"I am so pleased every time see Bali Discovery on the screen? I feel I still stay in touch, although it does not cure me of being so homesick for Java and Bali. It is an excellent and informative "newspaper"."
Bali by the Numbers: Comparative Arrival Totals Show Indonesia's Recovery Rate Near Bottom of the Heap Among ASEAN Players.
While there's much to celebrate in the record 5.32 million foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia in 2004, a closer look at these same figures on an ASEAN-wide basis suggests that among a groups of destinations in which everyone improved, Indonesia's numerical advances were, by comparison, pretty lackluster.
In fact, when Indonesia's 2004 performance is seen against the background of the comparative performance of the other 9 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a number of observations emerge:
• Indonesia's Below Average Performance - While ASEAN arrivals improved an average 23.81% from 2003 to 2004, Indonesia rate of improvement came in at a distant below average rate of 15.69% .
• Indonesia: Below the Rate of Overall Improvement for ASEAN in 2004 - As a whole, ASEAN tourist arrivals increased 26.16% in 2004, up from 32.28 million in 2003 to 43.85 million in 2004. Meanwhile, Indonesia's rate of recovery at 15.69% for 2004 was substantially off the pace for the ASEAN region.
• Indonesia's Diminishing Market Share - Indonesia's market share of foreign visitor arrivals, when seen from the perspective of all visitors to ASEAN, shrunk from 2003 to 2004. Indonesia's 13.28% market share of all visitors to ASEAN in 2003 dropped to just 11.63% in 2004. That represents a decrease in market share of 12.42%.
• Only Myanmar Did Worse than Indonesian in ASEAN - In fact, in comparing rates of improvement between 2003 and 2004, among the field of 10 contenders comprising the ASEAN grouping, Indonesia came in at 9th place, leaving last place to much-troubled Myanmar.
Visa on Arrival Impact
Thus, while there's no argument that Indonesia's tourism fortunes did improve in 2004 from just a year before, when seen within the field of the performance of competing destinations in ASEAN, where everyone enjoyed growth, Indonesia's still appears to be something of the sick boy among ASEAN tourism performers.
These figures also provide ample opportunity to those wishing to refute the government's boastful claims that the introduction of the unpopular visa-on-arrival policy has had no negative effect on foreign tourist arrivals. While perhaps impossible to cite any one specific cause for Indonesia's relatively poor performance, these ASEAN-wide comparative results in combination with reports showing European and American arrivals to Indonesia still languishing at levels of 5-6 years ago, do suggest that the visa-fee is almost certainly slowing the pace of Indonesia's tourism recovery.
Foreign Tourist Arrivals in ASEAN
Textile and Clothing Makers to Meet in Bali
International Textile and Clothing Bureau – ITCB Set Bali Conference for April 4-7, 2005.
International Textile and Clothing Bureau (ITCB) - an intergovernmental organization representing 25 developing countries involved in the apparel and textile trade will meet in Bali April 4-7, 2005, to discuss trade after the elimination of the WTO quota system for clothing imports.
The Bali meeting will represent the 41st gathering of the ITCB Council of Representative since the group's establishment in 1984. The organization, headquartered in Geneva, was created to deal with the many restrictions placed by developed nations on the import of textiles and clothing from the developing world.
The Bali conference will draw over 100 participants representing the 25 member-countries of the ITCB as well as observers from the United States, Japan, and the European Union.
A Watershed Conference
The Bali meeting will be of fundamental importance to the future of the ITCB which must now decide its future role, if any, in a world in which quota restrictions no longer exist.
ITCB members are Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, South Korea, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, North Korea, Macao, the Maldives, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam.
By the Kids, For the Kids
Bali Orphans Host a Gala Evening for the Newly Orphaned Children of North Sumatra.
No one understands the plight and substantial challenges of life confronting an orphan better than another orphan.
Because of their acute awareness of what recent events in North Sumatra mean to the newly-orphaned children of that province, the children of the Salam Orphanage in Tabanan, Bali, decided to do something to ease the plight of other children like themselves, facing life without a mom and dad.
Working together with a long-time supporter of the Salam Orphanage - luxury boutique owner, Australian David Cossey, the kids helped host a gala fundraising event at the Villa Imogiri in Ubud on Saturday, January 29, 2005. Attended by 60 leading members of the Bali community together with a number of TV and stage personalities, the evening included a welcome of canapes, cocktails and premium wines; a gourmet meal; an evening of outstanding entertainment; and a closing display of fireworks.
