Workers' Union at 13 Indonesian Airports Clarify Strike Threat, Saying Airports Will Continue to Operate on January 21, 2005, and Beyond.
A story in the English-language Jakarta Post on January 14, 2005, and reported on balidiscovery.com has caused the Union representing workers at 13 major airports in Indonesia to issue a clarifying statement regarding a threatened strike that, according to the reports, would have effectively closed the subject airports.
The "Clarification Statement" issued by Chairman of the Union of Angkasa Pura I, the union representing airport workers at the 13 affected airports, said;
• The Union of Angkasa Pura continues to give priority to providing safe flight operations at all the airports where they are employed.
• The Union has struggled for more than 5 years regarding their pension program without achieving any results.
• The Union orignally gave a deadline of December 31, 2004, for the pension issue to be resolved.
• Because of the national disaster in Aceh on December 26, 2004, the Union, out of respect for the state of national mourning, extended that deadline until January 17, 2005.
• If, on January 17, 2005, the outstanding issues surrounding the pension dispute remain unresolved, the Union will demonstrate their concern in the following ways: (1)the wearing of black ribbons by the members of the Union from January 18-20, 2005; (2) the issuance of a NOTAM (Notice to Airman) - an official world-wide alert to aviation companies and aviators, stating that effective January 21, 2005, "the employees of PT Angkasa Pura are no longer in a prime psychological condition due to their struggle for their old age pension" ; (3) this action is intended to draw international and national attention to the feelings of the employees of PT Angkasa Pura; (4) that as long as the "action" continues, the employees represented by the Union shall continue to works as normal; (5) the "action" will continue until their demands that existing pension fund be safeguarded is agreed to by the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises.
In contradiction to the press report, the Union underlined that there is no plan to strike or close the airports or to reduce the safety and security services provided to flight operations.
The Union Chairman said flights will continue to operate with take-offs and landing of aircraft continuing to be supported by their member workers.
Bali Shines in 2005 Condé Nast Traveler Magazine Gold List of the Best Places to Stay Around the World.
Over 20,000 Condé Nast Traveler readers recently completed the 2004 Reader's Choice Award selecting the world's best hotel, resorts and cruise lines. In its January 2005 issue the magazine takes a closer look at hotels and resorts around the globe – providing regional ratings for hotels in the sub-categories of rooms, service, food, location, design and guests' activities – rating properties against a perfect score of 100.
Bali's Best Places to Stay
Seven Bali hotels and resorts dominated the Golden List of best places to Stay in Asia, Australia, and Pacific Nations.
The hotels ranking near-perfect scores in Bali were:
Bali by the Numbers: 2004 Becomes Best Year on Record for Bali Arrivals Despite Shortfalls in American and European Arrivals.
Final foreign direct arrival numbers for 2004 show Bali set a new all-time record for foreign visitors in 2004, totaling 1,458.309 visitors – a number that's 3.2% better than the previous record set in 2000 (1,412,839).
Asia-Pacific Dominates Bali's Arrivals
Also setting new records for Bali arrivals in 2004 was the entire Asia-Pacific region (excluding ASEAN) which generated 926,570 visitors – a number representing a whopping 63.5% of all Bali arrivals. In fact, the four leading source countries for Bali tourist arrivals were all from the Asia-Pacific region. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia constituted 58.8% of all Bali arrivals, suggesting an underlying lack of diversity in the composition of Bali's inbound markets.
Especially encouraging In the Asia Pacific Region were the number of Australian visitors (267,814). During 2004 more Australians than ever visited Bali returning the Island to its former position as OZ's most preferred overseas holiday destination.
Meanwhile, Japanese arrivals remained the largest inbound market for Bali (326,397), a total still 10% behind the "best ever" year for Japanese visitors recorded in 2000.
Singapore and Malaysia led the charge among ASEAN nationals visiting Bali in 2004. In all, 128,456 people from ASEAN came to Bali during the year, a total 157% better than the total generated just five years before in 2000.
Deterred by visa fees and lingering travel warnings, the Americas continued a sluggish recovery in 2004. The Americas rang up 74,492 visitors in 2004, a number still 35.7% behind "better times," such as 1999 when 115,811 visitors came to Bali from that region.
