"Please pass on my appreciation to Gun, Mawa, Budi and the rest of the team. They were all extremely professional, friendly and helpful and the group really appreciated it. I look forward to running our next group together and seeing you in Bali in the not too distant future."
Bali by the Numbers: November Arrival Figures Reminiscent of Bali's Good Old Days.
Direct foreign arrivals for the month of November 2004 ended the month at 110,596 - achieving numbers the likes of which had not been seen in Bali since 2000 (110,145) and 1998 (111,200).
The November 2004 arrival figures were 31.79% better than the same month a year before and 250% better than the November 2002 figures a month that saw Bali reeling from the effects of the October 2002 terrorist bombing.
Will 2004 Be A Record Breaker?
Total foreign direct arrivals January November 2004 stood at 1,332,784 a total near record levels for the Island. The current "best ever" year for Bali tourism as measured by foreign direct arrivals was 2000 (1.35 million visitors), a record total Bali seems poised to break once the December 2004 arrival figures are announced in next week's edition of Bali Update.
Pakelem Ceremony Held
Balinese Hindus Offer Prayers and Sacrifices as a Response to Sumatran Earthquake.
Tri Hita Karana is the central creed of the Balinese cosmos. It demands that the harmony of the universe always be preserved between man and God, between Man and the physical world, and between man and man.
Recent natural disasters both natural and man-made are seen as imbalances in the cosmos that must be addressed in order to return the balance and harmony mandated by Tri Hita Karana.
In response to the tragedy of the North Sumatran earthquake and tsunami of December 26, 2004 and other recent disasters in Indonesia, large groups of Balinese Hindus gathered for a Pakelem or Bhuta Yadnya Samudra Kerti ceremony held on the morning of January 9, 2005, on Bali's Sanur beach. Prayers and sacrifices aimed at returning balance to the physical world and appealing for protection for Bali were led by three high priests of the Balinese Faith Ida Pedanda Gede Oka Timbul, Ida Pedanda Gede Ngurah, and Ida Pedanda Ketut Mas. The day of faith comprised seaside prayers, incantations, and music, culminating in a dramatic live sacrifices of domesticated animals - including goats, ducks and chicken which were all towed to sea in a boat and ritually drowned.
While the slaughter of so many animals may be seen as inhumane from a certain perspective, their deaths were seen locally as required to return balance to the world and stability to nature. The animals chosen for the sacrifice were lovingly selected and treated with great reverence, the participants believing any animal dying in such a manner is virtually guaranteed rebirth in a higher, improved incarnation.
The estimated costs of the rituals to safeguard Bali were Rp. 50 million (approximately US$ 5,500).
Later in the afternoon of the same day, prayers were held at the Provincial Parliament building organized by Ghandi Puri Ashram. In keeping with Balinese traditions for mutual respect among all religious groups - leaders of the Islamic, Protestant, Catholic and Buddhist faiths accepted invitations to participate in the prayer meeting.
The religious leaders in their prayers and comments echoed the common theme that the recent natural disasters have taken victims from every race and religion, demonstrating once again the equality of all men in the eyes of God. The speakers also spoke of the opportunities for brotherhood and solidarity offered in the midst of the current unprecedented tragedy.
Travel Industry Raises Funds for Disaster Relief
Travel Breakaway Friday, January 14, 2005, at Harris Resort Kuta. A Fund-Raising Party in Support of Aceh Relief Projects.
TravelWeekly Magazine and Travel Works Communications International are organizing a Travel Breakaway gathering at the Harris Resort Kuta.
A bazaar with various booths will operate from 3:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. with a cocktail party and auction scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m.. Promotion of local products via sponsored booths, attractive raffle prizes and an auction will undertaken to raise funds for Aceh disaster relief.
Travel Breakaway are regular social functions hosted by TravelWeekly Magazine held for members of the travel industry.
For more information or information on how to donate auction and raffle items contact Travel Works Communications International at telephone ++62-(0)361-282194 or follow the e-mail link.
Chief Pastika Sees More Crime if Java Bali Toll Road Constructed.
Quoted in the Indonesian-language Radar Bali (8/1), Bali's Chief of Police Irjen. Made Mangku Pastika has joined the chorus of local figures speaking out against the proposed construction of a Java to Bali toll road.
In comments reportedly made at a ceremony to celebrate the opening of a new district headquarters for the Police in Gianyar on Friday, January 7, 2005, Chief Pastika said that while the construction of the proposed toll road connecting Java and Bali would bring economic benefits to Bali, it would also lead to a dramatic increase in criminality on the island. And, for that reason, Chief Pastika is not personally in favor of the proposed project.
Saturday, January 8, 2005 was 'Tumpek Landep.' A Day the Balinese Honor the Tools of their Professions.
In the Balinese calendar of 210 days there are five separate Tumpek Days or Hari Tumpek - Landep, Uduh, Uve (Kandang), Kuningan and Wayang.