An Evening of Memorable Entertainment
After dinner and against a dramatic backdrop of a full moon rising above the Wos River canyon, entertainment was provided by the Sekehe Dharma Jati Semar Pegulingan 27-piece Gamelan Orchestra accompanying talented legong dancers. Music of a more contemporary bent was then supplied by the talented singing duo – Kerry Pendergergrast and Tony Suryajaya before a pre-fireworks appearance of a daring fire dance performed by the celebrated troupe from Bali Starz.
You Lift Me Up
Many a moist eye was mopped when a the 44-member children's choir of Salam Orphanage took to the stage to perform a medley of inspirational songs. Trained by legendary Indonesian singing star Grace Simon, the kids showed both tremendous skill and aplomb performing songs in English for the VIP guests.
As an added bonus, Grace Simon took to the microphone to sing a song dedicated to her students and their counterparts in far-away Aceh - Josh Groban's "You Lift Me Up."
All Proceeds for Aceh Orphans
With food, wines, venue, and entertainment all donated for the evening, 100% of the proceeds obtained from ticket sales from the Gala Night were dedicated to providing care for more than 40 newly orphaned children in Banda Aceh, North Sumatra. This was made possible through the generous support the entertainers and David Coussey of Villa Imogiri, Bill and Henny Busch of Lotus Distribution/Gourmet Garage, and M&M Catering.
In all, over $US5,000 was raised.
The evening's host, David Cossey, explained that the impetus for the evening came from the children of Bali's Salam Orphanage, some of whom themselves had been rescued only a few years ago after the tragedy in East Timor. According to Cossey, "rather than worrying about themselves, these orphans are concerned about providing food and essential care for those children orphaned through the tsunami tragedy ... the spirit of generosity and kindness shown by these children sets an exceptional example to us all."
Cossey described the children as "a family of 44 brothers and sisters all whom look out for each other."
Supervised by the Orphanage's Director, Gusti Ketut Suadana and his wife, Gusti Ayu, the children range in age from 4 to 18 years.
Cross Strait Ferry Fee Increases Spark Protests at Bali's Eastern and Western Sea Approaches.
Effective February 1, 2005, passenger and cargo traveling between East Java (Ketapang), and Bali (Gilimanuk), or between Lombok (Lembar) and Bali (Padang Bai), - the western and eastern approaches to the island of Bali are paying more to make the journey.
Fares went up following an order issued by Indonesia's Minister of Transportation issued on January 5, 2005 which affected 12 inter-provincial crossing points in the Country. The current 13.26% increase, is the first step in a planned total 54.27% increase in ferry tariffs.
Java Bali Ferry Rates
Effective with the latest increase, the cost of the short trip between Java and Bali is now based on vehicle length and type (i.e., passenger or cargo), with no allowance made for whether the vehicle is full or empty.
Between Java and Bali motorbike tickets now cost between Rp.9,000 or 20,000 (approximately US$US0.98 or US$2.20), while a 5-meter long car with passengers now pays Rp.55,000 (approximately US$6) and a 10-meter long passenger vehicle pays Rp.162,000 (approximately US$17.60).
At least for now, passenger tickets remain unchanged at Rp. Rp.3,300 (approximately US$ 0.36) for adults and Rp.2,200 (approximately US$0.24) for children.
Change in Payment System
The fare increases was also accompanied by a change in the payment system. Now, instead of lining up for tickets and then lining up again to board the ferry, now a toll-road-like type system will be used in which passengers and vehicles line up pay for their ticket as they board the vessel.
New Fares Needed to Cover Rising Fuel Costs
The Ketapang-Gilimanuk Branch Chief of the National Ferry Board (ASDP), Mochsirsyah, quoted in the local press said the tariff changes were actually slated for January 1. 2004, but were delayed to avoid date conflicts with the Country's presidential and parliamentarian elections. Mochsirsyah explained that because of rising fuel costs the increase in ferry tariffs could not be delayed further, adding "the ferry operators have to pay more for fuel, but receive too little in ticket sales, they won't be able to cover their operational costs, so this increase was at their request, not at the initiative of the ASDP."
Increases in Fares Spark Protests
The National Indonesian-language daily, KOMPAS, reported that representatives of bus and truck companies staged protests in Lombok on Monday, January 31, 2005, in response to the fare increases. Drivers and their crews complained that the new pricing system for made it too expensive to make the ferry crossing with anything less that maximum capacity load. They argued that this will force bus companies to raise ticket prices, even when bus fares are struggling to compete with discount air fares over the same route.
