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Bali Post Editorial Sounds Warning to the Balinese to Start Controlling their Precious Land Resources.
The February 9, 2005, editorial in the Indonesian-language Bali Post published an urgent appeal to the people of Bali to take steps to preserve their quickly diminishing ancestral lands.
Outside Investors Controlling Bali's Land
Written under the headline "Stopping Outside Investors From Controlling Bali's Land Resources," the editorial laments that 85% of the estimated Rp.150 trillion (approximately US$1.63 billion) already invested in the Island's tourism industry is in the control of investors hailing from outside Bali. This leaves the remaining 15% in the hands of Balinese who, the editorial claims, receive an equally meager share of the tourism income pie.
Strongly suggesting that Bali has become something of a "waste bin" where substantial tourism transactions take place only to see profits quickly repatriated offshore, the editorial insists that the lack of Balinese representation in the control and ownership of tourism assets results in a number of negative lead-on effects, including denying the Balinese both a proper share of the benefits of tourism and meaningful senior manager job creation within that sector of the economy.
Echoing comments made recently at a number of high profile seminars in Bali, the Bali Post editorial maintains that the escalating growth in foreign exchange earnings produced each year by Bali's tourism industry is meaningless unless such advances result in real improvements in the welfare of the people of Bali.
The Land Grab
Year after year, the editorial goes on, valuable tracts of agricultrual land change hands in Bali only to be transformed into tourism projects, owned and controlled by non-Balinese.
The editorial admits that while many tourism operators make efforts to recruit local staff and pay government-mandated bonuses and wage benefits, the inevitable fact remains that the long term effects of these investments are taking a damaging toll on the Island's environment and traditional social structure, diminishing both the harmony and cultural integrity of Bali.
The editorial estimates that more than 1,000 hectare (more than 10 million square meters) of land disappears from the island's agricultural land bank each year in order to accommodate the voracious demand of hotel sites, strip malls, villas projects and other tourism projects – all largely owned and controlled by non-Balinese.
Time for a Change in Policy?
The editorial points to the growing damage caused by tourism's rapid development, suggesting that now is the time to end the freehold land tenure system in Bali in favor of lease holds of only 20-30 years after which land rights must revert back to Balinese owners.
With national tourism targets set at 6 million visitors for 2005 - 1.7 million of which are to visit Bali, the editorial argues that now is the time for strategic steps to be taken to preserve Bali's land assets and ensure that the future benefits of tourism increasingly accrue to the people of Bali.
Reflecting a growing discontent with the rapid rate of change and development now underway in Bali, the editorial warns that the Balinese must take urgent steps to preserve their cultural interests or risk becoming the equivalent of "a chicken that dies although surrounded by plentiful stocks of feed."
Welcome Aboard! Is the Singaraja Choo Choo?
Culture and Tourism Minister Suggests a Railway May be the Best Alternative to a Proposed Toll Road.
As reported by www.balidiscovery.com [Java to Bali Toll Road], Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has proposed building a toll road from western Java to eastern Bali, connecting the islands with a bridge as a solution to traffic congestion and encourage the economic development of the Island.
The idea of a Java – Bali toll road has received less than enthusiastic support in Bali and now, according to a report carried in the Indonesian-language daily Bali Post, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, has suggested that a railroad system circling the island might be a more acceptable and feasible alternative in Bali's search for a solution to increasing traffic and population congestion.
Bali has never had any sort of rail system.
In comments made following a religious ceremony at Batu Klotok Temple in Semarapura, Bali, on February 2, 2005, the Minister said, "I've been hearing a lot of talk against the proposed toll road, with many voices opposed to the plan. I think that the best alternative would be to develop a rail system around Bali's perimeter."
According to the Minister, Bali's low and flat coastal perimeter could support a railway that could be used by residents of Bali's eastern and western districts to commute to jobs in Denpasar. He feels this might help reduce the gridlock that has started to take hold in the capital city and reduce property pressures in the Island's south.
Thorough Assessment Needed
Wacik called for a thorough assessment of the feasibility of the proposed railroad project, conducted by the Regional Development Planning Office (Bappeda). The Minister said that he would try to secure funds for this assessment which could eventually serve as a blue print for the socialization of the proposed railroad system to the people of Bali.
