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BALI UPDATE #406 - 21 June 2004

Political Profile of Bali
Election Update: Respected 'Insiders' Newsletter from Jakarta Gives Overview of Bali Politics.

Indonesia Digest - The weekly newsletter published by Ms. Wuryastuti Sunario that manages each week to summarize "Indonesia's complex issues in a Nutshell" - recently published an article on the political profile of Bali, based on recent polls carried out by the Indonesian-language daily newspaper Kompas.

With the kind permission of Ms. Sunario, balidiscovery.com is republishing her article:

Polictical Profile in Bali


"Among all provinces in Indonesia, Bali is in a unique position, because this island is predominantly Hindu in a country that is predominantly Moslem, with some pockets of Christian communities and islands in the east of Indonesia. Besides sustained by agriculture, Bali has also thrived through tourism, but after the Bali blast in October 2002, the problem of SARS and continued worldwide terrorist threats, tourism has dropped drastically. As a result of the slow growth of tourism to the island, total unemployed on Bali in 2003 has reached 100,226 or 1% of total unemployment nationwide.

The province counts 3.4 million inhabitants with 2.47 million registered voters. During the Suharto era, Golkar was predominant on the island, despite the fact that most people here are emotionally attached to Indonesia's first president, Soekarno, father of incumbent president Megawati. Soekarno's mother was Balinese. In the 1999 elections, after the fall of Soeharto, no one was, therefore, surprised when PDIP won a landslide victory on the island, gaining 79% of votes (compared to only 19.5% in 1992). For this reason, Bali was also considered PDIP's main stronghold. Nonetheless, during the past April 2004 elections, PDIP votes dropped drastically to only 52.5% of total votes, with 16.8% going to Golkar and 6.4% going to the brand new Partai Demokrat.

What are the main issues faced by Bali? "Unemployment" said the majority (22.7%) of respondents. Other issues are: increased cost of basic necessities (15.8%), Safety and security (14.7%), Poverty (14.5%), lack of infrastructure (10.3%), Education (6.7%), Corruption (2.5%) and the Environment (2.5%), were the results gathered in a Survey made by Kompas on 4-5 June in 5 districts of Bali on 476 respondents.

When respondents were asked who was their choice of president, the largest average percentage (65,5%) chose Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and Jusuf Kalla, followed by Megawati-Hasyim Muzadi at 47%, said the Kompas daily of 12 June 2004. Again evidence of people's disenchantment with the way Megawati's cabinet handled the tourism sector that greatly affected the island.

It is little wonder, therefore, that all presidential candidates are now busy campaigning on Bali, as opportunities abound to gain the sympathy of swing voters, at the same time provide the chance to pull the rug from under PDIP."

balidiscovery.com thanks Ibu Wuryastuti Sunario for her kind permission to quote from her highly respected newsletter.


An About Face on Tourism Policy?
President Megawati and Running Mate Promise to Maintain Tourism Ministry.

According to reports in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, President Megawati Soekarnoputri and her vice-presidential running-mate, Hasyim Muzadi, are vowing to maintain a Minister charged with managing tourism in their new cabinet and to improve the overall management of the tourism sector, if elected.

The election promise to maintain tourism's presence in the Presidential Cabinet seems at odds with the draft law prepared during President Megawati's current term that would eliminate tourism's representation on the cabinet level of decision making. On Monday evening, June 14, 2004, Vice-Presidential aspirant Muzadi said, in supporting calls from the tourism industry to maintain a tourism Minister in the cabinet, "I wish to reaffirm our commitment that tourism becomes the leader in foreign exchange production. In the current situation of free markets, those sectors of the economy most capable of producing foreign exchange are agriculture and tourism."

In reviewing the current unhappy state of the Nation's tourism industry, Muzadi pointed to confusion resulting from the "rainbow coalition" of the current Cabinet, a lack of clear focus in current tourism marketing efforts, and problems created by moves towards regional autonomy. All these factors must be seen against the backdrop of security concerns that continue to hold back tourism's development.

