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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #527 - 16 October 2006

Lest We Forget
Bali Pauses to Remember the 202 Who Perished on October 12, 2002.

On Thursday, October 12, 2006, thousands of local and foreign visitors gathered to pray and remember the 202 people who died in the heartless attack on two Bali night spots 4 years before to the day.

A 14,000 meter long piece of white cloth was stretched from Jimbaran to Kuta, symbolically joining the four terrorist targets of 2002 and 2005, while demonstrating the people of Bali's undying commitment to peace.

Speaking to the Press, Ida Bagus Anom, a local activist said: "In the months following the bombings, the Balinese and their friends showed exemplary emotional restraint and an equally commendable non-violent response to the brutal violence. We want to remind the world and ourselves of the nobility of such restraint and response."

The commemoration began shortly after midnight heralding in October 12th as the cloth was initially unfurled at the Menega Café on Jimbaran beach, site of the October 1, 2005 attack. From there the cloth was opened and walked the 14 kilometers past Bali's airport, past the former site of Raja’s Restaurant in Kuta to the "Ground Zero" monument marking the former location of the Sari Club and Paddy’s Bar.

Speaking at the commemorative ceremony, Australia's Ambassador to Indonesia, H.E. Bill Farmer told the mourners attending the Bali ceremonies: "We will not allow terrorists to spread disorder and dismay to drive people, faiths and neighbors apart. They have failed utterly and they will not succeed."

He continued: "The hunt for those responsible will continue, and authorities will ensure they are brought to justice." 3 of the perpetrators behind the 2002 bombing have been convicted and are awaiting execution while scores of others have been sentenced to terms in prison.


Government Calls Temporary Halt to Pecatu Golf Project
Community Expresses Concern Over 18-Hole Golf Course Being Constructed on Uluwatu Peninsula.

Following page-one coverage in the Bali press and growing protests from the public, a team of Badung government officials swooped down on the Bali Pecatu Graha Golf Course (BPG) project on Thursday, October 12, 2006, and ordered developers to cease all work until the necessary permits are in hand.

In their defense, the BPG developers claim that the basic permits and environmental studies required by law were in hand, dating from 1995 during the reign of IB Oka as Governor. Since that period, however, new rules on decentralization of authority now mandate the permits from local regencies (in this case, Badung) are now required.

A Growing Water Crisis

Speaking to the Indonesian language Bali Post, a local expert warned that the Ayung River provides most of the water needs of the South Island as well as the four regencies of Tabanan, Badung, Denpasar and Gianyar and that permits for project requiring large amounts of water should be carefully considered before they are granted.

The head of the local environmental authority, Made Adijaya, expressed a similar opinion to the Bali Post, reminding all involved of a warning in place since the mid-1990s urging that hotels and supporting elements be limited in the face of Bali's limited water resources.

The Bali Post also reports that the developers of the BPG project have drilled 4 wells to meet their water requirements and have established a large number of ponds to retain surface water to meet their needs. Drilling into the water table shared with other hotels, housing and a university campus on the peninsula - the 75-meter deep bore holes are reportedly producing water with a high alkaline content.

Outspoken and popular local environmentalist, Professor Adnyana Manuaba has also called into question the wisdom of proceeding with the BPG project given the heavy demand on land and water, two commodities under growing pressure on the island. The award-winning professor also questioned what studies have been carried out in connection with the new project in terms of the island's environmental carrying capacity.

The BPG project is being developed by PT Intra Golflink Resort (IGR), PT Internusa International and PT Dreamland Pecatu Golf.

The proposed 18-hole golf course will be designed by Ronald Fearm of the U.S.A. with members required to pay Rp. 155 million (approximately US$16,850) to join the club.

According to the Bali Post a number of high-profile Indonesians are already listed as charter members of the golf club, including Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik, Siswono Yudhohusodo, Murdaya Poo and Miranda S. Goeltom.


We Get Mail
Many Readers Offer a Surprising Response to Our Report that Many Bali Tourists are Avoiding Kintamani.

balidiscovery.com's coverage [Kintamani Tourism Suffering] blaming declining visitors to Bali's mountain-top tourist area on lower numbers generally, brought a somewhat surprising flurry of emails suggesting that Kintamani's problems may be more deep-rooted.

• A U.S.A. reader, Shirley Robb, wrote to say:

"Last year we were scheduled to stay at a Kintamani Hotel and Restaurant for two nights. We stayed only one. When we arrived at the resort we were accosted by the vendors in the parking lot. I am very familiar with Bali and know that most vendors are harmless but these were very obnoxious. I was almost afraid. . . The attitude of the people in the Kintamani region is anti-tourist. No wonder their business is faltering. It is too bad as the area is beautiful and the cooler temperature in the daytime is rather refreshing."