Europe echoed Americas' sluggish reluctance to visit Paradise, recording 319,117 visitors in 2004. Although a respectable number and an improvement over the previous year's totals, European visitors are still down 30.9% as compared to numbers generated in 1999.
Melbourne's The Age Publishes a List of 50 Australians Who Make A Difference and Include Bali-based Social Activist John Fawcett.
Using the criteria of finding Australians who made the world a differente place through the lives they lived, the Melbourne newspaper The Age has published a list of 50 names from the arts, sciences, sports, and politics of Australians who – for better or worse – have left their indelible mark on the world as we know it.
Included in the list, and definitely one of the Australians who made the world a kinder, gentler place is John Fawcett, the international project director of The John Fawcett Foundation.
Born in Perth in 1932, John was a ceramics teacher who came to Bali in 1985 to recover from a debilitating back injury. Moved by the kindness and concern of his Balinese neighbors, he sought to reciprocate the Balinese for their help and began establishing clinics to treat children suffering from diseases of the eye, palate and chest.
Over the years, any plans of a quite retirement have evaportaed as John Fawcett's humanitartian projects have grown to the point where more than 20,000 patients are now treated every year by his foundation.
Much loved and respected in his adopted home of Bali, John works tirelessly in raising funds that allow his Foundation to save lives and restore sight through the visits of his mobile cataract surgery.
Clearly, the tens of thousands of Balinese who lovingly call this giant Australian "Dr. John" know John Fawcett to be a man who has made a fundamental difference in the life of the Balinese people.
The Chief of Bali Tourism Authority Calls on Investors to Build Hospitals, Not More Hotels.
Bali's Chief of the Bali Tourism Authority, Gede Nurjaya, quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, has called for future investment in Bali's tourism to be more selective. According to the Island's top tourism official, with more than 35,000 hotel and resort rooms in Bali and more than 70% of those rooms in the southern region of the island, Bali has more than sufficient hotel rooms to meet current demand.
The Need for Modern Medical Facilities
Nurjaya suggested that investors looking for projects in Bali consider infrastructure improvements, such as the construction of a modern, international standard medical center.
In supporting his suggestion, the tourism chief pointed to the rising average age of tourism visitors to Bali and that age group's inclination to select holiday destinations able to provide sophisticated medical care.
Nurjaya said the growing trend in senior citizen travel presented both challenges and opportunities for Bali's tourism industry.
Exhibition of Painting by Late American Artist at Darga Gallery January 30 – February 24, 2005.
Jan-Michel Basquiat was considered a major force on the international art scene in the 1980s, originally heralded for his contributions to the "graffiti movement" in which he and his friend, Al Diaz, took it upon themselves to create audaciously signed paintings, poems, and symbolic art on building walls and subway trains in lower Manhattan.
Born to a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother in Brooklyn in 1960, Basquiat's paintings eventually made the transition from subway cars to galleries, participating in his first group show in 1980. His reputation was further cemented the following year when he was celebrated in an article in Artforum Magazine by renowned art critic Rene Ricard.
Later, he collaborated with Andy Warhol and eventually exhibited his work as part of the Biennial held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1983 becoming, at age 23, the youngest artists to ever display his works there.
Tragically, Basquiat died in his New York apartment from a drug overdose in 1988 at the age of 27. Despite his premature death, he is considered in some circles to be one of the most important American artists of the 20th Century.
The Exhibition of paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat will be on display at the Darga Gallery in Sanur from January 30 until February 24, 2005.
The Darga Gallery is located in the Kompleks Sanur Raya No. 20-21 on Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai.
For more information contact Ms. Nuri at ++62-(0)361-285249.
Solo Exhibition by Stephan Spicher at Ganesha Gallery Through February 18, 2005.
"Eternal Line" an exhibition of art by Stephan Spicher will run through February 18, 2005 at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay's Ganesha Gallery.
