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Address by Former Minister of Tourism Joop Ave Urges Bali's Tourism Leaders to Reconsider Bali's Future in a Fundamentally Different World.
An one hour inspirational and thought-provoking address by Indonesia's former Minister of Tourism and Telecommunications, Joop Ave, delivered entirely without aid of text on Wednesday, July 20, 2005, left a group of more than 200 leaders in Bali tourism awe-struck and more than a little nostalgic for the days of Ave's strong leadership as the Captain of Tourism.
Now 72 years of age and retired, Ave was invited to Bali to be the keynote speaker at a conference and workshop on repositioning Bali's tourism sponsored by the provincial government of Bali. The full-day conference at the Conrad Bali Resort & Spa was called to answer Bali Governor's call for specific input on how best to manage the island's largest industry.
Fundamental Change Quo Vadis Bali?
Asking the delegates where Bali was heading, Ave reminded that following the 9-11 tragedy in New York and the Bali bombing of October 2002, the world's tourism underwent a fundamental change. In Bali, this has resulted in basic changes in the demographics of the visitors to the island, including the recent emergence of an important domestic market whose needs remain largely unaddressed by local travel practitioners.
The Age of the Lifestyle Traveler
Disdaining the cookie-cutter approach to branding service employed by many large international hotel chains, Ave encourages Bali to explore the fuller meaning of Balinese culture. Only by promoting and nurturing Bali's unique heritage, as well as appreciating the dynamic qualities of the island's culture that have made it a world-renowned holiday destination, will Bali tourism manage to maintain its leading position in a fast-changing world.
Indonesians Prefer to Take the Higher Road
Noting with sadness the recent tragic events in London, Ave recounted how Bali very successfully captured and brought to trial more than 30 people involved in the Bali bombing and, later, weathered the avalanche of criticism surrounding the Shapelle Corby trial. He applauded the fact that despite having suffered significantly as the result of unfair travel advisories, Indonesia has taken the higher road and has never considered issuing travel warnings when western powers have fallen victim to terrorist attacks.
According to Ave, recent meetings in Washington in which Australia and the U.S. both called for greater attention to be paid to Indonesia and its near neighbors were a good sign, reflecting a gradual awareness of the region's importance and potential.
Drawing on his past experience, Ave underlined his belief that a nation's airline policy must always be subservient to the national tourism goals. Insisting that he has always been a strong supporter of the national carrier Garuda Indonesia, Ave related how during his years at the helm of Indonesia's tourism he opposed those who tried to monopolize Indonesia's air access.
In the words of the former minister, "Indonesia is too big to depend on only a single airline!"
The Management of Bali's Growth
The last part of Ave's presentation was a spirited call to action to Bali's tourism officials to rethink their approach to local politics and the management of the island's tourism product.
Citing the urgent need for a new Master Plan to guide Bali's development, he urged people to stop endlessly criticizing their current leaders but, instead, to finds ways to work together for Bali's future.
While Indonesia's new, more participatory form of government allows unheard of opportunities for people at all levels of society to participate in the decision-making process, Ave reminded his listeners that, in the end, the "Government must lead" and that successful development requires sacrifices from all parts of the community to serve the common good.
Shifting Markets, Shifting Fortunes
Bali by the Numbers: A Five Year Comparison of Whats Happened to Bali's Major Inbound Markets.
Just 5 years ago, in 2001, the four leading inbound markets to Bali were, in order of importance - Japan, Australia, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Five years on, 2005 is shaping up to become a record breaking year for foreign arrivals with Bali's top four source markets having shifted with Japan, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea now in the top four slots. South Korea managed to creep into 4th place in 2005, moving up from a distant 9th place in 2001. While the U.K. has slipped from being the 4th largest producer of visitors for Bali in 2001 to 7th place in 2005.
Taiwan's prominence in the makeup of Bali's arrival appears to be under serious threat, slipping and likely to soon fall from its "top four ranking," with this market down 35.28% from the first six months in 2004.