National tourism leader have been unanimous in their condemnation of plans to eliminate tourism's voice at the ministerial level of national decision making. The Chairwoman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Ms. Yanti S. Hardjoprakoso, has called for the retention of a tourism department with a strong voice, able to executive programs in a dynamic and efficient manner. Ms. Hardjoprakoso defended her stance, pointing to the US$ 5 billion in foreign exchange created by Indonesian tourism, the 7 million positions of direct employment credited to tourism, and another 29 million indirect jobs tied to tourism in the Country.


Taman Sri Buwana
Culture Tourism at its Best: A Living Museum of Balinese Farming Life.

In remote West Balinese Banjar Beng Utara, in the village of Tunjuk, not far from Tabanan, an unique living cultural exhibit has opened to the public.

Established by the visionary Balinese businessman, Ketut Buana, Taman Sri Buwana provides visitors to Bali a chance to catch a glimpse of daily life on a traditional Balinese farm.

Each day guests are met at their hotels and delivered to Taman Sri Buwana where they are escorted on a tour of a typical Balinese compound, visiting the various buildings who size and position are carefully stipulated by age-old traditions based on the length of a priests arms and the structures' position vis-a-vis sacred Mount Agung.

After a visit to the banjar's elementary school, participants head for the communities farm land to view first-hand the various stages of rice cultivation and try their hand at planting Bali's precious rice harvest.

A trek through the surrounding lands, a drink of coconut milk provided by a nearby tree and a traditional Balinese lunch prepared by the village womenfolk round out a day not soon to be forgotten.



Reinvigorating Tourism Investment
Government Looking to 'Kick-Start' Investor Sentiment.

Speaking to the press and as quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Myra P. Gunawan, the Deputy in charge of Product and Business Development at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, recently said, "tourism development is currently very stagnant due to limited resources available to invest." She went on to explain that investor sentiment towards the tourism sector is fundamentally different from the early 1990s when investment in national tourism reached record heights. This situation changed dramatically with the downturn in tourism in 1998 and 1999.

Although Indonesia's tourism industry is showing signs of recovery, investment in new tourism projects remains sluggish.

According to Ms. Gunawan, tourism is suffering from a disconnect caused by a lack of coordination between the Center and the now-autonomous regional governments and the difficulties of implementing viable tax incentives to lure investors.

A Conference on Tourism

The Government has scheduled a Conference of Tourism set for August 3, 2004, that will attempt to identify fundamental problems holding back investment in Indonesian tourism.

Planning to involve major players and stakeholder, the conference is expected to result in a white paper containing concrete recommendations on tourism to be presented the next national cabinet.


School Holidays to Fill Bali to Overflowing
Convergence of Australian and Indonesian School Holidays Promise Strong Occupancy to Kuta Area Hotels.

Garuda Indonesia Airlines have added 22,060 seats on six domestic and two regional routes between June 23 and July 26, 2004, in order to handle an expected jump in demand of Indonesian travelers during the annual school holiday breaks.

The additional seats will be created by the National Carrier in the form of supplemental flights and larger aircraft with greater seating capacity. 14,144 additional seats will be generated in the form of additional flight frequencies while 7,916 more seats will result from the employment of larger aircraft on existing routes.

In order to avoid delays at airports, Garuda is asking passengers to use city check-in facilities, where available.

Merpati Nusantara (MZ) have also announced plans to add 6,000 seats during the coming holiday rush.



Air Asia to Fly to Bali
Asia's Fast-Growing Budget Carrier Continues its Rapid Expansion.

Following the successful launch of three routes connecting Indonesia with Malaysia, Air Asia have signaled plans to establish an additional seven new routes before the end of 2004.

Current routes at bargain prices are operated by the Airline with strong loads reported between Jakarta - Johor Bahru; Bandung Kuala Lumpur; and Surabaya Kuala Lumpur.