Admitting that in addition to any technical and environmental viability obstacles, the Balinese will also be chiefly concerned with the potential negative impact on Balinese culture and tradition. Wacik suggest that the Balinese may have to relent on some closely held traditional beliefs in order to meet the challenges posed by increasing population and modernization.
A Cliff-Hanging Chef
Ritz Carlton Bali Brings Cooking Celebrity-Chef Richard Millar to Open its New Premier Cliff-Side Restaurant – Dava.
DAVA – the Ritz Carlton, Bali Resort and Spa's new trendy premier restaurant, derives its names from the Sanskrit word for "water," suitably reflecting the panoramas provided by the spectacular Indian Ocean views from the restaurant's elevated position on the western end of the Cliff Villa complex.
DAVA's water-theme design is both contemporary and sleek with a layout resembling a lotus flower surrounded by stunning water-features and pools. Interiors elements include striking all white marble floors, interior and exterior dining tables, modern furnishings in brushed mink tones and crisp all white table settings using silver and glass dinner service. Unique features include a slate stone 'Dragon Skin' wall accented with a stunning skylight that dominates the central area creating natural lighting effects that changed with the alternating light of the tropical sun and moon-lit sky over Jimbaran Bay.
While most guests will dine in the 80-seat main restaurant, three exquisitely appointed additional private dining rooms with floor to ceiling glass windows provide options for intimate or exclusive affairs, each offering seating for up to twelve guests. An exclusive Oyster Bar and adjoining Martini Club with Tapas bar are also offered.
Introducing Richard Millar
DAVA's five-star global cuisine is created by chef de Cuisine, Australian Richard Millar.
Born in rural Victoria 37 years ago, Richard Millar's began his culinary career as a Chef's apprenticeship in Queensland, before relocating to Melbourne where, whilst working in a small hotel, he met his first serious and classically- trained Michelin Star chef.
Later, he moved to the well-known Hats Restaurant in South Yarra, working alongside the now renowned Luke Mangan. Assignments at leading eateries Yoland's and Stephanies' help spread a growing reputation for kitchen magic on his way to an invitation to wear the largest hat in the kitchen at The Point Restaurant. There, heading a team of 20 chefs, he won a host of Awards and Chefs Hats from the Good Food Guide of Australia.
Richard went on to Head Chef at Jonah's Restaurant, in Sydney's prestigious Palm Beach area, followed by a posting at the award-winning Aria Restaurant & Wine Bar in the China World Hotel, Beijing where he has cooked for the likes of Jose Carreras, Sam Neil, Bryan Brown, Olympians Ian Thorpe and Susie O'Neil, former PM of Australia Bob Hawke and the US Army General, Thomas Metz. While in China, he also set up and ran his own cooking school and teaching program during his tenure at Aria.
Although Richard is a classically-trained chef his influences lays with Middle Eastern, Greek, South American and Spanish cuisines with a preference towards the use of seafood in his favored dishes. He adamantly opposes the use of the word "fusion' to describe his dishes and style, preferring to call his food style at DAVA - "global cuisine."
Canada's Toronto Star Draw Lessons from Bali's Response to the October 2002 Bombings that Can Assist Phuket's Recovery.
Martin Regg Cohn writing for the Toronto Star claims "engineering economic recovery after a terror bombing is similar to bouncing back from a tsunami."
Drawing lessons from Bali's struggle to recover from the terrorist bombing of October 2002, the article emphasized that Bali's "respect for the dead, its readiness to get on with life" played critical roles in the Island's steady progress and return to normal business times.
Including interviews and insights from Dr. I Gede Pitana, the Head of Bali's Tourism Office at the time of the blast and now a professor of tourism studies at Bali's Udayana University, and John Koldowski, Managing Director of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) – Strategic Intelligence Center - the article explores ways in which Bali strove to get back on course, both economically and psychologically.
A People-Focused Recovery
PATA's Koldowski believes Bali's strong commitment to traditional religious values, exemplified by numerous ceremonies to commemorate the dead, eased local anxieties and subsequent community-based efforts to restore the health of its tourism industry hold important lessons for Phuket and other tsunami-affected areas trying to recover from what has been described as the "greatest natural disaster of modern times."