Meanwhile, both Australia and Japan are setting new heights in Bali arrivals. Japan arrivals were up 17.5% for the first six months of 2005 as compared to the same period one year before and 3.93% ahead of the record-setting performance for the first six months of 2001. Australian arrivals ignoring boycott calls and travel warnings increased 9.3% for the first six months of 2005; up 11.59% from the previous record set for January-June 2001.
Markets to Keep an Eye On
Aided by discount air fares, Malaysia and Singapore are visiting Bali in record numbers. Reviewing the first six months of 2005 as compared to the same period 5 years before in 2001, Malaysian arrivals have increased 316.53% while Singapore arrivals we up 110.58%.
The Americas, while continuing to improve on a year to year, have still to regain their past glory, down 25.84% in the first six months of 2005 as compared to the same period in 2001.
European arrivals all up significantly from one year ago - are still lagging behind better times in 2001. Figures for the first half of 2005 when compared to the first half of 2001 show a game of "catch up" still being played by the U.K.(-36.71%), Germany (-12.62%), The Netherlands (-5.97%), and France (-8.81%).
Russian travelers to Bali are up 70.8% from five years ago, a number likely to improve with easier visa procedures for Russian visitors coming on line in August 2005.
Also, look for Mainland Chinese visitors to improve dramatically with the introduction of visas-on-arrival starting from August 1, 2005.
Similarly, India arrivals long seen as a sleeping market to Bali should burgeon from August 1, 2005, when visas-on-arrival are scheduled to be introduced for Indian visitors.
Bali Airport: An Aborted Take Off for Tourism?
Editorial: Cultural and Physical Limitations Imposed by Bali's Airport May Offer Almost Insurmountable Limits to Tourism Growth.
In the absence of a well-defined Master Plan for Bali and the continuing uncontrolled growth in villas and hotels, themost obvious limit on Bali's future tourism growth is often overlooked - the carrying capacity of Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport.
No Where to Grow
Bali's airport is extremely busy handling over an estimated 150 flights each day that bring nearly 20,000 passengers to the island. Meanwhile, the fact that Bali is an island positioned along the middle of the Indonesian archipelago and otherwise only accessible by ship and ferry, render Ngurah Rai's 3,000 meter long runway as the all-important jugular artery for Bali's vital flow of tourists.
With tourism numbers both domestic and international booming, the obvious solution to "grow" the current 6.4 million estimated maximum carrying capacity of tourists at Ngurah Rai is to expand the present airport's size.
An Urgent Need
With the potential of of nearly 5 million domestic and international air passengers estimated to pass through Ngurah Rai airport in 2005, Bali is fast approaching the point where it will either have to either expand its airport or sadly discover that its air infrastructure is no longer capable of satisfying the ravenous appetite for more passengers created by the current unbridled growth in villas and hotel roomss.
Although airport authorites insist there are investors eager to underwrite the cost of expanding Bali's airport, physical limitations imposed by the airport geography as well as local cultural limitations make any scheme to expand the airport extremely problematic.
Ngurah Rai Airport occupies nearly 300 hectares of land running east-to-west on the narrow isthmus of land joining Nusa Dua to the island of Bali. Low-lying and bordered by the ocean to the west and mangrove wetlands to the east, the current airport runway - with the exception of a single four-lane road that connects Bali to its southernmost tourism areas - completely dominates the narrow land bridge.
A Situation Where Size Really Does Matter
Ideally, Bali's airport sole runway needs another 1,000 meters added to its current 3,000 meter length to allow jumbo jets to depart fully fueled for long haul flights to Europe, thereby avoiding the current mandatory refueling stop in Singapore.
However, expanding the length of the current runways may prove a near impossible accomplishment. Extending the runways by reclaiming land on the airport's western boundary is seen currently deemed impractical, with engineers concerned that any change in ocean current flows resulting from the required landfill might result in severe erosion along Kuta's beachfront. Meanwhile, expansion of the airport's area on the eastern end of the present runway is strongly opposed by environmentalists concerned for the delicate state of the surrounding mangrove forests.
