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BALI UPDATE #398 - 26 April 2004

Who Says Bali Tourism Has Recovered?
Head of Bali Recovery Program Takes Issue with Those Who Claim Things are Back to Normal in Bali Tourism.

The Chairman of the Working Committee for Bali Recovery I, I Gusti Kade Sutawa, was recently quoted by the Indonesian-language Bali Post as saying that he was "angered" by reports claiming Bali's tourism has recovered.

Speaking to the press on April 22, 2004, he said, "how can you claim recovery when, in fact, the tourism industry is still gasping for air? Occupancy rates of hotels in Candi Dasa are on the average below 15%. And don't forget, we've lost 40% of our European market."

Arrival Statistics Don't Tell the Whole Story

Sutawa went on to explain that the Government is misguided if they only refer to arrival statistics at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport in determining the fortunes of Bali's tourism. Using such information, according to him, only allows the Government to become self-satisfied and not increase their efforts to assist tourism. "In fact," said Sutawa, "we have done nothing to aid Bali's tourism recovery."

Sutawa explained that there a number of other factors that must be considered to determine the status of the Island's tourism industry. Chief among these are the multiplier effect and component industries that comprise the entire tourism activity of Bali. He explained that because non-starred hotels, travel agents, art shops, and transportation companies continue to suffer it is evident that tourism remains in the crisis mode.

Quality of Tourists Has Declined

Separately, the Vice-Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association for Bali (PHRI), IGN Ray Suryawijaya, confirmed that the flow of European tourists to Bali has eroded by 40%. Explaining that European travelers have higher spending power and longer lengths of stay he said, "with apologies and with no desire to minimize the importance of Asian tourists, while the number of Asian tourists may be equal to European visitors, their economic impact on Bali is less."


Land Rights and Preserving Bali's Culture
Seminar Discusses the Effect of Tourism on Land Holdings and Preserving Bali's Unique Heritage.

A seminar on "Bali's Tourism Development From the Perspective of Traditional Villages and Preserving the Island's Cultural Landscape" was held by the Law Faculty of the Dwijendra University in Ubud on Saturday, April 17, 2004.

That seminar focused on the willingness of many Balinese to disenfranchise their hereditary property rights and the future implications that trend will have on Bali's cultural character.

The meeting, attended by a number of traditional village leaders, saw the Village Chief of Kesiman, Drs. I Made Karim, call for the imposition of local village laws based on the recognized autonomy of traditional villages that will forbid the wholesale transfer of land to non-Balinese owners. He also underlined his disagreement with the government when they permit the development of hotel projects that consume large tracts of land in Bali, pointing out that Bali's unique world culture is founded on the local commitment to the principles of Tri Hita Krana, namely: the maintenance of harmonious connections of man with God; man with his fellow man; and man with nature.

The University's Dean, I Made Winaya, S.H., accompanied by a senior lecturer, I Nyoman Anrana, S.H., re-echoed Drs. Karim's comments suggesting traditional village law can be used as a tool of social control to preserve local cultural norms and values.

The seminar attended by 125 participants suggested that the success of tourism development efforts must be measured not only in economic terms but also in terms of its ability to improve the living conditions of the local population and preserve traditional Bali-Hindu values.


Public Sewer Project to Commence in June
Long-Overdue Major Sewage Line Planned for Bali's Capital.

The Denpasar Sewerage Development Project is scheduled for construction commencement in June 2004, following the completion of test pathways designed to avoid disturbing existing subterranean electrical, telephone and water lines.

Partially funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JICA), an initial Rp, 165 billion (approximately US$19.4 million) will be used to construct a 46 kilometer long sewage line with a diameter of 1.2 meter.

The sewage line will end in the Suwung area where the raw wastes will be processed and treated. The initial main sewage line will pass the Pertamina depot in Suwung, head north from the Benoa intersection passing Jalan Raya Sesetan, Jalan Diponegoro, Jalan Arjuna, Jalan Karna and Jalan Nangka. Another line from the Sanglah intersection will pass Jalan Raya Puputan, Jalan Letda Tantular, Kapten Japa, Jalan Hayam Wuruk, Jalan Melati and Jalan Patimura.

Mr. Budiarsa, the project manager for The Denpasar Sewerage Development Project recently explained that the project is essential to stop the degradation of Bali's rivers due to waste and sewage disposal and to ultimately protect Bali's beaches.

Prior to assuming the job of project leader for the Denpasar Sewer installation Mr. Budiarsa headed a similar project that laid down the initial sewer works in Yogyakarta, Central Java.

At present, virtually all homes and business in Bali operate with individual septic disposal systems.


Bali Police to Crackdown on Thugs
Special Anti-Hoodlum Team Formed at Bali's Police Headquarters.