Although the press and national television stations showed reports of angry confrontations between drivers and local police in Lombok, the Chief of Police for West Lombok, Edy Djubaedi, insisted there were no confrontations between demonstrators and port staff, and that no arrests were made.
As a precautionary measure 200 police officers were posted at the port during the initial days of the new fare levels. Despite protests on the roads leading to the departure points, the flow of vehicles arriving in Lombok from Bali seem unaffected.
Talkin 'Bout Blue Skies
Bali Tourism Chief Calls on Central Government to Make Bali's Skies More Open.
The Jakarta-based Indonesian-language daily, Kompas reports Bali's local government has repeatedly petitioned the Central government in Jakarta to ease air access for airlines seeking new or expanded traffic rights to Bali.
Expanded air access is seen as fundamental to Bali's tourism dominated-economy and important to the rest of the Nation's tourism economy due to the Island's role as the gateway for national tourism. However, efforts to open the international skies to Bali have thus far yielded little sympathy and less results from Indonesia's Department of Civil Aviation.
This seeming impasse between Bali's regional leaders and their counterparts in the Capital was made public at a meeting on Saturday, January 29, 2005, at a meeting attended by the Head of Bali's Department of Tourism, Gede Nurjaya with over 100 travel companies from Japan at the Paradise Hotel & Spa in Seminyak.
Nurjaya explained that development of tourism in Indonesia, including Bali, is tightly linked to the support of airlines which connect Indonesia with the source countries of potential tourism visitors.
Not Just A Problem for Foreign Airlines
Saluting Air Paradise International - Bali's home-grown airline – for its role in promoting the island's tourism, Nurjaya explained that the Central Government's reluctance to embrace a policy of more open skies for Bali affects both domestic and international carriers alike. Requests by Air Paradise to commence service between Bali and Osaka remained unanswered for many months by the Civil Aviation Department, despite the endorsement of Bali's provincial government.
Permission to serve this route has only recently been given by the Indonesian Government to Air Paradise.
According to Nurjaya, a healthy tourism sector in Bali is not just good for Bali, but benefits the country as a whole. For example, the national revenue originating from the tourism sector is about US$5 billion per year. Of this amount, Bali is the biggest contributor, bringing in US$2 to 3 billion dollars.
Rebutting an argument often made for restricting air traffic rights, Nurjaya said, "if there's any concern about terrorist infiltration due to opening new air routes, then security should be tightened. We should not be closing doors for approval for new flight routes."
Bridging the Distance to Nusa Dua
Idea for Bridge Way to Connect Sanur and Tanjung Benoa Being Discussed, Again.
An idea that regularly resurfaces in Bali, most recently at a seminar on how to reduce traffic congestion in the Tanjung Benoa area, is the construction of a bridge and fly pass connecting the Nusa Dua peninsula to Serangan Island, the island sitting just off Sanur's coast.
Tanjung Benoa – the adjunct to the Nusa Dua Development Complex – has undergone rapid development in recent years creating traffic jams as hotel, restaurants and shops multiplied in the area.
Depending on the season and resulting traffic flows, a trip from Tanjung Benoa to Sanur beach can take anything from 30 minutes to an hour to cover the short 18 kilometer trip. However, the proposed 300 meter bridge spanning the entrance to Benoa Harbor and connecting Tanjung Benoa and Serangan Island -Sanur could reduce the travel time to only 5-10 minutes, shrinking travel time between the southernmost tip of the island and the central and northern regions.
Rough cost calculations discussed at the January seminar for the proposed bridge way were placed at Rp. 160 billion (approximately US$ 17.4 million). In order to accelerate such a modification to the Island's infrastructure, many have urged that as opposed to waiting for prolonged and uncertain inclusion of such a large project in some future annual government budget the more expedient alternative might be to privately finance the proposed bridge way allowing investors to recoup their investment through road toll fees.
Because of age-old local religious and cultural sensitivities, any transportation plan that include overpasses and underpasses have, in the past, been consistently resisted in Bali. As a result, it is impossible to find even so much as a single pedestrian overpass on the Island. Local observers, however, argue that since the proposed bridge and fly pass would be constructed over areas that are technically "off shore" and and bridges would be suspended over water, it would not pose the same problems as a land-based elevated roadways that might allow those considered "ritually unclean" to pass over the heads of Bali Hindu devotees.