In their broadest terms, these are ritual cycle days set aside for paying respect to different fundamental components of the physical world. Landep is a day for honoring the tools of our trades, including any kind of transportation; Uduh respects living plants and the crops that sustain us; Uve or Kandang is a day set aside for paying homage to the members of the animal kingdom, including a family's livestock and pets; Wayang offers deference to the many puppets used in portraying ancient tales; and Kuningan is an all-purpose Tumpek day to give thanks for all the components of the physical universe especially any items potentially overlooked on the other Tumpek days.
To Bali's visitors the most obvious sign that Tumpek Ladep has arrived is the ubiquitous sight of cars, busses and motorcycles traveling down the highways with elaborate palm offering tied to their front grills and side mirrors a sure sign of having just been blessed with the ritual offerings, prayers, food, incense and the holy water offerings mandated on this special day.
But, you would be mistaken to think Tumpek Landep is a day set aside exclusively for paying honor to vehicles. The historical roots of Tumpek Landep trace back to rites that for the blessing and sharpening of weapons of conflict. Over the generations the meaning was expanded to include any tool or instrument made of metal eventually including bicycles, motorcycles and cars.
Drs. I Gede Rudia Adiputra, the Rector of the Hindu Dharma Institute (IHD) recently explained that Tumpek Landep is, in fact, a day set aside for sharpening all the "weapons of our lives." He went on to explain that thinking is man's main weapon - a tool made sharp though the refinement of knowledge and understanding. While other days such as Saraswati pay homage to knowledge, Tumpek Landep is a day for evaluation and retrospection on how well we have mastered that knowledge for the benefit of the world.
Accordingly, Tumpek Landep seeks to honor human skills and ingenuity and the tools and technology used in practicing those skills.
Hotels to Provide Training and Support to Upgrade Cleanliness and Management of Tourist Attractions.
11 Bali Hotels have formally agreed to "adopt" 11 different tourist attractions across the island providing advice and training that will enhance the cleanliness at each location.
Inspired by the Tri Hita Karana award program that recognizes projects and individuals who support Balinese culture and society, the program encourages hotels to find "partners" across the island prepared to accept assistance in upgrading standards of cleanliness.
The 11 "partnerships" just announced include:
Melia Bali Hotel Villas & Spa and Pura Uluwatu.
Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa and Taman Ayun.
Alam Kulkul Boutique and Resort and Sangeh.
Ritz Carlton Resort and Spa, Bali and Besakih Temple.
Matahari Resort and Spa and Gedong Kirtya Museum in Singaraja.
Nikko Bali and Goa Gajah in Ubud.
Le Meridien Golf Resort & Spa and Tanah Lot and Alas Kedaton.
Hilton Bali and Museum Bali in Denpasar.
Bali Hyatt and The Bali Art Centre.
Alila Manggis and Tirta Gangga.
Puri Bagus Candidasa and Taman Ujung.
Among the projects to be adopted by the adopted hotel partners is the establishment of hotel standard toilet facilities at each location and training programs from each hotel's housekeeping and engineering departments.
More Saved and More Lost on Kuta Beach
Drowning Toll in 2004 at Kuta Beach Increases as does the Number of Beach Rescues.
Antara News Agency reports that 14 people lost their lives through drowning on Bali's Kuta beach in 2004. The number of drowning deaths were evenly split between foreign and Indonesian swimmers.
While the figure for 2004 represents 2 more deaths (+14.3%) than drowning deaths recorded the previous year, Kuta's volunteer life-guards confronted dramatic increase in beach visitors over the past year as tourism numbers returned to normal. Also, to the life savers' credit, 309 rescues were recorded in 2004, nearly 30% more lives saved than in 2003.
According to the Antara report, 403 tourists have perished while swimming on Kuta beach over the past 33 years, while 3,154 people were rescued by Kuta's lifeguard service.
Cash Crisis Haunts National Air Carriers
As Cash Crisis Worsens, Merpati Uses Shift Work to Cut Payroll Costs. Garuda Manages to Meet Debt Repayment Schedule.
Merpati Nusantara Airlines (MZ) unable to obtain a Rp. 400 billion (approximately US$ 43.5 million) much-needed cash injection has been forced to assign staff to shift work in order to conserve cash flows.
Reported in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, the 3,400 employees are being put on rotating shift work at least for the duration of the current low season January March.
The Office of the Ministry of State Owned Enterprises has asked MZ to reposition itself as a low cost carrier in order to compete in Indonesia's deregulated airline market.
MZ serves 332 cities flying 102 domestic and 7 regional destinations and achieved a total turnover of Rp. 1.57 trillion (approximately US$170.7 million) in 2004.
MZ's total current debt totals 1.5 trillion (Approximately US$160 million).
Garuda Meets Debt Repayment Schedule
The payment of an additional US$65.8 million dollars to creditors in November satisfied a total US$105.34 million in principal and interest payments scheduled for payment by Garuda in 2004.
Garuda's outstanding debt now stands at US$827.9 million.
Garuda's continuing ability to meet its debt obligations has been greeted optimistically in banking circles who point to the National Carriers success at streamlining and cost efficiency programs introduced over the past few years.