The National News Agency - Antara reports that a special anti-crime unit has been formed by the police in Bali to crack down on a recent rise of hoodlumism.

The report quoting Police Brigadier General Teguh Sudarsono, said "the special team was formed to wipe out crimes that have been disturbing the people."

The special tactical unit of 24 officer has been drawn from the Police Mobile Brigade and will focus on both petty crimes committed by local outlaws and organized crime on the Island.


Indonesian Performing Arts Mart 15-17 June 2004
The Republic's Rich Range of Performing Arts in Bali Exhibition for Two Days in June.

Indonesia Performing Arts Mart (IPAM) will be held in Bali June 15-17, 2004 in Bali.

The event, involving hundreds of artists and musicians will be split over the following island venues:

Keraton Ballroom Indoor Stage (Nusa Dua)

Arma Open Stage (Ubud)

Wantilan Open Air Theatre (Ubud)

Kertagosa Ballroom Business Lounge (Nusa Dua)

Scheduled to be an annual event, IPAM is organized in a format to encourage contact and networking between global Art Managers, Promoters, Agents, and Producers and prominent Indonesian Performing Artists. Through discussions and a program of continuous performances participants will experience a whole range of Indonesia's lively arts and obtain insights on current trends in Indonesia's live artistic performance.

The entire event is open to interested individuals without charge with special hotel packages and airline rates available to visitors traveling to Bali for this event.

The event will feature performances by selected artists, business forums, and commercial booths from management agencies and music publishing companies.

For more information and a complete schedule of performances, visit the IPAM website via the provided link.



Hotel Association Surveys of Travel Industry
Travel Industry Workers Invited to Participate in On-Line Survey Gauging Bali's Value as Travel Destination.

Bali Hotel Association (BHA) wants to know what you think about Bali. And, if you're a member of the travel industry, you can even win valuable hotel prizes just by taking the time to complete their short on-line survey.

Commenced in December of last year and scheduled to run throughout 2004, the survey gathered the opinions of 250 travel industry respondents during the first 5 months of its circulation gathering opinions from those who shared their perceptions about Bali.

So far, survey participants have ranked Bali highly. Respondents, however, were split down the middle on the Visa on Arrival issue: 54% say the visa will impact tourism arrivals while 56% say it will cause complaints (results as of 15/4/03). On February 01, 2004, the Indonesian government introduced a US$25 visa fee for the residents of many countries visiting the country.

Of the early 250 respondents through mid-April, here's the percentage number for those who agreed with the following statements about Bali:

Attractive, salable destination (99%)

Better value than many other destinations (98%)

A safe place to visit (97%)

Caters to the needs of international travelers (97%)

Culturally rich (96%)

Has enough attractions/activities for all types of people (96%)

Has improved as a destination in the past 2 years (86%)

Well promoted (84%)

Adheres to international business standards (79%)

Highly recommended for MICE (76%)

Concerned with the environment (70%)

Has international standard medical facilities (68%)

Should have travel advisory in place (66%)

Bali is clean (64%)

During the first quarter, Gary Hines of New South Wales, Australia, answered the survey and was selected to win a two-night stay at a member hotel.

If you're a travel industry member and would like to participate, follow the link to the Bali Hotel Association website below.



An Evening of Thai Culture
Special Evening of Thai Dance and Music on Wednesday, April 28, 2004. Admission Free.

Garuda Indonesia in cooperation with Nusa Dua Beach Resort & Spa, Thailand Elite Card and Bali Discovery Tours is sponsoring a one-night special performance of traditional Thai dance and music provided by the internationally acclaimed dance and music faculty of Rajapat University's Ubon Ratchathani Campus.

The performance, open to the public without charge, will be held at the Budaya Outdoor Cultural Theatre at the Nusa Dua Resort & Spa on Wednesday, April 28, 2004, at 7:30 p.m..

The evening will feature performances of traditional dances from across the Kingdom, including the "Sung-Ngoen" Pongland Band from Thailand's northeast. Widely considered to be one of Thailand's leading cultural ambassadors, this group has won numerous awards and performed in the United States, Australia, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, France and Germany.

Don't miss thus exceptional evening of Thai dance and music presented without charge to the public.

Cash bar available.

More information: Thai Cultural Night


Metered Taxis Operating Again at The Westin Resort
Kowinu and Bali Taxi Sign Cooperation Agreement.

Following a sometimes tense dispute that has lasted for nearly two months, two Bali taxi operators have finally signed a cooperative agreements with the management of The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali that will promises smooth and uninterrupted taxi services to guests staying at the Resort.

