the modest target of 50,000 set by the Government. According to figures reported at a recent "Travel Dialogue and Travel Mart," held in Beijing, only 1,342 of the total visitors from the PRC in 2003 used tourist visas with the lion's share registering their purpose of visit as reunions with family members or for business purposes.

When compared with other competing destinations in the region, like Malaysia and Thailand, where numbers approaching 1 million PRC tourist visits each year, Indonesia's ability to attract the mainland Chinese tourists seem particularly lacking.

At the same seminar and as quoted by the Indonesian-language newspaper Kompas, the Chairperson of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Ms. Yanti Sukamdani, said there were a number of factors holding back the growth of PRC tourism to Indonesia: "In addition to the lack of promotion of Indonesian travel products, there is also the factor of Indonesian tourist visa only being issued in Beijing, not yet available in other areas, such as Shanghai and Guangzhou." The PHRI Chairperson went on to add that promotion by Indonesian agents has been lacking. "From 89 travel agents with permits (to handle the PRC market), only 3 agencies are currently active," said Ms. Sukamdani.

Also cited as a negative factor affecting travel by Chinese to Indonesia is visa cost. Currently a visa issued by the Indonesia embassy costs 233% more than a visa to visit Malaysia.

The target for Chinese tourist to Indonesia in 2004 is 344,904 visitors.


Ardika: Tourism Improving Despite Election Fears
Culture & Tourism Minister Sees no Fallout in Tourism Sector from National Political Campaign Now Underway.

Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. I Gede Ardika, sees the current campaign process leading up to national elections as having no negative effect on tourism arrivals. Moreover, according to the Minister, interim arrival figures from Bali for the month of March demonstrate "an increase of around 9%" (sic) as compared to the preceding month of February.

According to the Minister, quoted in the Indonesian-language newspaper Kompas, foreign direct arrivals to Bali in February averaged 2,900 people each day passing through Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport. Meanwhile, average foreign tourist arrivals for March through March 20, the day before Nyepi celebrations, were averaging 3,100, an increase of 6.8% percent as compared to the month before.

Admitting that he has only had the opportunity to look at Bali's arrival statistics and not the numbers for all the Nation's international gateways, he said he felt the results from Bali help to answer questions regarding the potential negative impact of the election process on tourist arrivals. Obviously pleased with the relative degree of good order to date in the election process, Minister Ardika said, "if this (good order) can be maintained in the second round of the campaign, I am certain there will be no fear to visit Indonesia."


Travel Industry Rate at Westin Resort
US$ 49 Rate to Travel Workers Through July 31, 2004.

The recently re-branded Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali has announced a very special travel industry rate of only US$ 49 per night, available through July 31, 2004.

The rate, available only to individuals employed on a full-time basis at travel agents, airlines and hotels, provides accommodation in a newly refurbished Garden View Room and complimentary access to the Westin Workout.

This special travel industry rate is subject to 21% tax and service.

Bonus Night Offer

As an added incentive for travel industry colleagues to take advantage of the special travel industry rate those staying for a minimum of three nights will receive the fourth night free-of-charge.

Special upgrade to Royal Beach Club Rooms and Suites are available under this offer for a nominal additional charge, subject to availability.

This special offer is exclusive to travel industry workers who will be required to present proof of applicable employment at check-in.



Conrad Hotels Boss in Bali
President of Conrad Hotels in Bali to Mark Official Opening of Conrad Bali Resort & Spa.

On Thursday, April 1, 2004, Mr. Clement Barter, President of Conrad Hotels visits Bali to inaugurate his company's new 313-romm resort on the south coast of the Island, adjacent to the Nusa Dua Complex.

Part of the Hilton corporate family, Conrad Bali Resort & Spa occupies a 6.8 acre beach front site set amid tropical gardens, lagoons, waterfalls and a white-sand beach. Adopting a unique "E" shaped layout the hotel's three wings provide four floors of beach-facing rooms. Contemporary styled rooms incorporating pastel colors and wood also feature the latest guest conveniences, including broadband wireless access.

Clement J. Barter

Based in Brussels, Mr. Barter is responsible for the management, sales, marketing and operations of the 15 luxury properties under the Conrad branding in Europe, America, Asia, the Middle East and Australia.

A 30-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Barter joined Conrad Hotels in December 1990 from Inter-Continental Hotels, where he held general manager positions in Frankfurt, Luxembourg and London. He also operated the 900-room Forum Hotel in London, one of the top profit contributors to the IHC/Forum Group.