The Ever Present Need to Consider Balinese Culture
Local Bali-Hindu culture also offers its own set of unique challenges to any plan to extend the present runways. Efforts to expand the southern boundary of the airport, necessary for a possible second runway, have been long-stalled by the inability of airport authorities to come to terms with local villagers who would be displaced by an southward expansion and opposition from religious leaders who fear the possible destruction of a religious site.
Ironically, a creative engineering solution of building a road tunnel under the eastern end of the present runway to enable a runway extension also runs afoul of strongly-held local religious beliefs that prohibit the use road tunnels and roadway overpasses. To those that doubt this, note the abolute lack of pedestrian bridges over any of Bali's busy city streets and highways.
What are the Alternatives?
Faced with these almost insurmountable obstacles to the expansion of Bali's airport, the island has few remaining options at its disposal if it wishes to continue to grow its tourism base at the current pace. Given Bali's mountainous terrain, it will be, at best, difficult to duplicate Ngurah Rais nearly 300 hectare land plot elsewhere on the island without first finding a way to literally move both mountains and ancient sacred religious monuments.
In fact, such is the present impasse and the growing desperation of local government officials in finding ways to handle anticipated growth in arrival numbers that plans are being actively discussed on how to restart Lombok's stalled international airport project as a means of accommodating the surplus of air travelers who may soon exceed Bali airport's carrying capacity.
Time to Freeze New Development?
In the absence of any concrete plan that will quickly expand the number of passengers that can be handled by Bali's airport, it may well be that the most prudent plan of action for the Government is to freeze permits for the construction of more hotel or villa rooms until Bali discovers a viable way to welcome the air passengers needed to fill those rooms.
The Key is Understanding - The Bali Declaration
President Tells Interfaith Meeting to Accommodate All Opinions in Dialogue on Faith.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono used the occasion of the opening of the AEM Interfaith Conference at the Bali International Convention Center on July 21, 2005, to encourage that even militant voices be granted the chance to be heard in the dialogue to discover common grounds of understanding between the world's great religions.
President Susilo, quoted by the National News Service Antara said, "the dialogue should involve groups representing all faiths. Every voice including those from the so-called militant groups should be heard."
The President's comments formed part of welcoming remarks to the conference hosting representatives from 39 ASEM partners and international observers, government officials, intellectuals, senior journalists and the religious leaders representing, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism.
The Bali Declaration
At the close of the two-day meeting, the participants passed the "Bali Declaration on Building Interfaith Harmony" that:
Expressed sympathy for victims of the London terror attack on July 7, 2005 and all earlier such attacks, including the Bali bombing of October 12, 2002.
Reaffirmed the importance of religious freedom in an international atmosphere of peace, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect.
Acknowledged the wisdom of the world's faiths and religions.
Acknowledged the various international initiatives promoting dialogue and cooperation among different religions.
Proclaimed that all the religions represented at the Conference commonly advocate peace, compassion, and tolerance among mankind.
Proclaimed that the right of individual to choose religion or faith can contribute to upholding respect for the diversity of faiths and religions, which is essential in combating ideologies based on extremism, intolerance, hatred, and the use of violence.
Proclaimed the need for people of different religions and faiths to stand united against the use of violence to divide mankind; calling on all people to speak up against those who use religion to rationalize terrorism and murder.
Proclaimed that peace, justice, compassion, and tolerance need to be cultivated and nurtured to help create an environment conducive to building harmony within the international community and people.
Called on their governments to continue to promote interfaith dialogue.
Encouraged governments to incorporate interfaith studies in curricula at the post-elementary level to promote understanding and respect for the various faiths and religions, giving due consideration to the specific circumstances of the respective countries.
Encouraged research through seminars/workshops and other activities to define educational curricula that promote and strengthen interfaith dialogue.
Called to strengthen cooperation on enhancing the capacity of human resources through exchanges of students, teachers and youth.