Also almost certain to become a hotly debated issue if plans for the proposed bridge way go ahead will be questions from environmentalist regarding the potential deleterious effects on the mangrove forests that surround Serangan Island and Sanur's shore line.
New Head for Bali Hotel & Restaurant Association
'Cok Ace' – Educator and Ubud Hotel Owner Named to Head Bali's PHRI 2005-2009.
Tjokorda Raka Ardana Sukawati – more commonly know as "Cok Ace," has been elected to head the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI-Bali) for the period 2005-2009.
His election at the annual general meeting of PHRI-Bali held at the Hotel Melia Benoa on January 31, 2001, was the result of run-off vote against the owner of Sanur's Segera Village Hotel, Ida Bugus Ngurah Wijaya.
Cok Ace is the owner of the Hotel Pita Maha in Ubud and also serves as an instructor in the technical department of of Bali's Udayana University.
Gede Wiratha's Farewell
The outgoing Chairman of PHRI-Bali, Gede Wiratha, who served from 2000-2004, gave his "summing-up" speech to the membership prior to vote to elect its new Chairman. In remarks that lasted only 10 minutes, Wiratha reviewed the high and the low points of leading the association during what he viewed as 4 of the most difficult years in Indonesia's tourism history.
Ace Cok's Agenda?
Based on comments made recently by the new PHRI-Bali Chairman in the local press, "Cok Ace" can be expected to work on improving relationships between local hotels and their host communities. Citing problems and protests that have recently plagued several Ubud area hotels from surrounding communities demanding special fees and more jobs for local residents, he has called for more constructive communication between all parties to prevent such conflicts from escalating into larger problems that threaten Bali's tourism industry.
The new Hotel and Restaurant Association Chief is also expected to focus attention of the development and support on hotels and restaurants outside the main tourism areas in the Island's south.
Asian Relief Corporate Challenge 2005
Western Australia Stages Golf Tournament to Aid Tsunami Relief on Monday. February 28. 2005. Bali Packages to be Auctioned Off.
In response to the most powerful earthquake in more than 40 years on December 26, 2004, that triggered massive tsunamis that obliterated cities, seaside communities and holiday resorts and claimed well over 250,000 lives, Talking Heads Corporate event Management of Perth, Western Australia, in conjunction with the International Red Cross are staging the Spa Showcase Asia Relief Corporate Challenge 2005 on Monday, February 28, 2005, at The Vines Resort & Country Club.
The day will include an 18-hole round of golf, lunch, on-course beverages, a putting clinic with the resident PGA Australia pro, and complimentary coach transfers.
Banquet Auction Dinner
The highlight of the day will be the Banquet Auction Dinner, hosted by media personality Mark Readings where Swedish Crystal Trophy awards will be presented to the day's best players while the highest bidders on a number of exciting auction items comprised of double tickets from Bali to Perth flown by Garuda Indonesia and Air Paradise International, in combination with 5 nights accommodation in Bali will be on offer.
Among the Bali Hotels who have signed up to support the fund-raising auction include:
• Bali Inter-Continental Resort
• Conrad Bali Resort and Spa
• Hard Rock Hotel
• Bali Dynasty Resort
• Bali Discovery Plaza Resort
Cost of participation in the tournament is AU$250 per person or a team of four for AU$1,0000.
Money raised via the Asian Relief Corporate Challenge will be used to support Red Cross tsunami relief projects in Indonesia and Thailand.
Indonesia Targets 6 Million Foreign Tourists in 2005.
Buoyed with optimism by the 5.32 million foreign tourist who visited Indonesia in 2004, the Government has raised its ante and set an ambitious 6 million visitor goal for 2005.
The 6 million target, announced by Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, as he opened the Bali Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Annual Meeting on Monday, January 31, 2005, represents an sizeable 11.3% improvement over 2004's record number of visitors.
The Minister said that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would soon convene a cross-sector meeting of various government departments and agencies to identify issues holding back the growth of national tourism. The tourism summit, originally scheduled to be held at Tampak Siring in Bali's highlands on January 14-15, 2005, was necessarily delayed due to the Government's preoccupation with Aceh relief efforts.
As a preface to the promised tourism summit, Minister Wacik told Bali's leaders from the hotel and restaurant sector that there were three main onstacles on the way to realizing the 6 million visitors target: namely, more promotion; easing access and immigration procedures; and adding more air seats to Indonesia.
Although proud of having achieved a new record in tourism arrivals in 2004, the Minister pointed out that the Nation still lags behind the performance of other tourism destinations in the region. In 2004, Malaysia managed to secure 14 million visitors and Thailand 10 million.
