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U.S.A.'s Travel + Leisure Magazine Names Bali the Best Island in the World and Home to Some of the Very Best Hotels and Spas.
Somehow it just doesn't seem fair to all the other islands in the world.
But, Travel + Leisure Magazine has just published the results of its readers' survey naming the best destinations, hotels, resorts and travel products [The World's Best Awards] with Bali named for an unprecedented fourth time as the world's best island destination.
In the related sub-category of best Asian island destinations, Bali retained its top post followed by Phuket and the Maldives in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.
Bali: Home to the Best Hotels & Resorts
Complementing Bali's continuing reign as the world's best island were no less than four Bali hotels ranking among the planet's very best hotels with a Bali property garnering the poll position as [Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan] was named the world's best hotel. Its sister property in Bali, [Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay] ranked number 8 in the list of very best hotels, with [The Amandari] claiming the number 14 spot followed by [The Amankila] in Manggis at the number 21 position.
Asia's Best Hotels
In the subcategory of the "Best Hotels in Asia," Bali's performance was no less dazzling.
In the Travel + Leisure ranking of the best hotels in the world costing US$250 or less per night, [The Grand Hyatt] claimed the #14 position.
Hotels to Watch
Another Bali property showed up in the Magazine's list of up and coming "15 hotels to watch." Como Hotel's [The Uma Ubud] was seen by the readers surveyed as a hotel destined for eventual stardom in future Travel + Leisure polls.
Don't be put off by the distance between your location and the island of Bali.
Travel + Leisure also ranked the world's 10 best international airlines. Of the 10 airlines named 8 fly to Indonesia meaning getting to Bali promises to be a most enjoyable travel experience.
In case you're wondering, the world's best airline according to the Travel + Leisure poll is Singapore Airlines - operating 3 flights daily to the island of Bali.
June is Bustin' Out All Over
Bali by the Numbers: June Arrivals Set New Highs for Month with 2005 Half-Way to Setting New Record for the Year.
Foreign direct arrivals for the month of June 2005 hit 136,386 visitors surpassing last June's totals by 3.6% (131,544) and claiming for the month the moniker of the "best June ever" in terms of tourism arrivals for Bali.
Shaping Up to Become a Record Breaking Year
Year-to-date totals for the first six month of 2005 were no less impressive. From January-June 2005 a total of 688,974 direct foreign arrivals came to Bali, beating by 38.8% the 499,902 visitors achieved in the same period just one year before. Moreover, the half-year figure's for 2005 also managed to beat by 26.9% the "best ever January-June" tourist arrivals record set by Bali in 2001 (542,731).
2 Million Tourists for Bali in 2005?
In 2004, Bali set a new year long record of foreign arrivals with 1.46 million tourist recorded. If current rates of growth are maintained for the last half of 2005, Bali could conceivably finish the year with nearly 2 million foreign tourists.
Whether such expectations are realistic will depend on current efforts underway to add seat capacity to Bali with growth potential for traffic over the peak season months of July - September very much governed by availability of seats from key markets in Europe, the Americas and Australia.
Shown on balidiscovery.com are month-by-month foreign direct arrivals to Bali January through June 1999-2005 together with a graphic tracking the island's arrivals during that period.
Our next edition of "Bali by the Numbers" will take a closer look at January June 2005 arrivals to discover trends and changes in Bali's source markets.
New Energy Policy Puts Bali Night Life in Limbo
Bali Night Spots Headed for a Showdown with Jakarta on Newly Mandated 1 a.m. Closing Time?
In order to overcome a nation-wide energy crisis, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has introduced a number of sweeping measures via Presidential Instruction (INPRES No. 10/2005), signed on July 10, 2005.
Those instructions require and empower members of the Cabinet to undertake dramatic reforms in their respective areas of control that will drastically reduce the Country's reliance on fossil fuels.
The measures introduced and under consideration are wide-spread and comprehensive, including: air conditioners in government offices to be set at 25 degrees Celsius; uniforms worn by civil servants will be more casual and cooler; limitations on the use of lifts in public buildings; restrictions on the use of state-owned vehicles; and the elimination broadcasts between 1 a.m. and sunrise by local TV stations.
Local business circles in Bali are awaiting formal instructions from the island's Governor on specific measures to be introduced in support of the newly issued Presidential instruction. According to the Indonesian-language Bali Post, the necessary coordination meeting to discuss what energy-saving measures would be introduced in Bali had yet to take place by Wednesday, July 13, 2005.