As reported on balidiscovery.com on March 1, 2004, [Westin Hit by One-Day Taxi Driver Blockade], taxi service was interrupted by a one-day blockade staged by taxi drivers from the Kowinu Cooperative on February 27, 2004.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the Kowinu drivers comprised of men living in the areas immediately adjacent to the Resort, are entitled to a 2:1 ratio of taxi pick-up by drivers from the competing Bali Taxi Company drivers. A victory of sorts for the local drivers who, under the terms of the old agreement, enjoyed only equal access to paying passengers. The new agreement was signed by representatives from both taxi companies and the Resort. Witnessing the signing were various local government and village officials and the President Director of the Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC), Made Madra.

Mr. Madra, bemoaning the unfortunate blocking of the hotel's entrance by drivers on February 27, 2004, called on all parties to the agreement to not only refer to the agreement just signed but to also base their future actions on the unwritten rules in their hearts that demand the character of Bali be preserved.

The Kowinu Cooperative drivers, who eventually settled for a 2:1 ratio of passengers, were initially demanding a 3:1 share.


Visits to Bali's Public Tourist Sites Down
Mirroring Arrivals, Government Tourist Attractions Suffered Visitor Slump in 12 Months Following Bali Bombing.

The Head of the Tourism Office for the City of Denpasar, Putu Budiasa, has released figures demonstrating dramatic drops in visits by foreigners to many of Bali's public tourist sites:

Taman Budaya visitors plummeted from 16,874 in 2002 to only 4,623 in 2003.

Le Mayeur Museum in Sanur went from 2,602 visitors in 2003 to 1,111 the following year.

Museum Bali - the island's main repository for cultural, historical and ethnographic artifacts, recorded 14.651 visitors in 2002, dropping to 10,914 in 2003.

Pasar Kumbasari traditional market experienced a drop from 40,445 foreign visitors in 2002 to only 6,638 in 2003.

According to Budiasa in comments made to the Indonesian language Bali Post, his office is attempting to encourage local tour operators to include the Bali Museum in all city tour programs, but was encountering resistance, perhaps due to the lack of financial incentives for local operators to add public-funded tourism sites to their itineraries.

Numbers Improving to Tanah Lot

Visitor numbers were seen to be improving at Pura Tanah Lot for the first quarter of 2004.

January domestic and foreign visitors to the much-photographed temple on Bali's western shore totaled 94,193, dropping to 46,541 in February, and reducing further to 38,760 during the month of March.

Despite the declines in February and March, January's strong performance and interim figures for April suggest visitor numbers may be making a comeback at the Tabanan religious shrine complex.

More information: Join a Tour to Tanah Lot


Footy Comes to Bali!
Jakarta versus Bali Game Set for Saturday, May 1, 2004.

It's aggressive. It's fast paced. And, it's certainly not for the weak-hearted.

Australian Rules Football is on tap for Bali in a game between the Bali Geckos against the Jakarta Bintangs set for Saturday, May 1, 2004.

Action gets underway at 3 p.m. at Lapangan Samudra on Jalan Blambangan in Kuta.

Food and cold beer will be on sale.

For more information, follow the e-mail link provided below.

Top Sydney Jockeys on R & R in Bali
Corey Brown Resting an Injured Heel on Bali's Beaches.

One of Australia's most-winning jockeys, Corey Brown, brought his wife, Kylie, and their two children to Bali in April for a two-week holiday.

The Bali-break was intended to give Corey's fractured left heel bone a chance to recuperate. The jockey had been riding with the injured foot for nearly two months, frustrating a full recovery of the painful affliction.

Brown is scheduled to return to the saddle in time for the May 1st race at Rosehill Garden

He is currently in contention for the premiership among Sydney jockeys and to finish the season at Australia's top Group One jockey.

The Brown family was joined on their Bali holiday by another famous Australian jockey, Glen Boss, who also brought his family to the paradise island.


Change at the Helm at San Michele Travel
John and Aileen Forsyth Sell Company to Former Garuda Orient Holiday Veteran Ian Norris.

An Australian pioneer in travel to Southeast Asia and Bali - San Michele Travel has been sold to former Garuda Orient Holiday (GOH) executive Ian Norris.

Established in 1966 by John Forsyth and his wife, Aileen, San Michele plan to draw on their combination of grass-roots experience, outstanding service and technological skills including internet technology to expand the company beyond its current base of business.

The new owner, Mr. Ian Norris, has more than 30 years travel industry experience including his most recent assignment with GOH - the travel wholesale arm of the Indonesian national carrier, where he is credited with re-invigorating travel from Australia to Bali.

Mr. and Mrs. Forsyth plan to stay involved in the business on an advisory and administrative level while Mr. Norris introduces new program and policies designed to take full advantage of the current boom in Australian travel business to Bali.


 
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