According to Minister Wacik, one of the main reasons for Indonesia's lessened success at attracting tourist is the minimal amount spent in tourism promotion. Malaysia and Thailand each spent a combined US$100 million promoting their destinations in 2004. Indonesia, by comparison, spent a paltry US$3 million of spreading its tourism message to the world.
The Minister has asked the government to double the current promotion budget to US$ 6 million.
Bali's Share of the New Target: 1.7 Million Visitors
Bali, as Indonesia's prime tourism gateway, has been given an even tougher target to fulfill in 2005. Bali is expected to produce 1.7 million foreign tourists in 2005, an increase of 17.6% above the record 4 million produced last year.
Indonesia's Tourism Profile
Total Foreign Visitors
Average Spend per Touris Vist (US$)
Average Length of Stay (days)
Average Spend Per Day (US$)
Foreign Exchange Earnings (Billions US$)
Fire at Santika Beach Hotel
Damage to Kitchen Facilities Estimated at Over US$50,000.
An early morning fire at the South Kuta Santika Beach Hotel has caused an estimated Rp. 500 million (approximately US$54,350) in damage to one of the hotel's kitchens.
The flame, which took firefighters and hotel staff nearly two hours to extinguish, reportedly started at 4:30 a.m. on Friday morning, February 2, 2005. Eyewitnesses told police the blaze started when a gas stove in the kitchen exploded as staff attempted turn it on for morning breakfast service.
No injuries were reported in the incident and the hotel continues to operate without interruption.
Bali Unemployment Stands at 492,000
Nearly 30% Unemployment Rate a Matter of Opportunities, Prestige and Island's Youthful Population Base.
The Indonesian-language Denpost reports the number of unemployed workers in Bali has reached 492,000, according to the Head of the Regional Labor Department, Mr. Komang Rai Sujaka.
"This is quite high considering that the population of Bali is just 3.75 million, and the work force includes only 1.7 million people," explained Sujaka.
This translates into an unemployment rate of 29%.
According to Sujaka, the unemployment rate is connected to the demographic momentum of Bali's population, which has a disproportionately large number of young people, increasing each year as more and more people achieve the working age of 15 years.
The labor and manpower official went on to explain that economic growth in Bali has been sluggish in recent years, emphasizing the business climate needs to develop further in order to supply more jobs.
Unemployed, But Still Very Selective
Many might see it as something of an anomaly that against this high rate of unemployment, Bali is still seen as a land of opportunity for young workers from Java and Indonesia's other islands seeking manual labor and factory positions.
Sukaja explained that, despite the soaring rate of unemployment, many Balinese refuse to take up work considered demeaning or lacking in prestige.
Adding to the problem is the fact that many members of Bali's work force lack the necessary basic skills needed to undertake successful job-hunting and prepare applications for the available job opportunities, said Sujaka.
2005 Wismilak Bali International Womens Tennis
Wismilak WTA Tennis Tournament September 11-18, 2005, at Bali's Grand Hyatt Resort.
Antara - the National News Service, has confirmed that the biggest all-women's tennis tournament in Southeast Asia, will return to Bali for the 5th consecutive year, scheduled to be played in Bali immediately after the US Open Grand Slam.
The Bali 2005 Wismilak International Tennis Tournament, which forms a part of the WTA tour schedule, will be held September 11-18, 2005, at Nusa Dua, Bali
Tournament director, Kevin Livesey, has announced that the total prize purse for the this year's Bali tournament has been set at US$225,000. This makes Wismilak International Bali, the highest cash prize paid in any Southeast Asian tennis tournament.
In 2004, Russian player Svetlana Kuznetsova, after winning the coveted US Open women's singles, traveled directly to Bali to win the Bali event.
Mixing Business with Pleasure
Now entering its 12th year and 5th consecutive year in Bali, the Wismilak International Women's Tennis Tournament is scheduled as a break for the players between major international Grand Slam competitions.
The tournament on the island of the gods is a combination of show tennis and memorable holidays for the players who take part. But, don't underestimate the keen competition that will be presented on center court; nearly a quarter of a million dollars prize purse guarantees players will find themselves conflicted choosing between keeping their minds on the game and the many holiday distractions of Bali's paradise.
Now a permanent fixture on the WTA tour, many players have become so enchanted with Bali that they return year after year, bringing their families along for some relaxation and island exploration.
Venue: Grand Hyatt Bali
As in the past, the 2005 tournament will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Nusa Dua.