Bali Service in July

According to Air Asia's Country Manager, Abdul Nasser Abu Kassim, his employer will commence new services in July between Jakarta - Kuala Lumpur; Bali Kuala Lumpur; Medan Kuala Lumpur; and Makassar Johor Bharu.

Before the end of 2004 Air Asia will introduce three additional new services to Padang and Palembang (Sumatra), and Yogyakarta.

The new start-up budget carrier from Malaysia with the slogan "Now Everyone Can Fly" and famous for its rock-bottom air fares operates 17 aircraft, a number soon to increase to 26 with its recent order of nine B-737-400 aircraft.

According to Nasser, the Airline is achieving a system-wide load factor of 64%.


Kuta Karnival is Back
So Much Fun the First Time Kuta Plans for a Second Karnival September 23 October 3, 2004.

Building on the success of 2003's inaugural Kuta Karnival - they've decided that the time for fun and festivity is here again!

While last year's theme was a "Celebration of Life, A Remembrance of Love," this year's event will take for its thematic inspiration: "A Celebration of Life, Tri Hita Karana."

Tri Hita Karana are the three fundamental tenets of life in Bali, demanding a basic balance be maintained between Man and God, Man and Nature, and Man and Man.

Once again, Kuta will come alive with exciting events, parades, competitions and exhibitions. Promising something for everyone, there will be a multitude of Sports, Surfing and Skate competitions, and a vibrant street parade involving all of Bali with promoters promising "shades of Carnivale, on a smaller scale!" Look also for an antique and specialty car & motorbike show, fashion shows, an international food festival, and music on offer to suit every taste.

Kuta Karnival 2004 starts on September 24 with a special opening ceremony on Kuta Beach. Last year, 50 dazzling performers and a Chinese Dragon ensured the Karnival began with a bang and this year's opening promises to be even more spectacular! Running for the ten days until its end on October 3, various events will focus on man's relationship with his fellow man.

Here's a short list of just some of the many events scheduled at this year's Kuta Karnival:

Art, music, cultural performances and competitions showcasing traditional and modern dance and theatre.

Themed fashion shows.

The Discovery Kartika Plaza Surf Memorabilia Exhibition and Best of Bali's Environmental Photo and Painting Exhibition.

X-TREME GAMES, including Surfing Competitions at Kuta and Uluwatu's world famous beaches.

Special daily events including Ripindo Grommets Day, Ripindo Longboards Day, retro, OM Bali Pro Legends, Surfer Girl Ladies Day, teams and body board competitions.

The Karinval Open the Kuta Lines Indonesian Surfing Championship 2004.

Skateboarding events, including street pre-lims and finals, best trick, long jump, highest ollie, gap and bungy skate jump contests, as well as a wild-in-the-park competition.

Beach Volleyball and beach Soccer competitions.

Hammerhead Bodybuilding Competitions.

Tug-of-War and Sand Sculpting Competitions.

Kite Surfing Competitions.

Martial Arts Exhibitions.

An International Food Festival. Live musical performances by jazz and blues performers, exciting DJs, rock groups all presented from a special stage built on Kuta Beach.

Kites for Kids - Kite Making and Kite Flying events for the younger crowd.

More information: Kuta Karnival Web Site


Bali Documentary Wins International Honors
New York Film Festival Honors Film on Aftermath of Bali Bombing.

Jane Walters' film, Bali: Hope in Paradise had its international premiere screening in Manhattan, New York City, on April 25, 2004, at the New York International Independent Film Festival. Over 300 eager viewers attended the screening, giving the documentary the distinction of being the only festival film with a sold out theater audience. Audience members included Indonesian diplomats from the United Nations, directors of Cable News Network New York (CNN), news bureau chiefs, and various friends, students and supporters of Indonesia.

Narrated by Asha Gill of Discovery Channel, with music contributed by Sting, Bali: Hope in Paradise won the New York Film Festival's Best Documentary Award in the category of International Films.

