BALI UPDATE #425 - 01 November 2004
More Countries to Qualify for Visa on Arrival?
Minister Jero Wacik Says Number of Countries Eligible for VOA Under Government Review.
Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik and Minister of Justice and Human Rights Hamid Alawuddin have both confirmed that the Government will soon review the number of countries eligible for visas-on-arrival when entering Indonesia.
Under the new immigration policy introduced on February 1, 2004, the nationals of 21 countries can purchase a visa upon arrival (VOA) in Indonesia while the nationals of 11 other countries are allowed a visa-free facility. Nationals from all other countries not falling within these two groupings must apply for a visa in their home countries before arriving in Indonesia.
Indonesia's Visa Policy [ Summary details
Prior to the change in visa policy the nationals of 48 countries were granted visas on arrival for stays of 60 days. The new policy, championed by then Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, applied a strict policy of reciprocity in deciding which countries would be granted easy access at Indonesian border check points.
Reflecting a possible thaw in this stance, Minister Hamid promised to review the political, legal and security implications of expanding the number of countries eligible to purchase visas on arrival. Reportedly urged on by the new Minister of Culture and Tourism, the Government is being asked to increase the number of countries enjoying the VOA facility in order to further increase tourism flows, particularly from lucrative European markets.
BHA Visa on Arrival Survey Results
Local Hoteliers Share Survey Results with Governor and Minister of Culture and Tourism.
A survey of 10,000 visitors checking into Bali Hotels conducted by the Bali Hotel Association (BHA) seeking feedback on the new Visa on arrival policy introduced on February 1, 2004, has just been completed. The survey, carried out in cooperation with the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), was the association's response to requests from the Government for concrete data on the success or failure of the new visa policy.
The results of that survey were submitted on Friday, October 29, 2004 to Bali's Governor, I Dewa Made Beratha and visiting Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik.
Highlights of the survey's finding include:
99% of those completing the survey indicated they were among those required to obtain visas for Indonesia.
20% of all respondent expressed disappointment with the lack of service and efficiency in visa processing. Even higher levels of dissatisfaction were reported among Japanese and Dutch respondents.
Almost all respondents said airport service was discourteous.
Half of the Japanese respondents found Bali's airport confusing to use.
20-30 % of all respondents claimed they had no prior information on the new visa regulations.
Those required to apply for visas abroad before entering Indonesia complained that it took one to two weeks to complete the application process.
Among those purchasing their visa at Bali's airport, processing time averaged 25 minutes, despite a government target of 10 minutes. Taiwanese tourist said the average waiting time was 48 minutes.
More than 50% of those responding said their experience at the airport would probably deter them from a return visit to Indonesia.
BHA Chairman, Robert Kelsal said, "Arrival statistics indicate the recovery of tourism in Bali. But we are creating a precarious situation, with Bali's source markets becoming more limited as we experience declines in key source markets which historically produced quality visitors who stayed longer and consequently spent more."
BHA is lobbying the government to streamline processing of visas, allow 30 day in-country extensions of current visas, and for an increase in the number of countries allowed to obtain visas on arrival from the current total of 21.
A Record Breaking Year
Bali by the Numbers: September Figures Shaping Up for a Record Year Driven by Asia-Pacific Visitors.
Statistics compiled by balidiscovery.com indicate that barring any major event to change current healthy upward trend in world travel, Bali's direct foreign arrivals for 2004 are lining up to set all time records.
Overall arrivals January September 2004 totaled 1,093,879 breaking the important psychological barrier of one million and turning in a year-to-date performances lagging only slightly behind corresponding figures set in 2001 and 2002.
Asia Pacific The Source of Bali's Good Fortune
Asia-Pacific arrivals are the motor behind the current surge in Bali's arrival numbers. The 4 top source markets for Bali all hail from the Asia-Pacific Japan, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea who, on a combined basis, represent 59.66% of all foreign arrivals to the island.
Asia-Pacific arrivals were up 68.62% at the end of Q3 led by Japan with nearly a quarter million visitors (244,604), but still lagging behind Japanese arrivals for 2001 and 2002. Australian visitors to Bali set all-time records at 203,609 increasing 110.42% from just a year ago. Taiwan arrivals increased a more modest 9.44% (147,768), cementing that market's steady upward trend of growth over recent years. Meanwhile, South Korea has emerged as a new player on the scene, recording 57,196 arrivals in 2004 104.37% more than just one year before.