The Toronto Star article said, "Bali rebuilt its brand by tenaciously beating the drums of discount tourism and reassuring people that this tropical paradise was ready to receive them again in a safe environment. It boosted security, used the down time to upgrade facilities, worked with airlines to restore cancelled flights and sought out new markets. Now, business is back. Tourist arrivals have returned to the pre-2002 level of about 1.5 million visitors a year and hotels are once again fully booked in high season.
But the recovery is not quite complete. Long-haul tourists from Europe and North America are still keeping their distance, forcing Bali to drum up business closer to home from markets like Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and China."
The article also includes comments from the Chairman of the Bali Hotel Association (BHA), Robert Kelsall, and Putu Antara, the Head of the Bali Tourism Board.
Bali Tourism Chief Identifies Shortcomings Hindering Island's Desire to Develop Chinese and Russian Markets.
The Indonesian-Language Bali Post reports that in order to reach Bali's 2005 tourism target of 1.7 visitors the Island's tourism department is turning its attention to new potential source markets, such as the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation. Pointing out that these countries each produce more than 20 million international travelers every year, the Head of Bali's Department of Tourism, Gede Nurjaya, underlined the strong market opportunity these markets promise for Bali.
Beware the Pitfalls!
In comments made February 6, 2005, Nurjaya, however, expressed concern that the tourism sector in Bali may not yet be ready to host tourists from these countries before special preparations are first undertaken. "For example," he explained, "from the language perspective, most of these travelers do not speak English. In order to communicate, we must have guides who speak Mandarin and Russian. We already have some Mandarin-speaking guides, but Russian-speaking guides are almost non-existent here."
According to Nurjaya, hotels and restaurants must also start preparing to meet the needs of tourists from Russia and China. Among other things, they should prepare signs and menus in Russian and Mandarin, including signs for restrooms. "It sounds simple," he said, "but all of this is vital to the comfort and enjoyment of the tourists who come here. We must not let these kinds of small problems undermine their eagerness to visit Bali."
Bali Needs to Work at Maintaining Its Magic Attraction
In principle, Nurjaya continued, the tourism sector shouldn't just sit back expecting a flood of international tourists, dependent only on the infrastructure and services that are already available in Bali.
Bali's top tourism official thinks that Bali should be preparing and continually improving in a variety of ways its accommodation, transportation, sight-seeing, and other tourist infrastructures in order to welcome tourists from the new source countries. Otherwise, he fears, at some point saturation and stagnation will set it, and Bali could lose some of its powers of enchantment.
"If it gets to that point," he warned, "it will take a long time to rehabilitate Bali's image."
Australia Says 'Thanks' to Garuda Indonesia
New South Wales' Government Recognizes Garuda's Central Role in Tsunami Relief. Minister Anwar Says OZ and RI 'Have Never Been Closer.'
Indonesia's national carrier Garuda Indonesia was recognized for its generosity in support of Tsunami devastation relief at a New South Wales State Parliamentary function held in Sydney on Wednesday, February 9, 2005.
The airline – which has flown 32 tons of relief supplies and 5 volunteer workers from Australia to Aceh free of charge – was a top level Diamond Sponsor of the New South Wales Parliamentary event hosted by John Mills MP, Chairman of Committees.
More than A$170,000 (approximately US$134,000) was raised by the Corporate Australia Cares – Indonesia Tsunami Appeal - jointly organized by the Indonesian Consulate General in Sydney, the Australia Indonesia Business Council, the Indonesian Community Council and supported by the Australian Chinese Charity Foundation.
Minister Anwar: OZ and RI Have Never Been Closer
A special guest at the event, the visiting Indonesian Finance Minister, Mr Yusuf Anwar, said his country had never been closer to Australian than in the time since the Tsunami, the response to which he said was a triumph of the human spirit.
Guest Auctioneer, Mr Michael Photios, offered special thanks to Garuda Indonesia for its support throughout the tsunami relief and fundraising, which culminated with an auction of a Garuda Indonesia Executive Class and 2 Economy Class trips to Bali with accommodation courtesy of the Four Seasons group, organized by Garuda Orient Holidays. This prize, and another package with accommodation at the Sheraton Laguna in Bali, raised more than $A5,000 (approximately US$3,950) at the Parliamentary Function attended by more than 300 people.