Night Spots to Close at 1:00 a.m.?
While waiting for specific energy saving measures to be announced, Governor Dewa Beratha did hint at what might be in store when he was quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia saying he hoped Bali's night spot operators would follow the energy-saving example set by Indonesia's TV stations by shutting down operations every night at 1:00 a.m..
In his comments, made after attending meetings at the Provincial Parliament on Thursday, July 14, 2005, the Governor suggested that night spots staying open after 1:00 a.m. would receive two formal warnings before experiencing the final enforcement step of having their operating licenses revoked.
Despite the presence in Bali of a sizeable late-night entertainment industry, which includes a number of bars and entertainment venues operating until sunrise, the Chief of Tourism for the Province Gede Nurjaya told Bisnis Bali that Bali's tourism industry would not suffer unduly from the introduction of a 1:00 a.m. closing time. According to Nurjaya, visitors will understand such measure if operators of night spots explain that the early closing time is part of a national energy-saving program. Moreover, according to Nurjaya, tourists will understand mandatory closing times as similar measures are generally already in place in their home countries.
The tourism Chief did not discount that the closing time measures could be reviewed and re-evaluated if was demonstrated that the effects on the local economy were too severe.
Business as Usual?
During the first weekend following the issuance of the Presidential Instructions on energy conservation there appeared to be little effect on Bali's night scene with night clubs, bars and late-night restaurants continuing to operate as usual.
Star Air Flies Again
Indonesian Carrier is Back in the Air.
After a 45-day grounding caused by financial woes, Indonesia's Star Air re-commenced flight operations on Friday, July 15, 2005.
During the month and one-half hiatus, Star Air restructured its management and its debt structure and has re-emerged with a smaller fleet, now operating only three Boeing 737-200 aircrafts. The airline's two less fuel efficient MD-80 aircraft have been retired from the fleet.
The airline's current schedule operates 3 flights daily between Jakarta and Bali with one of those flight offering a continuing service to Kupang, West Timor.
In addition to Bali (Denpasar) and Kupang, Star Air also flies to Surabaya and Manado from its Jakarta hub.
Parlez Vous Bahasa Indonesia?
Foreign Workers May Soon Have to Demonstrate Fluency in Indonesian to Obtain Immigration and Working Permits.
A page-one story in the Jakarta Post last week suggests that steps are underway that will soon make it cumpulsory for all foreigners wishing to work in Indonesia to demonstrate proficiency in Indonesian language.
Under increasing pressure from the World Trade Organization to liberalize access to Indonesian labor markets for citizens of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by 2006, and for other nations by 2008, the Minister of Manpower and Transmigration, Fahmi Idris, told the press that an agency empowered by the manpower department would test and certify foreign worker's proficiency in the Indonesian language.
Those defending the controversial plan argue that by ensuring that foreigners working in Indonesia have a fluency in the national language efforts to train and upgrade Indonesian workers will be assisted.
In response to an outcry from foreign investment circles following the announcement of the new language requirement, the Chairman of the National Commission for Standardization of Prefessions (DNSP), Mudjiman, made efforts to assure all concerned that Indonesia would remain open to foreign workers and students. Mudjiman, who is also the Director General of Labor Productivity at the Manpower Ministry, said foreigners would still be allowed to work and study in Indonesia providing their presence provides a "mutual benefit for the country and the foreigners themselves."
According to the Jakarta Post article, the new language requirement will become effective in 2006 with the concept and form of the testing procedure still under consideration.
President to Open Bali Interfaith Dialogue
Bali to be Venue for Two-Day Meeting Between Representative of The World's Religions July 21-22, 2005.
President Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono will officially inaugurate the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Bali on July 21-22, 2005, creating an inter-faith dialogue at the Bali International Convention Center (BICC) in Nusa Dua, Bali.
Sponsored primarily by Indonesia and Britain, representatives from 39 ASEM partners and a number of international observers are expected to attend together with government officials, intellectuals, senior journalists and the religious leaders representing, among others, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism.
A Most Timely Meeting
According to a Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesman, events of recent days in London have made the theme of the meeting "Building Interfaith Harmony within the International Community" extremely timely and, according to the official, "would be used to develop and promote mutual understanding and respect among all religions and faiths in Asia and Europe."