ASEAN Malaysia's The Best
ASEAN arrivals are up 30.21% year to date with Malaysia leading the charge, aided by new discount air connections. Malaysian arrivals totals for January-September stood at 40,227 a 67.54% increase from 2003.
The U.S.A. improved its arrivals to Bali by 46.95% during the first three quarters of 2004 with 37,818 arrivals a total still 36.67% behind the same period in 2001.
European Arrivals Not Back Yet
Overall, European arrivals improved 25.63% for the first three quarters of 2004 as compared to just a year earlier. However, like the America's, Europe's numbers have failed to regain past glory, lagging 30.22% behind arrivals recorded in 2002.
Hardest hit among European arrivals remain the U.K. and Italian markets, followed by the Dutch, French and German.
Hobbit, Our Recent Short Cousins to the East
Major Scientific Discovery on Flores Island Make Front Page News Around The World.
An October 28, 2004 cover-story in the scientific journal Nature announcing the discovery of the skeletal remains of dwarf species of proto-humans in cave in Flores has been described as "among the most outstanding discoveries in paleoanthropology for half a century" and has instantly become front page news around the world.
The discovery, first made in September 2003 but kept under tight wraps until its announcements last week, was the joint discovery of an Australian-Indonesian research team comprised of Peter Brown and M.J.. Morwood of the school of human and environmental studies at the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales and a group of five scientists from the Indonesian Center for Archaeology in Jakarta: Thomas Sutikna, R.R. Sujono, E. Wahyu Saptomo, Rokus Awe Due and Jatmiko.
The excitement of their discovery centers around a partial discovery of "Hobbit" the nickname given to the partial skeleton of a 3-foot-tall female found in a hillside cave on the island of Flores, east of Bali. A relative newcomer in anthropological terms, Hobbit is estimated to have lived only 18,000 years ago and, despite her rather diminutive brain size, is believed to have been an adept sailor, hunter and user of tools.
Why all the Fuss?
The scientific world is intrigued at the discovery of Hobbit in Flores for a variety of reasons. Contemporaneous with our own human ancestors homo sapiens, scientists now wonder what degree of contact, if any, existed between the Hobbit or Homo floresiensis and our own direct ancestors. The discovery of Flores Man also opens an entire field of study into evolutionary dwarfism - a process that favored the survival of the diminutive Hobbit and the dwarf elephants that she hunted on Flores. That Homo erectus managed to travel from Africa to Flores is also causing scientists to reconsider evolutionary thinking and current appraisals of the innate abilities of Homo erectus who apparently possessed communication skills, social organizational abilities, and even some rudimentary skills as sailors to travel from the Asian land bridge to water-isolated Flores.
Coming Soon on National Geographic
The sudden emergence of a new, recent species of hominids and its implications on the study of human evolution will be the subject of an important National Geographic Film scheduled for broadcast in early 2005.
Bali Discovery Tours provided logistical and technical support in Bali, Flores and Jakarta to National Geographic film teams documenting this important archeological discovery.
Dance 4 Life
Bali to Join a World Dancing to Stop HIV/AIDS on Saturday, November 27, 2004.
Millions of young people from around the world are expected to be dancing in their respective locales creating a global statement at Dance 4 Life - part of the the fight for awareness in the battle against HIV/AIDS on November 27, 2004.
Endorsed by UNAIDS and based on the knowledge that dance occupies a central place in youth culture everywhere - the Dance 4 Life campaign will involve young people in an interactive and highly energetic way in stopping a diseases that threatens their generation's survival.
Dance 4 Life in Bali
Headed by well know community activist Muriel Ydo in Bali, a team of volunteers have already enlisted the support of three schools in Bali comprising 2,500 students to take part in the event scheduled for Saturday, October 27, 2004 at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Monument in Jumbaran. Participants, all dressed in white, will dance non-stop for 5 hours - joining fellow dancers doing the same in locations around the world.
With an estimated more than 40 million people now living with HIV/AIDS world-wide, the need for education to allow young people to make informed choices on reproductive health issues and drug abuse has become imperative.
For more information on Dance 4 Life in Bali telephone ++62-(0)361-7452045 or facsimile ++62-(0)361-732215.