Called for educating society to accept and deal with diversity and to prevent the emergence of extremism and prejudice through activities at the grassroots, national and regional levels.
Called to prevent the marginalization of religion-based education institutions by integrating them into national education systems and goals.
Acknowledged the linkages between religions and cultures, to promote shared values to strengthen harmony and understanding in society.
Called to promote exchanges for better understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultures, religions and faiths at all levels in Asia and Europe.
Called to promote cross cultural awareness and understanding at all levels of society, particularly among the young.
Called to strengthen and encourage freedom of expression as the cornerstone of the participation of the media in promoting interfaith harmony.
Called to ensure the upholding of ethics in journalism in reporting interfaith issues as well as conscious distinction between news reports and commentaries.
Called for the upholding media professionalism and social responsibility by overcoming tendencies towards negativism and avoiding news labeling which lead to stereotyping religion and believers.
Called to encourage religious/community groups to be more proactive in engaging the media to promote balanced coverage as a means of fostering greater understanding of religions and cultures.
Called to urge the media to provide more time and space to cover issues and developments relating to intra-faith and interfaith dialogue and cooperation.
Called for the promotion of exchange programs and scholarships to create networks among media personnel in Asia and Europe to share best practice and generate a greater pool of resources by involving media organizations, religious communities as well as governments.
Called to define and promote common values, such as the respect for human rights and the protection of environment.
Called on everyone to combat corruption in all its forms.
Encouraged and supports the establishment of mechanisms within respective religious communities to strengthen ethical behavior and commonly-shared moral values.
Called to make use of existing interfaith organizations and institutions.
Cyprus for Next Interfaith Dialogue
During the course of the Conference, Cyprus offered to host the 2nd ASEM Interfaith Dialogue in 2006.
Covering Our Bets?
Nationwide Crackdown on Illegal Gambling Includes Police Raid on Grand Bali Beach Hotel.
When Indonesia's new Chief of Police, General Sutanto pledged to eliminate gambling in Indonesia and gave his regional police chiefs just one week to eradicate illegal gaming in their precincts of operation, the word on the street was that Jakarta bookies wasted no time in laying heavy odds against the success of the much publicized "get tough" campaign on gambling.
Undeterred by skeptics and Nay Sayers, General Sutanto even went so far as to demand a written undertaking from each of his provincial police chiefs acknowledging that if they failed in the gambling clean-up they were prepared to accept replacement.
Meanwhile, those discounting the efficacy and sincerity of the new anti-gambling campaign have been quoted in the national press, saying only small-time gamblers and numbers runners were being targeted in the crackdown, while large-scale illegal casinos across the Country remained untouched; rendered untouchable behind a protective wall of official protection.
Bali Police Raid Grand Bali Beach
Locals in Bali awoke to the startling page-one story on Friday morning's Bali Post that during the night of Thursday, Julyy 21, 2005, nearly 100 members of the Bali police conducted sweeping raid on the historically famous Inna Grand Bali Beach - the tallest and one of the oldest hotels on the island.
The raid, which got underway at 10:30 p.m. local time, targeted the luxurious 10th floor supper club of the 574-room hotel which, according to the Hotel's Public Relation's Officer and General Manager, quoted in Bali Post, has been rented two month's ago on a 5 year contract to a local businessman of Korean heritage at a cost of Rp. 28 million (approximately US$2,850) per month. The businessman had even obtained an official government business permit for the operation of a pin-ball and similar skill-based parlor games, activities allowed in Indonesia providing they do not involve gambling.
According to press reports, when police arrived at the scene they found a well-equipped casino with around 30 jackpot machines, a number of felt-covered gaming tables including a roulette table, and wide range of other gambling paraphernalia. Missing from the scene however, were the actual punters and the owner/managers of the facility, apparently warned in advance of the raid of the police's impending arrival. Quoted in the Bali Post, the Chief of the South Denpasar Police Precinct, Gede Adhi, said, "I am also amazed that such a well-organized raid was leaked (to the casino)."