Commenting on Spicher's current exhibition, Urs Ramseyer says, "line is an element of stability, order and orientation: and of energy, life-force, flow, movement and change. Its biological and cultural ubiquity has inspired and formed the perceptions of artistically gifted men and women at all times in all cultures of the world. Line thus became a primary means of expression and formation for artists all over the world, be it as outlines, contour of objects, figures and geometrical constructions, or as a free line that exists as its own gesture, a gesture that creates space and movement. All visual arts, architecture, and in a narrower sense dance (choreography) and music (modality, counterpoint) have been preoccupied with the expressive potential of line."
He adds, "Line as the basic element of drawing and painting is universal. One can go out into the world and everywhere speak of line, plane and three-dimensional space. The same basic laws are valid everywhere. All over, the same elements and media of drawing and painting are used. The fascination of the artistic encounter with like-minded artists from different cultures lies primarily in the discovery that all of the universally given elements that we use are also used by our fellow artists. The cultural difference lies only in the particular way to which we put these same elements. It is this that makes the encounter so fascinating and fruitful."
In Rameseyer's view, "Stephan Spicher's "Eternal Line" exhibition therefore is also a biographical path. This line does not simply begin somewhere only to end in a no man's land of unresolved questions and problems. Rather, it challenges those who are willing to follow the path that considers art, and indeed life from a philosophical and cultural anthropological point of view, as the quest for one's self is often at the same time the quest for the others and for the meaning of life. In the encounter with the others this quest can lead to the discovery of one's own self as part of a cosmic totality, an experience of universality in heretofore inconceivable dimensions."
The Exhibition, which closes on February 18, 2005, is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m..
For more information call the Ganesha Gallery at ++62-(0)361-701010.
Call to Extend Special Visa Facility
Tourism Industry Call on Government to Extend "Collective" Visa on Arrival Facility for Additional Two Months.
Representatives of Indonesia's tourism industry are calling on the Government to extend for another two months a special "collective" visa-on-arrival facility put in place for one month following the December 26 tsunami disaster.
Under the terms of the "collective" visa-on-arrival facility, local travel and tour operators were are able to apply for special dispensation exempting nationals of countries otherwise required to obtain a visa before traveling to Indonesia permitting the purchase of a $25 thirty-day visa-on-arrival upon landing in Indonesia. The special measure was introduced by the Government following the tsunami disaster in order to freely allow tourists redirecting their travel to Indonesia to do so without the inconvenience of applying for permission first from an Indonesian embassy abroad.
The current policy allows the nationals of 11 countries to visit Indonesia without visas and the nationals of 21 other countries do so by purchasing a 30 day non-extendable visa upon landing at any Indonesian gateway. Citizens of all other countries wishing to visit Indonesian are required to apply for a visa at their home country Indonesian Embassy beforehand.
In order to facilitate sudden changes in travel plans the Indonesian Embassy extended the "collective" visa-on-arrival facility was extended to the nationals of all countries providing an Indonesian tour or travel agent made application one day before with the local immigration office. That special facility is scheduleded to end January 31, 2005.
According to immigration officials, only a couple of groups – all comprised of Russian travelers – have taken advantage of this special facility scheduled to end on January 31, 2005.
The Vice-Chairman of the Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA), Rudiana, has called on the Government to extend the special facility for another two months to further facilitate the flow of tourists seeking to change their travel destination in the wake of the December 26, 2004 tragedy.
U.S. Carrier's Asia-Oacific Employees Send Personal Donations to Assist in Aceh Relief Efforts.
The Asian-Pacific Employees of Continental Micronesia - the only U.S. flag carrier to operate scheduled services to Bali – are doing their bit to assist the massive humanitarian relief effort now underway in Band Aceh, North Sumatra.
Able to Look Beyond their Own Interests
Continental, like many major international carriers, is confronting its shares of financial difficulties caused by rising fuel prices and intense fare competition from budget carriers. And, in order to remain financially viable, the airline has been forced to undertake strong measures to conserve costs, including staff reductions and pay cuts.
Nonetheless, when the tragic earthquake of December 26, 2004 and the massive tsunami struck, the workers at Continental Micronesia rolled up their sleeves, determined, despite the financial uncertainties of their own circumstances, to "give a damn" about their fellow man. Various fund raising activities were launched and collection jars were set up in offices throughout the airline's Asia Pacific network.