The Bali bombing and its aftermath launched Walters as a documentary filmmaker, showing the horrors of terrorism and its affect on the lives of innocent people. After the bomb blast she and her friend, Robert Koster, were first on the scene with a camera, their footage of the outrage showing around the world via Reuters World News. However, although global newscasts recorded the death and injury to foreign tourists in great detail, they mentioned little or nothing about the impact on the people of Bali. Jane resolved to tell those stories. This is her first independent documentary.

Research led Walters to Asriani Kebon (Sri), a 22 year old Balinese princess with an Australian mother and a Balinese father. Bali: Hope in Paradise is the powerful story of how Sri Kebon and Bali's life changed in the wake of the Bali bombing.

Jane Walters grew up in British Columbia, Canada, and graduated from Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver. During her university days, Walters was active in community television, working as both a producer and presenter. Six years ago she married and moved to Bali where she began raising her family and running a boutique hotel.


Merpati to Open Flight Connection to Banyuwangi
Surabaya Banyuwangi Bali Air Link to Operate Before Year's End.

In a unique joint cooperation agreement between local government and an airline, Merpati Nusantara Airline (MZ) is expected to commence a new twice-weekly air service connecting Surabaya Banyuwangi - Bali before the close of 2004.

A joint cooperation agreement between the local government of Banyuwangi and the Airline that provides for improvements in a soon-to-be-operational airfield and financial support for the new air service will make possible passenger service with 22-passenger Twin Otter equipment operated by MZ.

Work is underway in Banyuwangi, the easternmost port on the Island of Java, that will see a 750 meter runway completed in September opening the way for the inauguration of the new domestic air service.


WWF Closes Bali Office
Move Reflects New Emphasis on Lobbying Policymakers in Jakarta.

After nearly 10 years of operations in Bali, the local office of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) will close on July 1, 2004.

The closure of the Bali office is part of the restructuring of WWF's activities in Indonesia and, according to the Group's Executive Director, does not reflect a lessening of their commitment to national conservation efforts.

WWF's oceans' conservations program now moves to Jakarta from where it will continue to oversee work on Bali projects concerned with the preservation of sea turtles and preservation of the coral reef.

Although Bali remains strategically important to WWF's Indonesian conservation efforts, the organization is now concentrating on lobbying national policymakers by working with the Department of Seas and Fisheries in Jakarta.


Bulgari Resort on Target to Open Late 2005
Luxury Boutique Property to be Located on Uluwatu Peninsula.

P.T. Mugi Resko Abadi (MBA), the developers of operators of the ultra-luxury Bulgari Resort have reaffirmed their intention to open their 58-unit property by late 2005.

According to Bulgari franchise-holder and Managing Director of MBA, Soetikno Soedarjo, the hotel is putting quality before quantity in its marketing strategies, targeting an occupancy of only 40% in its first year of operation, increasing to no more than 65% by year five. Reflecting the same conservative approach to the new venture, Soedardjo told the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia that the project is slated for financial break-even only in its sixth year of operation.

Comprised of 58 luxury villas, the Bali Bulgari Resort and Spa will feature a complete spa and two restaurants.

The Bali property will be the second luxury property to be opened under the Bulgari brand, normally associated with fine jewelry. The first Bulgari property operates in Milan, Italy.



The Swiss and Austrian Consulate has Moved
New Address for Swiss & Austrian Consulate.

Jon Zurcher and his very diplomatic staff have moved the Consulate Agency for Switzerland and Austria from its old locale adjacent to the Swiss Restaurant in Central Legian to the following new address:

Consular Agency of Switzerland & Austria

Kompleks Istana Kuta Galleria

Blok Valet 2 No. 12

Jl. Patih Jelantik - 80361 Kuta

Tel: +62-(0)0361 751735 Fax: +62- (0)361-754457

Email: swisscon@telkom.net or swisscon@denpasar.wasantara.net.id


 
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