Meanwhile, the hotel's management has issued statements to the local press disavowing any knowledge of the illegal gambling den operating in their hotel, claiming they were strictly barred from entering the floor by the tenant.
Bali police continue their investigation, including interviewing a number of staff of the illegal casino netted in the raid.
Bali's Chief of Police Made Mangku Pastika, while admitting prosecutions in connection with the Inna Grand Bali Beach raid are made problematic by the failure to catch gamblers "in the act," renewed his promise to crack down on gambling, inviting those involved to gambling to take their equipment and leave the island immediately.
If required, Chief Pastika said he would sweep every hotel in Bali to ensure illegal casinos were not in operation.
According to Hotel sources, the management has received a reprimand letter from Bali's Chief of Police ordering that the 10th floor supper club be put under lock and seal for an indefinite period of time.
Cock - A - Doodle AhChooooo!
Agricultural Minister Calls on Bali to Prevent the Spread of Bird Flu.
Indonesia's Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Ir. Anton Apriantono, called on Bali's Governor, Made Beratha, to anticipate the risk of Bird Flu, or Avian Influenza, by tightening controls on the importation of birds and other animals to the island.
The Minister's comments, made during a visit to Bali on July 19, 2005, follow on the heels of 3 confirmed deaths in Tangerang, on Jakarta's outskirts, attrributed to Avian Influenza.
Reminding the Balinese that bird flu can be transmitted from poultry to pigs, the Minister said, "I know that many people raise pigs in Bali, often in areas close to dwellings and areas used for raising poultry." In comments quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, the Minister suggested that private dwellings, poultry producing areas and pig sties should be well separated form each other to prevent the spread of the disease.
In response to the potential threat of Bird Flu, areas in West Java where the disease has been confirmed are undertaking the culling or inoculation of poultry and swine populations that may have been exposed to the disease.
Will You Still Love Me When I'm 64?
Bali to Host Asia-Pacific Wellness & Anti-Aging Conference September 22-27, 2005.
The Asia Pacific Wellness & Anti-Aging Conference and Exhibition to be held at Nusa Dua, Bali from September 22-27, 2005, will provide the public, academics, members of the scientific community, clinicians and those involved in the sale and promotion of anti-aging products a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and network with leading experts in the field of anti-aging.
Organized by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine(A4M), the conference will bring to Bali some of the leading experts in anti-aging medicine to lead and participate in workshops, symposia and lectures sharing cutting-edge information on the fast-developing advances being made in countering the effects of aging.
The Bali conference with be the 4th Annal Asia-Pacific Conference on Anti-Aging Medicine. The A4M is a nonprofit educational medical organization with a membership of 14,000 physicians and scientists from 79 countries. The sole medical society dedicated to the advancement of therapeutics related to the science of longevity medicine, it has conducted over 20 world-class international educational conferences on Anti-Aging Medicine and biomedical technology in USA, Europe, Asia Pacific and Middle East since 1993.
At the Bali conference, headquartered in the Bali International Convention Center, health and anti-aging professionals will be able to attend lectures by no less than 40 acknowledged experts in anti-aging as well as attend expositions showcasing new products and technology. In addition, qualified participants can earn up to 62 hours of AMA/PRA credits through their participation in the Conference's education program.
For more information or to register for this important conference, follow the link provided.
Energy-saving suggestions from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Bali's Governor Made Beratha that night spots close at 1:00 a.m. or face the threat of permanent closure are at least for the moment being largely being ignored by local business operators.
The former chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Nyoman Ruth Addy, told the Bali Post that the Governor's recommendations need to be reviewed again in light of the possible damage early closing would have on many Kuta-based businesses and the much-needed public taxes paid by those venues.
Meanwhile, the head of LPM, a local community-based organization in Kuta, Made Sukadana, freely admitted that the Government's early closing time was not being obeyed with some late night spots creating significant negative effects on the local community, including serving alcohol to under-aged customers. According to Sukadana, quoted in the Bali Post, if Bali wants to create cultural tourism, then there needs to be limitations on the type of evening entertainment and their hours of operation. He said he hope the Governor would strengthen his reecnt recommendation on closing times with a concrete action plan.