• Steve Davis sounded a similar vein :

"I wish the people of Kintamani no ill will, but they are reaping the rewards of their own greed. Word has got out I'm afraid that the area is not a pleasant place to visit due to the aggressive attitude of the street sellers and hawkers. Other areas of Bali should also be aware that people on holiday do not like to be hassled all day, I love Bali and its people but some areas are just too hard sell and drive customers away."

• Bob in Australia contributed:

"Kintamani is one of the best sights of Bali and one place I always recommend to first time visitors. Hope they can view it on a day when there is not too much cloud. However the over persistent and annoying sellers can make the visit unpleasant. A polite no thank you should be enough but this is not the case. Hope something can be done about it. I'm sure the vendors have some part in diminishing visitor numbers."


• Another reader, Alex, commented :

"If they really are interested in bring tourists to the incredibly beautiful Kitamani area, the banjar should re-educate the 'guides' and vendors on how to treat a guest. Virtual banditry and at minimum, intimidation goes on there every day. On the mild side you will be harassed en masse by vendors, chased down by motorbike (while you are in your car) and intimidated and sometimes out and out threatened by 'guides.' This is something that happens every time you go there. It doesn't make for a pleasant experience, and most people will only go through it once. It is a shame, as beauty of this area is a natural magnet for tourism, and would attract many more people but most people who have been to Bali before know about it. In times of weak tourism, this will be one of the first places crossed off the list for anyone who knows about it. I wish they would get their act together, I would go there regularly, but have only gone twice in the many times I've been to Bali (I tried 10 years apart hoping that it changed)...each time I say never again!"

• Christian de Saint Hilaire joined the chorus, adding:

"Some of the problems there are also due to the fact that as soon as you arrive by car your are taxed by 'locals' for passage on the road which is certainly illegal. Also the food on all the small restaurants with a view is to say the least horrible and expensive. Another racket, but not the last, I have been down on the lake, took a boat to visit the small village at the other end When we came back my tyres were punctured and an obliging man offered to repair it for a fee . . .any choice? Kintamani is the only place in Bali where such things happen So sometimes it is difficult to feel sorry for them."

• And finally, a Balinese student from Australia, Luh Micke Anggraini, presents a slightly different view on the problems of Kintamani.

"This is the time for tourism planners in Bali to do more about what tourism planning is about. We should rejuvenate the major tourist attractions in Bali in this downturn periods while waiting for recovery. Resettle the restaurants and tourist amenities to other places in proximity so they will not interrupt the spectacular view of Mt Batur and the Lake. Walking paths should also be set up. Use the Regional Income of Bali and don't wait for the recovery funds which seem to be unattainable. Hi Jack, I really appreciate for all you have done on this website. I am studying tourism in Australia and keep informed with your updated Bali news. You are the real (online) ambassador of Bali. You belong to Balinese society! Thank you and wish you all the best . . .Rejuvenate Bali 2007."

More information: Tell Us What's On your Mind


Made Pastika Hospitalized
Popular Former Chief of Police for Bali and Head of Indonesia’s Anti-Narcotics Squad Rushed to Hospital in Bali with Heart Anomaly.

In Bali to attend commemoration ceremonies for the October 12, 2002 Bali Bombing, Bali's former Chief of Police and Head of the National anti-narcotics squads was rushed to Bali's Sanglah General Hospital on Thursday, October 11, 2006.

Treated in the intensive care section of the hospital reserved for coronary cases, a hospital spokesperson told the Indonesian language Denpost that the popular policeman had suffered a "minor" disturbance affecting his heart that was effectively handled by a local team of doctors.

According to reports in the press, Pastika had no personal complaints of pain but was sent to the hospital as a precaution when, during a routine treadmill stress test, results revealed a coronary irregularity. After a brief visit to the Bali hospital, doctors were able to achieve normal parameters in Pastika's test results, permitting him to be sent back to Jakarta for further medical treatment.

Follow up press reports report that Pastika was allowed to return to his home following a 2 night stay at a Jakarta heart clinic.

Pastika, a four-star general in the Indonesian police, was named Time Asia's Newsmaker of the Year for his role in capturing the Bali bombers before being given front-line responsibility in Indonesia's war on drugs.


Improving the Balinese Smile
Mobile Dental Clinic Makes Dental Care Available for the First Time to Children Living in the Remote Hills of East Bali.