Mr Iriansyah Antemas, General Manager for Garuda Indonesia for New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, received a plaque recognizing Garuda Indonesia's assistance, which Indonesian Consul General in Sydney, Mr Wardana, said will contribute directly to the people of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and North Sumatra in rebuilding their lives and future.
A Lack of Political Will
Commission X of the National Parliament Explores What's Holding Indonesia's Tourism Back.
The Indonesian-language website bisnis.com's February 8, 2005 edition provided coverage of recent hearings by Commission X of the National Parliament (DPR), the Commission charged with tourism affairs, where a number current criticisms being leveled against national tourism affairs were aired.
A Lack of Political Will
M. Joko Santoso, a member of Commission X from the Partai Amanat Nasional, said, "the problems of tourism are never ending because of the lack of strong political will from the government on tourism issues and a lack of desire to build (tourism) together." Speaking at the hearing, Joko said it is the responsibility of the government to now resolve the many problems facing the tourism sector beginning from promotional budgets, to Visas on Arrival, fiscal taxes, travel warning and the image of the Country in the post-tsunami era.
"We have targeted 6 million foreign tourists for 2005, thus all of the relevant agencies must now work together in a coordinated way because it has been proven that tourism can become the backbone of the economy, as it is in countries like Malaysia, providing it is properly managed and there exists a political will from the government," he added.
As a result, Joko has recommended that Commission X undertake a coordinating meeting with other Parliamentary Commissions concerned with tourism issues as, according to the legislator, the solution to tourisms many problems does not rest solely with the Minister of Culture and Tourism, the tourism industry and Commission X.
Problems with Branding
In his comments at the hearing reported by bisnis.com, Joko alluded to what he felt was a mistake in the current management of Indonesia's re-branding under the slogan "Indonesia Ultimate in Diversity." The legislator claims that the same company handling Indonesia's rebranding was also the same company engaged in branding Malaysia's Truly Asia campaign – a keen tourism competitor of Indonesia.
Where There's a Will, There's Usually Someone in the Way
Joko went on to say that the management of Indonesian tourism is currently thwarted by too much bureaucracy resulting in a lack of competitiveness for the Country's tourism products. "It's time for the management of tourism to be oriented towards the market so that promotions undertaken match up with the target markets and with the tourism players are given a larger role to play," said Joko.
A Lack of Support to the Private Sector
Joko regretted the lack of support from the Government to the Nation's tourism players in their efforts to promote Indonesian tourism internationally. In the hearings the Secretary General of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA), Yekti Prihatiningsih Suradji, complained of the high cost of participating in tourism promotional events abroad, including the cost of booth rental and participating in press events.
The ASITA official pointed out that, in contrast to their Indonesian counterparts, members of the Malaysian tourism industry consistently receive substantial financial support from their governments to participate in such events along with a host of other facilitations.
Bali Airport Says 'No' to Low-Cost Terminals
Low-Cost Carrier Terminal NOT on the Cards for Bali, But Expansion of Domestic Terminal Set To Begin in 2005.
Bali's local Airport Authority management has confirmed that the Ngurah Rai International Airport will not follow the example of other domestic and international airports in the region by establishing special terminals for low-cost carrier operations.
As reported in the Indonesian language Bali Post, the Chief of Bali's Airport Authority Perusahaan Umum Angkasa Pura I (PAP I), Adi Ngadiri, declared that all airlines, whether low-cost or not, will be required to follow the international airline standards estbalished for operations to and from the Bali airport.
"You might say that Ngurah Rai Airport is like a 5-star hotel," said a smiling Ngadiri, explaining that there were no special lower-cost facilities for budget air carriers. "The low-cost carrier companies are treated exactly the same as all other flights, both in terms of services and tariffs. They understand that they must follow our rules and regulations to operate in Bali."
Bali's International Airport already serves a number of low-cost regional and domestic airlines - including AirAsia, Lion Air and Awair.
Domestic Terminal To Be Improved and Expanded
Adi Ngadiri also explained that, starting in 2005, the priority at Ngurah Rai International Airport will be on development of the domestic terminal, to bring it up to the same standards of the international terminal. He admitted that domestic air travelers often complain of the inferior quality of service provided at the domestic terminal. Those limitations on service, he claimed, are largely due to the limited floor space of only 5000 square meters, a problem which should be answered with the planned expansion to 12,000 square meters set forth in current expansion plans.