ASEM (the Asia-Europe Meeting) is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation bringing together European Union member states and the European Commission, with ten Asian countries (Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). The ASEM dialogues address political, economic and cultural issues, with the objective of strengthening the relationship between the two regions, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.
For Members Only: The Canggu Cub
Bali's First Private Members Club Now Being Built in Canggu.
The Canggu Club a private members club is scheduled to open in February 2006 offering a range of facilities, sports venues and benefits for Bali residents who join.
The developers of the project are offering the following facilities to prospective members:
A 2,500 square meter clubhouse, hosting a wide range of social and leisure venues
A floodlit full-size outdoor sports arena set to open in October 2005
A state-of-the art gym and aerobics centre.
An indoor 700 square meter multi-function sports hall with spectator seating.
A library & lounge with access to broadband Internet and a wide range of international publications.
A tennis & squash hall, plus 4 astro-turf tennis courts and 3 squash courts.
A dedicated children's pools, playgrounds and crèches.
A 25 meter long swimming pool.
A clubhouse featuring restaurants, a pub, and locker rooms facilities.
Several Hundred Gather at Bali Bombing Monument to Remember Victims of London's '7-7' Terror Attack.
Coinciding with similar remembrance ceremonies held around the world, over 200 people gathered at Bali's Bombing Memorial on Thursday, July 14, 2005, to remember the dead and injured who fell in the attack on London's transport system just one week before.
The informal affair, convened via a banner hung at the scene of the October 12, 2002 bombing of a Bali night spot, was marked by quiet prayers offered during a bief candlelight vigil that began at 7 p.m. local time.
London Article Highlights the Confusion and Double Standard Applied in World-Wide Travel Warning System.
The irony of events following the tragic July 7 terrorist attack on London transport was not lost on those in Bali who have long contended that the way in which travel warnings are raised suffer in equal measures from political meddling and illogic.
Vicious, arbitrary attacks on London's public transport perpetrated by what were apparently home-grown terrorists, did not result in travel warnings by various countries urging their nationals to leave London and avoid unnecessary travel to the United Kingdom. One exception, a hurried order issued in the hours following the bombing directing European-based American servicemen avoid London, was quickly countermanded when the U.S. Chain of Command became aware of the political fallout the "travel warning" would generate.
The "why and wherefore" of international travel warnings remain both a worry and a source of confusion for those involved in international travel. Indonesia - praised from Washington to Canberra to Whitehall as a noble ally in the international war on terror, continues to suffer from the seemingly arbitrary way in which countries decide to direct their nationals on whether a holiday in Bali or Indonesia is safe.
Tom Chesshyre, writing in the U.K.'s The Times [Bali Safety Confusion] underlined this lack of consensus in how travel warnings are formulated, with the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office declaring Bali "safe" while the U.S. Department of State and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs discourage "non-essential travel" to Indonesia.
With CNN reports quoting British security officials freely admitting that a London terror attack was inevitable,a matter of "when" and not "if" - such admissions immediately beg the question of why international travel warnings against London travel were never issued alerting people to the risks ahead?
Proof of such blatantly uneven-handedness in the issuance of travel warnings has many cynically wondering what role political connections and membership in the "coalition of the willing" now occupying Iraq plays in deciding whether or not a country suffer the economic burden of being on a negative travel advisory list.
Indeed, for those who closely monitor the development of travel advisories, there appears to be little rhyme and less reason in how travel warnings are issued and applied. Religiously motivated kidnappings and bombing attacks in Madrid, Istanbul, New York, London, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines evoke vastly varied responses from in terms of travel warnings from the foreign affairs departments of the U.K., U.S.A. and Australia.
In one instance, particularly illustrative of the arbitrary nature in which travel warnings are applied, a terrorist act several years ago in the Southern Philippines prompted the U.S. State Department to respond by issuing a travel warning for Northern Sulawesi in Indonesia, but not for the Philippines where the actual incident occurred.
We Agree with General James Jones
Doing a well-practiced about face honed during a long military career, General James Jones, Commander of U.S. forces for Europe, quickly rescinded the travel ban issued last week barring U.S. troop visits to London, saying: "While all personnel are encouraged to be vigilant, we cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated by the acts of terrorists. All US personnel are encouraged to continue with their normal routine."
Hear, Hear. Commander Jones!