Shortly after the Governor's announcement and in what appears as open defiance of his recommendation for a 1:00 a.m. closing time, a leading Seminyak night spot circulated public advertisements to its 5th anniversary party scheduled for July 23, 2005, inviting guest to celebrate from 7:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m., well beyond the recommended revised closing time of 1:00 a.m..
Adding even more confusion among local businesspeople trying to understand how best to weigh commercial considerations against the latest energy saving edicts from the Government, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, told the local Bali press on Friday, July 22, 2005, that energy saving measures were aimed at "non-productive activities." Quoted in the Indonesian-language Denpost, the Minister said that night spots able to attract customers were considered still productive, earning incomes and thereofe should not be limited in their opening hours.
An Exhibition by Renate Faulhaber July 26-August 19, 2005 at Ganesha Gallery Jimbaran.
German-born artist Renate Faulhaber's artistic journey has included a period as a dancer, studies at the academy of fine arts Dόsseldorf, multi-media and performance art in Paris and Amsterdam, and, most recently, am immersion in the two distinctive Indonesian cultures of Toraja and Bali.
Her latest exhibition of paintings at the Ganesha Gallery at Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay explores the extension of movement, endeavoring to capture a "trace of the movement." Her paintings reflect her personal quest to connect with the elemental building blocks of existence as described by the ancient Greek philosophers.
Ethereal and dream-like, Renate's paintings bring her love of dance to canvas, expressing a moving world like the slow rising smoke of incense in a Balinese offering or the craggy limestone cliffs of Toraja in Sulawesi.
"Elements" ? paintings by Renate Faulhaber - will be on display daily from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Ganesha Gallery at Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay.
National Polio Cases Now Stand at 155
Despite More Infections, Dissease Not Seen as Threat to Bali Travelers.
The World Heath Organization has confirmed 33 new case of polio infection in Indonesia, bringing the number of cases detected in the current outbreak to 155.
The crippling and potentially fatal disease which attacks the nervous system, reappeared on April 21, 2005 in West Java after a nearly ten year absence.
In response to the outbreak, authorities have vaccinated nearly 6.5 million children, in West Java where all of the new cases of the disease have appeared.
Another round of free public vaccinations for an additional 24 million Indonesian children is scheduled for August 30 September 27, 2005.
Indonesia Not Issuing Travel Advisories
How Indonesia's Department of Foreign Affairs Views the Need for Travel Advisories.
Despite the recent terrorist bombings on the London Transport System, Indonesias Department of Foreign Affairs is not issuing travel warnings advising its nationals to avoid visiting London or the United Kingdom.
According to the Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, the Indonesian Government does not view any specific country as being at greater risk of terrorist attacks and, as a result, is not issuing terror-related travel warnings.
According to Sudjadnan, who once served as Indonesia's Ambassador to Australia, "dangerous situations can develop anywhere, so we do not differentiate one country as being more dangerous than another."
Sudjadnan explained that, on the domestic front, the Indonesian Government continues to warns managers of public venues to exercise caution in how they operate in order to minimize the risk of crowded public places becoming easy terrorist targets.
The Indonesian-language Bali Post reports that 4 people were arrested on Thursday, July 21, 2005, by members of the Capital City's Special Police Reserve and charged with manipulating the Rp. 1 million (approximately US$102) fiscal clearance tax that must be paid by Indonesian residents when they travel abroad.
The four arrested, including an immigration official and two members of airport security force, reportedly approached departing passengers offering them hefty discounts on the fiscal departure tax and then issued counterfeit tax forms bearing an illegal rubber stamp. In making the arrest police seized hundreds of coumterfeit receipts and illegal rubber chops.
Police are still trying to estimate the loss suffered to the public coffers caused by the syndicates activities before they file formal corruption charges with the State prosecutor.
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