On October 6, 2006, the award-winning East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) has embarked on a program of providing comprehensive free dental health care for the children of Ban village, Kubu Sub District, Karangasem Regency - one of the most isolated and under-served areas of Bali, with the introduction of a fully-equipped Mobile Denal Clinic.

The mobile clinic, owned by the Bali International Women's Association (BIWA) and Bali Hati Foundation, will visit Ban village every Friday and Saturday, staffed by a team of 10-15 dentists and dental students from the Dental Faculty of Mahasaraswati University, led by Drg Panji Triadnya. The operational costs of the visits are covered by EBPP, under an initial three-year joint operation agreement signed by the four parties on September 29, 2006.

The Clinic was officially inaugurated by Dr Ida Ayu Suci Astiti, Head of Karangasem Regency Health Department, representing the Karangasem Regent, Wayan Gredeg. The ceremony, held outside the primary school in Ban village, was attended by 200 school children, EBPP Chairman David Booth, Dental Faculty Dean Drg PA Mahendri, Bali Hati Director Yacintha E Desembriartista, BIWA President, Ms Mayke Boestami, Head of Ban village Ketut Karta and Head of Kubu Sub District Bapak Wayan Sutapa.

"The Mobile Dental Clinic program initiated by Yayasan Ekoturin's East Bali Poverty Project is very helpful for the people who don't have any access to dentists. The Karangasem Regency government thanks Yayasan Ekoturin for helping to improve the health quality of its people, especially children, with dental healthcare and hopes that Yayasan Ekoturin and Karangasem government can (continue to) improve their cooperation in helping more communities in the near future," said Dr. Suci Astiti.

On the first day, 194 children were treated, each receiving an average of one filling and one extraction. Earlier dental surveys showed that the 3,250 children in Ban village, between the ages of 1-12 years, need an average of 3 fillings and one extraction, with another 2,000 in need of treatment for severe gingivitis. As a result, the weekly visits by the mobile dental clinic are essential for each of the 13 schools and 27 community health posts in the village that will be served by this new project.

"When the clinic is not in Ban, it will be used by the other 3 organisations to provide dental health care supplied by the Mahasaraswati Dental faculty and also serve as a clinic for reproductive women's health care in other under-served areas of Bali," explained Dr. Mahendri.

Ekoturin Foundation's East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP), was established in July 1998 to improve the living standards of an isolated mountain area of Bali that is home to over two thousand families. Striving to achieve sensible, ecologically sustainable development, the EBPP avoids hand-outs of money, rice or any other short-term solutions; seeking projects that empower the local community and are in keeping with EBPP's 5 hamlet communities self-declared needs and aspirations.



The View from Sydney
Nick Deacock, Sydney-based Product Manager of Garuda Orient Holidays, Shares His Views on the State of Bali-Australian Travel.

As the leading wholesaler of travel from Australia to Bali, Garuda Orient Holidays (GOH) is well-positioned to provide an update on the state of Australian-Bali travel and the progress of current efforts to revive that business.

Balidiscovery.com recently caught up with GOH's Product Manager, Nick Deacock for the following exclusive interview.

The Interview

Balidiscovery.com: Australia numbers are still down dramatically by more than 50% as compared to 2005. What do you see as the lead causes of this downturn?

Deacock: Although statistics show the Australian market languishing 50% down on 2005 levels, I am pleased to say that our (Editor: GOH’s) levels are well above the general trend. There are many reasons why consumer sentiment towards Bali remains soft in Australia, including the obvious terrorist attacks and string of arrests and subsequent court cases of Australian drug smugglers in Bali. Many in Australia do not understand the legal processes which saw the increase in sentence under appeal for some of the Bali Nine smugglers. Some people may have a misplaced fear for their personal security (i.e., their luggage) if they travel to Bali, which is hard to fathom considering Corby's defense was built around the premise her luggage was tampered with in Australia! The Australian DFAT Travel Advisory, which continues to suggest some kind of paranoiac expectation of a terrible future, deters those unfamiliar with Bali.

Recent natural disasters like the eruption of Mt. Merapi, Yogyakarta earthquake and Java tsunami - whilst tragic due to the horrendous loss of life, probably won't have any long-term impact on the tourism industry under normal circumstances. However, the Australian public are being force-fed a diet of 100% bad news - and most of the Australian media are having a field day reporting it.

If the Indonesian Government was serious about tourism, if a professionally managed and well-funded Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board existed, and if just one percent of the revenue raised by the Indonesian Government through tourism was channeled back into promoting Indonesia's ultimate diversity, I doubt Bali's tourism from Australia would be in the dire predicament we see today.