Clearly, we now all live in a world in which no country can claim immunity from terrorist attacks. Therefore, warnings against international travel issued in the absence of specific and credible intelligence threats only serve to continue the work of terrorists by causing economic upheaval and displacement on people dependent on international tourism.
Countries like Indonesia, who have an unequalled record of success in the apprehension and conviction of terrorists, have an equal right to be treated as true allies on the international "war on terror" including having our national interests considered in each step in the multi-national effort to combat the effects of international acts of intimidation.
We applaud the U.K. Government's measured and more sensible approach of issuing travel warnings only when a specific and credible threat can be identified.
The "Chicken Little" approach, currently in vogue in Washington and Canberra when issuing travel advisories for Indonesia, fails on a variety of levels. Generalized and non-specific in nature, such warning are of little value to travelers and, over time, are largely ignored as evidenced by record numbers of Australian's currently holidaying in Bali despite official warnings to avoid all "non essential" travel to Indonesia. And, to the extent that such official warning manage to discourage travel, particularly conference and meeting business to Indonesia, they play into the hands of the terrorists whose original intent was to destroy the local economy by undermining the foundations of international tourism.
Who Goes There? Friend or Foe?
In the current state of affairs forgive us in Bali if we are unclear and confused as to where "our allies" really stand: Shoulder to shoulder with us in resisting the terrorists who have proven they can attack at any time and place, or in the other camp occupied by unwittingly dupes collaborating with those trying to intimidate and end a way of life through acts of terror?
Sanur Open Golf Tournament
Bali's Oldest Golf Courses Celebrates its Major Renovation with a 2-Day Golf Tournament July 30-31, 2005.
To mark the extensive upgrade the 9-hole Bali Beach Golf Course members of Bali's Sanur Community will hold the first Sanur Open Golf Tournament July 30-31, 2005.
Open to all, registrations on a "first-come-first-served" basis are now being accepted from the first 250 participants. Categories of competition are open for Senior Flight, Men's Flight and Ladies' Flight at a cost of Rp. 350,000 (approximately US$36) for members and Rp. 500,000 (approximately US$51.50) for non-members. Registration covers competition play, trophies and cash prizes, plus a gala award's banquet on the evening of July 31, 2005 at the Sector Bar and Club - adjacent to the Club's fairways.
Win a BMW!
The nine-hole flat course is well-established with magnifient tree-lined fairways. A par-36 course emphasizing patience and accuracy, the first registered participant in the tournament who sinks a hole-in-one will win a new BMW!
Swiss-born Painter in Solo Exhibition at Balis Amanusa July 20 August 31, 2005.
Swiss-born painter Stephan Spicher continues his fascination with exploring lines as part of his spiritual and physical journey through Asia.
Educated at the Art School of Basel and in the studio of Italian painter Beppe Assenza, Spicher first came to Bali in 1992 as part of the Christoph Merian Foundation Exchange Program. He has exhibited his works widely, including numerous shows in his native Switzerland as well as the U.S., Russia and Bali.
Painting in a style described as "spiritual minimalism," Spicher sees his work, and that of fellow artists in Bali, Japan and China as a shared expression of a common concern for the infinite.
Spicher's paintings will be on exhibit in the Amanusa Resort's library and boardroom from July 20 through August 31, 2005, from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. daily.
Embattled Australian Immigration Secretary Bill Farmer Resigns to Accept Jakarta Ambassadorial Posting.
Resigning his top post just days before release for what was widely expected to be a scathing Government review of mismanagement within the Australian Department of Immigration, career civil servant Bill Farmer will soon be packing his bags to accept an appointment as Canberra's next ambassador to Jakarta.
The head of Australian immigration department since 2001, Mr. Farmer's department has borne the brunt of negative publicity following the widely publicized illegal detention and deportation of several Australian citizens which prompted the current official government review of policies and procedures within the immigration department.
Extensive Diplomatic Experience
Mr. Farmer's appointment to Jakarta will be the latest chapter in a 35-year-long career as an Australian civil servant, mostly spent in diplomatic postings in such places as Egypt, the U.K., Fiji, U.S.A., Mexico and Malaysia.
Mr. Farmer became an officer of the Order of Australia in June of 2005.
He will replace outgoing Ambassador David Ritchie who assumed the Jakarta Ambassador's Post in November 2002.
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