Mr. Michael J. Burchett

The General Manager of the Conrad Bali Resort & Spa is Mr. Michael J. Burchett. Mr. Burchett, who supervised the opening of the world-famous Four Season's Resort at Jimbaran Bay, has returned to Bali to open the new Conrad Hotels property.



New Timings for Air Paradise Bali - Perth Flights
New Schedule Permits 'More Time in Paradise' for Perth Visitors.

Effective May 9, 2004, Air Paradise International (API) have changed their scheduled flight times between Bali and Perth.

Proclaiming the new schedule "more family friendly," the revised flight times provide mid-day departures from Perth to Bali and a later afternoon return from Bali providing a final, full day on the island.

Perth to Bali

Effective May 9, API will fly 5 times a week leaving on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Scheduled departure from Bali is 10:00 a.m. with touchdown in Perth at 1:30 p.m..

Bali to Perth

Return flights from Bali to Perth operate on the same days leaving Bali at 6:00 p.m. and landing in Perth at 9:30 p.m.

The service between Bali and Perth on API operates using Airbus A-310 wide-body aircraft.



FBI to Join Burfon Death Probe
U.S. Computer Experts to Study Reporter's Computer for Possible Clues.

Bali Police authorities are still tracing down leads in the death of 62 year-old Sandra Jean Burfon whose body was found in the bathroom of her Sanur Beach residence on Friday, February 27, 2004. Burfon, a citizen of the United States and former bureau chief for TIME Magazine in Hong Kong, was discovered dead in the house she was sharing with her husband and domestic staff with severe wounds to her face and neck.

Local press reports indicate that police remain uncertain if Ms. Burfon's wounds were caused as the result of a fall or resulted from a personal attack. Apparently, no items were reported missing from the villa and intense interviews with family, friends and domestic help have not produced a viable motive for homicide.

On Friday, March 26, 2004, Bali's Chief of Detectives Boy Salamuddin confirmed that local police have requested assistance from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to analyze the contents of Ms. Burfon's laptop computer in the hope of resolving the continuing mystery surrounding her death.

Burfon was a well known and respected news reporter who gained international notoriety for her coverage of the assassination of Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino at Manila's airport in 1983. Ms. Burfon arrived in Manila on the same plane with Mr. Aquino and was on hand when he was assassinated while disembarking his flight.

Among the many expressing condolences at the death of Ms. Burfon was Mrs. Corazon Aquino, the wife of Benigno Aquino who served as the President of the Republic of the Philippines.


Tuban Residents Unhappy with Airport Authority
Land Dispute Threatens to Disrupt Airport Activities.

The residents of the traditional Bali village of Tuban, south of Kuta, are expressing their growing dissatisfaction with the Government and Airport Authorities, threatening to stage a "sit-in" demonstration if their dispute over the land covering a traditional cemetery are not soon resolved.

At dispute is a section of land measuring between 8,000 and 9,000 square meters encompassing the cemetery and Pura Dalem of the Tuban community but now utilized by the airport authority. Villages claim that the community land was incorrectly included in a privately-held land certificate of a larger tract of land transferred to the airport in 1991. Following discovery of the error, villages entered into negotiations with the airport authority resulting in a 1996 agreement to provide replacement land outside the airport for use in burials, cremations and a new Pura Dalem.

Claiming that the deed for the new land promised in the exchange has yet to materialize 8 years after the initial negotiations, village leaders have recently renewed their demands for action from the Airport Authority Managements and the relevant government departments.

As reported in the local press, the angry villagers are now threatening to stage a "sit-in" protest on the contested land, potentially disrupting the airport's operations, if the promised land certificate for the new parcel of land is not soon issued.


Begawan Giri Estate Changes Hands
Renowned Bali Deluxe Resort Now Owned and Operated by Como Hotels.

Considered by many to be Bali's most luxurious resort property, the 22-room Begawan Giri Estate has been acquired by the London-based Como Hotels and Resorts.

The Resort, located just north of the art community of Ubud, was developed by Bradley Gardner and has won numerous accolades, including top rankings in international polls of the world's best small resorts properties and prominent exposure in such publications as Architectural Digest.

Como Hotels, which is headed by Singaporean businesswoman and hotelier Ms. Christina Ong, has a growing portfolio of luxurious life-style properties including The Metropolitan (London and Bangkok), The Halkin (London), Cocoa Island (Maldives), Parrot Cay (Turks & Caicos), Uma Paro (Bhutan), and Uma Ubud (Bali, opening in 2004).



 
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