First Book Loss For Garuda Since 1998
Meanwhile, Garuda is widely expected to record its first operating loss since 1998 when final figures are released for 2004.
Despite higher revenues than 2003, escalating fuels costs and lower ticket prices necessitated by intense inter-regional competion will likely result in a loss of billions of Rupiahs for the Airline in 2004.
Hoping to improve their financial reports in 2005, Garuda is budgeting a 15% growth in sales revenues and a 10% growth in passenger loads in 2005.
AWAIR Launches Budget Bali Service
Budget Carrier Offers Two Flights Daily Between Bali and Jakarta.
The newly reborn AWAIR - a budget airline 49% owned by Malaysia's Air Asia commenced its Bali service on January 9, 2005.
Fares from Rp. 49,000
Keeping true to its budget airline status, AWAIR has inaugurated its Bali-Jakarta service by offering fares starting at Rp. 49.000 (approximately US$ 5.33) with service on a ticketless basis.
According to airline sources, 18,000 seats have been set aside with special promotional fares to launch its flights between Bali and Jakarta, Surabaya and Jakarta, and Jakarta and Singapore.
Jakarta to Bali Service
Flights from Jakarta to Bali depart each day at 7:00 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Bali to Jakarta Service
Flights from Bali to Jakarta depart each day at 10:00 a.m. and 9:55 p.m..
Flights are operated on with Boeing 737-300 aircraft.
AWAIR, prior to its purchase by Air Asia had disccontinued operations for two years.
Bali Art Biennale 2005
Year Long Celebration and Promotion of Bali's Arts to Culminate in November-December Arts Summit.
An ambitious plan to bring Bali's art scene into equal standing with the community of worldwide artists is the aim of the Bali Art Biennale 2005 - a year long program of exhibitions and art events culminating in an Arts Summit to be held in November-December 2005.
Theme: Space and Scape
The Bali Art Biennale 2005 theme - Space and Scape - will focus on spatial awareness and the role of space and proportion in Balinese art.
Pre-summit events will be comprised of exhibitions and artistic happenings held at various venues and galleries across Bali from January through October 2005. The final Summit will be convened in November-December 2005.
The Summit scheduled at the end of the year seeks to map the history and various influences on contemporary Balinese art and conclude with a competition to select 10 winners of the Bali Biennale Art Award. To date, 10 leading Bali galleries and museums have expressed interest in supporting the Bali Arts Biennale 2005.
Organizers, quoted in the local press, have expressed their desire to win Bali artists long-overdue recognition in contemporary art circles.
The total budget for the year long event is estimated at Rp. 1.2 billion (approximately US$131,000) with discussions still underway with potential sponsors.
Bali Hotel Association Elects New Board
Governing Board of BHA named for 2005.
Bali Hotel Association (BHA) - a professional association of star-rated hotels and resorts in Bali representing 62 hotel and resorts recently concluded its business year by electing its executive committee to lead the organization for the coming year.
Elected to the BHA executive committee for 2005 were:
Robert Kelsall, President (General Manager, Bali Dynasty Resort)
Ian McKie, Vice President (General Manager, Bali Hilton)
Keith Bell, Treasurer (General Manager, Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel)
Jose Calle, Security (General Manager, The Balθ)
Government Relations, Ronnie Ranti (Director of Marketing, White Rose Hotel)
Michael Burchett, Scholarship & Education (General Manager, Conrad Resort and Spa)
Arjen de Boer, Community Service (General Manager, Alila Ubud)
BHA represents 13,145 hotel rooms and 20,143 employees working at member properties.
Michel Cottray Moves On
General Manager of Westin Resort and Bali International Convention Center Reassigned to Frankfurt.
The much admired and very personable Michele Cottray, General Manager of the Westin Resort & Spa and the Bali International Convention Center (BICC) is packing his bags after more than 3 years in Bali to accept a new job with Starwood Hotels in Frankfurt, Germany.
Seemingly a man destined to live and work in interesting times, Michele Cottray arrived in Bali in September 2001, shepherding his property through the difficult 911 and Bali bombing aftermaths, a major remodeling program, and a complete re-branding of the 351 hotel from Sheraton to Westin.
While in Bali, Michele, a French national, was an active member in the Bali Hotel Association, served a Bailli for the Chaines des Rotisseurs, and supported numerous community projects via his membership in the Rotary Club Nusa Dua.
A veteran of more than 20 years with Starwood Hotels, 13 of which were spent in the Asia-Pacific region, Michele Cottray's new role with the Group will encompass dual responsibilities of General Manager of the Arabella Sheraton in central Frankfurt and Area Manager for Arabella Sheraton for the Rhein-Main region. His new appopintment become effective January 17, 2005.
Commenting on his Bali assignment before departing the island with his wife Heike and 2 daughters, Maxime and Lena, Michele said, "while having experienced a lot of ups and downs in the last three years, overall we had an excellent time. We are leaving Bali confident that its future is very bright - the uniqueness of the Island can't be beaten."
Any regrets upon leaving Bali?
Michele admits that he will leave Bali with an undimished love of the game of golf and an unimproved handicap.