Arizona Court Rules Against Mark Austin
Englishman Internet Travel Booker Suffers Setback in Arizona Courts On the Heals of Defeat Before World International Property Organization.
The Superior Court of Arizona has ruled in favor of Bali Discovery Tours
and its Internet Service Provider Crystaltech Web Hosting
in an action brought by Mark Andrew Austin, the U.K. operator of an on-line travel booking facility for Bali and Thailand.
The Arizona court ruled that Austin's case charging defamation against balidiscovery.com
could not proceed, granting a summary judgment in favor of Crystaltech
under the U.S. Federal Communications Decency Act
and a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction by Bali Discovery Tour's
President Director, John M. Daniels.
Mark Austin, the owner of an on-line travel booking service and the operators of websites engaged in making highly-critical attacks against numerous Bali and Thailand tourism operators, initiated a defamation action with the Arizona courts in connection with a report on balidiscovery.com
reporting that criminal charges had been filed against Austin with the Indonesian police.
[ See: Bali Discovery Makes a Police Complaint
In a separate proceeding in July 2004, Austin and his On-Line Travel Booking Service Worldwide Internet Hotel Reservations, Ltd.
were found at fault in an action brought before the World International Property Organization (WIPO)
in Geneva, Switzerland. A three-member WIPO
panel ruled that Austin had violated the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
policies in registering the domain names www.balidiscovery.org
. The panel ruled that Austin had acted in bad faith in registering the subject domain names protected under an official trademark owned by P.T. Bali Discovery Tours
also ruled that Austin acted in bad faith by using the disputed domains to "tarnish the trademark and services" of Bali Discovery Tours
- actions outside the legitimate use of a domain name under ICANN's
In finding Austin at fault, WIPO
ordered ordered the transfer of the disputed domain names to P.T. Bali Discovery Tours
.Austin Still Sought by Indonesian Police
Mark Andrew Austin, who has recently resided in Portugal, Thailand and his native England - is the registered owner of a number websites promoting the sale of perscription drugs or travel products over the Internet. He continues to be sought by the Indonesian police in connection to outstanding criminal complaints filed against him by Bali Discovery Tours
Indonesian law classes defamation, trademark and copyright violations, and acts of commercial interference as both criminal and civil offenses.
Efforts by Bali Discovery Tours
to mediate the conflict with Mark Austin, attempting to bring an end to his attacks on the island's tourism and open the way for police charges against him to be dropped, have been repeatedly rejected by Austin, who has publicly vowed "to hurt the island" he loves.
[ Download Arizona Ruling in CV 2004-000253 Mark Andrew Austin v Crystaltech Web Hosting, et al
[ WIPO Decision Case No. D2004-0299 P.T. Bali Discovery Tours v Mark Austin/Worldwide Internet Hotel Reservations, Ltd. et al
The English are Coming!
Pacific World Hosts 24 U.K. Travel Agents Homecoming to Bali.
During the last week of October 2004, twenty-four leading travel and tour operators from the United Kingdom were hosted on a visit to Bali in order to celebrate the recent lifting of negative travel advisories for the island.
Comprised of agents from London and Manchester, the travel professions were hosted to Bali by Garuda Indonesia Airlines and Malaysian Airlines together with the local Destination Management Company Pacific World Travel.
During their visit to the island the U.K. agents met with local police, tourism officials and obtained first hand product updates regarding local hotels and tourist attractions.
Statistics for U.K. arrivals in Bali January-September 2004 totaled 38,255 down 58.23% from the 91,576 visitors reported in the same period in 2001.
Immigration Goes on Line
Closer Inter-agency Cooperation Promised to Protect the Nation's Borders.
The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights have announced that 380 immigration offices and Indonesian consulates will soon be electronically connected with 126 entry points in Indoneia.
The computerized system will allow immigration authorities to monitor the movements of people entering and leaving the country and will operate on a shared basis with the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), Attorney Generals Office, National Police and anti-narcotic agencies.
La Beaujolais est arrivee!
The Grape That Cannot Wait in Bali at Lola Restaurant November 20, 2004.