In late 2005 the Government pledged US$7,000,000 for strategic tourism marketing. Most of those funds have already been spent, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Where and how? Considering Australia contributes a huge proportion of the tourist market to Indonesia and Bali, latest reports suggest only 5.7% of the total budget (i.e. US$400,000 out of US$7,000,000) has been earmarked for Australia.

However, more than a year since funds were first pledged, nothing has actually been spent here yet.

Balidiscovery.com: Do you see the Australian market coming back and, if so, in what time frame?

Deacock: There is no doubt Australians will return to Bali. Aussies love Bali and everything the island offers: the peace loving Balinese, the relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the climate, the culture, the history, the scenery, the diversity, the proximity, and the affordability. Garuda Orient Holidays continue to work closely with Garuda Indonesia and our retail partners to promote Bali at a time when other destinations are receiving the majority of marketing expenditure. If, when the promotional budget is put to use, all sectors of the retail/wholesale/airline industry work together, and there are no further 'disruptions' affecting Bali and/or the traveling public, we hope to see Australian tourist levels return to some kind of normalcy by the middle of next year.

Balidiscovery.com: What specific steps are Garuda Indonesia and Garuda Orient Holidays taking to revitalize the travel market to Bali?

Deacock : Our 100-page "Bali on ANY Budget" brochure, website and 'e-brochure' feature over 140 hotels and dozens of tourism activities in Bali, plus adventure sports, overland tours, cultural and historical destinations, Komodo and surfing cruises and much more throughout Indonesia. With Garuda in March we co-hosted 30 TAG (Top Achiever Group) travel agents on a luxury familiarization trip to Bali; in May we co-hosted over 100 travel agents for a week in Bali and other regions on our "Faces of Indonesia" MEGA Familiarization; and we have provided logistical support to Garuda Indonesia to send several media delegations to Indonesia including extensive itineraries through Bali as well as Java overland, Komodo cruised and Kalimantan eco-touring. Nearly every week we release new product flyers and we have invested heavily in both trade and general press advertising. Our monthly e-GOH News keeps the industry informed about developments and new product in Bali. We have also worked with the Indonesian Consulate to support a variety of fund and awareness-raising events.

Balidiscovery.com: There's much in the news about Garuda's debt restructuring, rationalization and efficiency drives. What is the approximate percentage of Garuda Australia's contribution to Garuda system-wide revenues and what will be the impact of the various changes and streamlining now underway on Garuda Australian operations?

Deacock: Garuda would be in a better position to answer this, but I recall just a few years ago South West Pacific, (Australia/New Zealand) operations were heralded as Garuda's most profitable region. Seat load factors were high, airfares were realistic, revenue/profit was healthy, and there were plans for additional services and new routes. Then global events turned everything upside down. Competition in the airline industry drove prices down, rather than the Bali market growing it was simply diluted by the competition, revenues and profits fell, plans for expansion had to be shelved, and Garuda is now having to consider unpalatable ideas just to see themselves through this difficult period. The temporary suspension of Bali services from Auckland/Brisbane will place additional stress on Garuda's Sydney services, but schedules can be resumed when demand picks up. Proposals to hub East Coast services through Jakarta from April next year are just that - proposals aimed at reducing operating costs. Whilst some market slippage would no doubt occur if Jakarta became a transit point for Bali from East Coast, Garuda's extensive Asia network would be opened up and we would expect growth in that area to offset some of the losses in Bali volume.

Balidiscovery.com: You've just attended the Tourism Indonesian Mart & Expo - TIME 2007 in Makassar? What's your general assessment of this annual marketing effort to promote Indonesian travel and what do you foresee for PATA Mart 2007 in Bali in September 2007?

Deacock: This year was my 8th consecutive TIME. Whilst I understand Indonesia's desire to showcase other destinations, and I commend the hospitality and tourism industry in Makassar for an excellent show, the sad fact is that participation at TIME has continued to fall over the past several years to the point where, this year, my primary reason for attending was because TIME was being held in Sulawesi allowing my first visit to Sulawesi. I was able to visit the culturally and historically significant region of Tana Toraja – which is a "must see" destination. At TIME, both Sellers and Buyers were in short supply. Some of the major business partners I meet with every year did not attend, and many of those I did meet with I see on a regular basis in Bali anyway. Greater effort is needed to attract more, new Buyers - but they will not come if there are not more, new Sellers - but neither will come if the Government doesn't invest heavily in promoting Indonesia's diverse attractions to create demand in the public arena and awareness in the travel industry! It is time the Indonesian Government took back the responsibility of promoting the country. There will be huge potential next year when both PATA and TIME are held in Bali, and hopefully the two organizing committees will work together to a mutually successful outcome for Indonesian tourism.