Support for the IEDP Foundation
The first installments from that fund raising – a check for US$4,000 was handed on Friday, January 21, 2005, to David Mendoza, the Fundraising Coordinator for the IDEP Foundation in Bali.
Dara Mustika, the Bali-based manager for the Airline, said she felt deeply moved by the generosity of her fellow workers at Continental. Dara commented, "both as an Indonesian and as a person with direct family roots in Aceh, the gift collected directly from the personal funds of my fellow workers at the Airline make me so very proud to be privileged to work each day among such caring and concerned colleagues."
IDEP – The Foundation for Indonesian Development of Education and Permaculture has taken an active roll in Aceh Aid by delivering appropriate direct assistance through its local network of NGOs in Sumatra. It has launched vessels filled with emergency supplies from West Sumatra ports to visit remote island and coastal villages along the North Sumatra Coast, many of them little touched by the relief efforts being conducted elsewhere.
IDEP was selected by the employees of Continental Micronesia because of that organization's innovative and effective approach to extending emergency aid to the people of Aceh.
Government Backtracking on Earlier Pledge to End Special Departure Tax Levied on Indonesian Residents.
Indonesia's Director General of Taxation has said that it now appears unlikely that the promised revocation of the fiscal tax will happen anytime in 2005. The fiscal is a Rp. 1 million (approximately US$108) fee levied on all Indonesian residents traveling abroad
Responding to appeals from ASEAN neighbor who see the charge as an impediment to encouraging travel within the region, the government hinted last year that the charge was on the way to being abolished. However, the Director General of Taxation, Hadi Purnomo, was quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia as saying any change to the current policy must wait for a formal amendment in the taxation code.
The Government currently collects an estimated Rp. 1.2 trillion (approximately US$130 million) in fiscal charges. The fee, technically an advance payment on income tax, can be offset against payroll tax liabilities by taxpayers.
Waterbom Park Adds Street-side Trampolines and Wall Climbing to Long List of Park Activities.
Recent visitors to South Kuta can't help but notice the heightened level of street-side activity in evidence along Jalan Kartika Plaza.
Across the street from the imposing new Discovery Kartika Plaza Mall, Bali's 3.8 hectare Waterbom Park have installed an eye-catching large white geodesic dome on the sidewalk - an impressive sight impossible to miss for pedestrians and passing motorists.
Known locally as "The Dome," the structute houses a set of trampolines and support safety harnesses that provide supervised and safe opportunities for both the young and less-so-young to perform weightless high jumps and somersaults. With bounces measured at up to 9 meters high, the mandatory safety harness and trained supervisory staff ensure aspiring humpty-dumpty's complete their trampoline sessions fully intact.
Feel Like Spiderman?
Also new at the park is a ten-meter high rock wall-face offering those wishing to try their hand at mountain climbing a choice of climbs of various degrees of difficulty. Again, supervision is provided and support harnesses equipped with hydaulic relays provide for optimal safety and assure everyone makes it to the top.
The new attractions at Waterbom are open each day from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m..
Cost for adults is Rp. 60,000 (approximately US$6.50) and for children Rp. 45,000 (approximately US$4.90).
National Geographic Traveler Magazine Urges Tells its Readers the Best Way to Help Indonesia is to Visit it.
National Geographic Traveler's "TravelWatch" editor, Jonathan B. Tourellot, says, "the best thing tourists can do for Indonesia right now is to follow through on their trips to unaffected places like Bali and Lombok. That provides the country with the economic support needed to offset disaster costs. Plus, you'll have a great trip."
To underline the wonders that awaits the intrepid traveler, nationalgeographic.com on January 21, 2005, carried an article by Indonesian travel pioneer, Bill Dalton, entitled "Far From Tsunami, Climbing an Indonesian Volcano."
Bill, the author of the indispensable two-fisted travel guide Indonesian Handbook, shares his comments on the two-day climb to the top of Indonesia's fourth-highest volcano, Gunung Rinjani.
You can read Bill's article via the link provided.