Ayu Herawati in Sanur Sales Role
Assigned to Re-Launch Renovated La Taverna Sanur Resort.
La Taverna Hotel, located on Bali's Sanur beach, has appointed Ms. Ayu Herawati as Sales & Marketing Manager.
A hotel school graduate, Ayu's tourism career began in 1993 as Secretary to the Director of Sales & Marketing at Intan International Hotels.
In the past 12 years she has held various positions with Bali Cliff Resort, Century Saphir Bali, Risata Bali Resort and, just prior to joining La Taverna Bali, served as the Sales & Marketing Manager for Hotel Saphir Mabisa & Hotel Saphir Bali.
Among Ayu's first tasks in her new position is to re-launch the recently renovated and refurbished 34-room La Taverna onto the international travel market.
2 New International Destinations Added to Growing List of Domestic and Asia Pacific Destinations.
The authoritative Indonesian Digest, published by TBSC Strategic Communications, reports that Lion Air have commenced service to Korea from Jakarta.
Quoting the Airline's President Director, Rusdi Kirana, the inaugural flight left Jakarta for Incheon, South Korea, on February 6, 2005.
According to the Digest, the flight will operate 5 times every week to Incheon (south of Seoul) and will transit Denpasar and Manila, using Boeing 737-400 aircraft.
The airline also plans to fly to Pusan, South Korea, five times weekly, using B737-400 aircraft.
To Perth in June
Lion Air's current plans are to inaugurate service from Jakarta to Perth, with an intermediate stop in Bali, starting in June.
Lion Air already flies to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Saigon and China. In all, the airline flies to 28 domestic and international destinations.
Padang Bai - Nusa Penida Ferry Connection
Bali's Economically Disadvantaged Island Neighbor May Soon have a Regular Ferry Connection.
As reported in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, budgets are being put in place that may soon provide a ferry service connecting Padang Bai with Bali's nearest island neighbor to the east – Nusa Penida.
Quoting the Vice Chairman of Commission "C" of Bali's Regional Parliament (DPRD), Wayan Sutena, the necessary Rp. 15 billion (approximately US$1.63 million) has been earmarked for the ferry project from Bali's 2005 budget.
Apparently two companies have already been asked to submit plans for the new build vessel, reportedly a ro-ro design of an estimated 500 Gross registered tons able to carry 10 cars and 500 people on a single voyage.
One of the companies said to have been requested to submit a ship proposal is the state-owned shipyard P.T. PAL in Surabaya.
It is hoped that an economical, regular ferry service will stimulate investment in Nusa Penida and reduce the cost of living for the people resident in the island.
Other major projects allocated funds for capital imporvement in 2005 for Bali include the completion of the Tohpati - Kusamba road (US$2.58 million); and the completion of the Tukad Bangkung Pelaga bridge in Badung (US$1.19 million).
Beware of the Silent Killers
A Lifestyle Seminar on Friday, February 18, 2005 with Proceeds to Assist Nias Island Relief.
A Seminar entitled "Comfortable Habits ... Beware of Silent Killers" will be conducted from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Friday, February 18, 2005, at Massimo Il Ristorante on Jalan Danau Tamblingan No. 206 in Sanur.
Conducted by Dr. Henry Y Ong, the owner of Remedium Care Clinic in Bali and Praktijkgroep Ong in the Netherlands, the brief seminar will explore ways in which elements of our daily lifestyle – such a diet, sexual habits and work influence our personal health.
Dr. Ong, who is certified by the American Educational Commission for Medical Graduates, has more than 20 years experience in pain and rehabilitative medicine. He also is an honorary member of the Dutch Medical Association for Acupuncture with special training in traditional Chinese medicine.
Only Rp. 50,000.-
The participation fee for this useful seminar is only Rp. 50,000 (approximately US$ 5.50) with all proceeds being donated to disaster relief for the children of Nias, North Sumatra suffering from the after effects of the December 26, 2004, tsunami.
All are welcome to attend with reservations required at telephone ++62-(0)361-7430729 or ++62-(0)361-289116.
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