Made from the Gamay grape grown in clay soils of the southern Beaujolais, Beaujolais Noveau is an uncomplicated wine best drunk within a year or two of its vintage. Considered a good companion to light foods and warm climates, the fabled Beaujolais Noveau is the perfect choice for tropical Bali where tropical climates and constant thirst often mitigate against efforts to establish a wine cellar.
This year's vintage was bottled only little more than a month ago. Accordingly, a special shipment of Beaujolais Noveau is on its way to Bali where it will be welcomed with a special traditional French wine party at Kerobokan's Lola Restaurant on Saturday, November 20, 2004.
A special limited ala carte 3-course menu costing only Rp. 180,000, plus 15% tax and service (approximately US$ 19.80 ++ ) will be on offer.
Dinner includes a welcoming glass of Kir Vendangeurs with the celebrated Beaujolais Noveau available at special prices of Rp. 45,000 (US$4.95) per glass; Rp. 75,000 per carafe (US$8.25); Rp. 135,000 (US$14.85) per half bottle, and Rp. 225,000 (US$24.75) per bottle.
Seating is limited and reservations are required. Call ++62-(0)361-738570 or facsimile ++62-(0)361-738566.
Bali Gets an Indian Cultural Center
Governor Inaugurates Center Located in Renon Sub-District.
India's Ambassador to Indonesia, Kemant Krishnan Singh joined Bali's Governor Dewa Made Beratha in formally opening the new Indian Cultural Center in downtown Denpasar on Tuesday, October 26, 2004.
Located on Jalan Raya Puputan 42-44 in Renon, the Center promises to offer courses in Indian traditional music, dance, yoga and Indian art and culture.
Plans call for the current Center to relocate to a new Cultural Center being constructed on Jalan Tantular, not far from the current premises.
The Center is being operated as a branch of the Jawaharlal Nehru India Cultural Center, already established in Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta.
For He's a Jolly Good Paul Harris Fellow!
Bali's Rotary Club Kuta Names Police Chief Pastika as Honorary Member and as a Paul Harris Fellow.
In a special ceremony on Wednesday, October 27, 2004, Rotary Club Kuta elected Bali's Chief of Police, Irjen. Drs. Made Mangku Pastika as an Honorary Member of the Club and presented the Chief with a pin and a certificate naming him as a Paul Harris Fellow.
The Paul Harris Fellow recognition, named in memory of Rotary's founder, signifies that a substantial cash contribution has been made in Chief Pastika's name to the Rotary Foundation for use in charitable and educational causes.
Chief Pastika, named Time Magazine's Asian Newsmaker of the Year in 2002, was elevated to his new post as an honorary Rotarian based his many services to the community, including the successful capture of the perpetrators behind the October 2002 Bali bombing.
Officiating at Chief Pastika's induction as a Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow was Rotary District 3400's President Nyoman Suastika.
The Chef Who Got Cooked in the Desert
Bali's Heinz von Holzen Does Bali Proud in the 2004 Running of the Simpson Desert Cycle Challenge.
Not content to reap honor after honor for his pioneering efforts to make Balinese food known to the world, Bumbu Bali's Chef and owner Heinz von Holzen recently left the kitchen and represented Bali in a grueling 580 kilometer bicycle race across some of the planet's most inhospitable terrain.
Participating in the Simpson Desert Cycle Challenge (SDCC) Heinz joined 32 others at the starting line of the tortuous 5-day physical endurance test at Purnie Bore, South Australia on September 28, 2004. After finishing 9 stages enduring extremes of temperatures, and terrain ranging from desert sands, to mining tracks to mud-filled tracks where the only option was to carry your bike - Heinz was one of the only 18 participants who managed to actually finish the race in Birdsville, Queensland. What's more, he finished 10th overall and top in his age group (45-50 years).
Clearly not a race for the faint-hearted, the Simpson Desert Cycle Challenge has Doctors monitoring the physical and mental stamina of racers along the entire track. Run with the best of intentions, the SDCC netted over $30,000 for the Queensland Spinal Injuries Assistance Foundation.
Heinz described the course of the race as starting in a location three-days drive from any major capital of Australia and then heading off into the desert to conquer 700 sand dunes, the world's most miserable corrugated road, and two days of torrential rains which turned the track to mud-lakes.
Exhilarated by the experience, Heinz is hoping to break free from his busy kitchen and join the next annual running of the SDCC in 2005.
More information: SDCC Final Results