More information: Bali on ANY Budget Website


Minister Wacik Responds
An Interview from the Bali Post Allows Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism to Respond to a Growing Torrent of Criticism.

As reported on balidiscovery.com [ Tourism Minister to Be Ousted in Cabinet Reshuffle? ] and [ A Minister at Loggerheads with His Industry ], Indonesia's Minister of Tourism and Culture, Jero Wacik continues to face a torrent of criticism from leading figures within the Indonesian tourism industry with some of the more vocal critics even calling for his replacement in a promised reshuffle of the Presidential Cabinet.

In an interview carried in the English language Bali Post on Thursday, October 12, 2006, Minister Jero Wacik addressed the controversy regarding his management of the tourism sector and mounting criticism from the Indonesian Tourism Thing Tank (MPI).

The Interview

Bali Post: The Chairman of the Tourism Think Tank (MPI) Pontjo Sutowo appraises the Minister of Culture and Tourism work to date as lacking strategy?

Jero Wacik: That is not correct. I have spoken extensively with associations and the tourism industry on how to advance Indonesian tourism and I have worked to a maximum. If the figures are such (editor: the continuing decline in tourism arrivals), there's not much we can say. What's clear is that for the past two years since becoming Minister I have worked strategically and to a maximum.

Bali Post: What do you mean?

Jero Wacik: It's like this. I was appointed Minister of Culture and Tourism on October 21, 2004. The following day I met with tourism associations – the PHRI (Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association), ASITA (the Association of Indonesian Tour Agencies), and INNCA (Indonesian Association of Congress and Conference Organizers) – except for Pak Pontjo of the MPI, a much smaller organization. I sought input on what the industry needs. It developed that they complained that Chinese citizens who wanted to visit Indonesia had to travel 4 hours to Ghuang Zhoa to obtain a visa and that an Indonesian representative office needed to be opened in Ghuang Zhoa. They also ask that seat capacity on foreign flights be increased. Other issues included the need to create new markets outside the traditional markets of Australia, ASEAN and a handful of European nations. We agreed that these new markets would be China, India and the Middle East because these three countries were 'closed' by us.

Bali Post: The results?

Jero Wacik: I immediately spoke with the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Justice and Human Rights regarding opening a diplomatic office in Ghuang Zhoa to which they agreed. We also established a strategic plan for market development by undertaking promotion to three new markets that to date we had never done.

Bali Post: So, this includes strategic works?

Jero Wacik: To this needs to be added the meeting with 17 ministers with connections to tourism in Tampaksiring, Bali led by President Yudhoyono. Moreover, Pak Pontjo (MPI) personally came and witnessed this meeting. It should be noted that this is the first time the President has convened a working meeting on tourism issues. So, there was added value for our tourism industry. Is this considered non-strategic?

Bali Post: Sir, are you unhappy with these accusations?

Jero Wacik: Yes, that's right. Because I have worked for the people and I will report every year to the President. I am sure that my report and the synergy of my work over the past two years will not be coded 'red' because I have done much.

Bali Post: You been appraised as being non-strategic and for failing to make a scale of policy priorities for restoring a devastated tourism sector. How do you respond?

Jero Wacik: What scale of priorities? When an hotelier asks for reduced taxes, is that a priority? Sorry, I have not done that. I work in the interest of the people and not for the interest of businessmen.

Bali Post: If the accusations are not correct, do you have a plan to summon or reprimand those leveling these charges?

Jero Wacik: Why would I do that? Remember, the very existence of the MPI is based on a decision of the Minister of Culture and Tourism that has run for 6 years when, in fact, the term of office was only 5 years. I am able to revoke and dissolve (the MPI) on that basis. Nonetheless, I have not done this. The role of the MPI is to provide input for the Minister, although it is not clear who exactly sits on that body.


A Minister at Loggerheads with His Industry?
Criticism of Minister Wacik's Performance as Minister of Culture & Tourism Intensifies.

The criticism against Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, as reported by balidiscovery.com [ Tourism Minister to Be Ousted in Cabinet Reshuffle? ], is appearing to sharpen and steadily mount based on evidence of a growing chorus of critiques and a reply of sharp rebuttals from Minister Wacik.

The Indonesian language Bali Post reports that a distinguished list of "founding fathers" of Indonesian tourism including Sany Sumakno, Tuty Sunario, Pontjo Sutowo, Ahmad Zacky, Sirnadj and Didien Junaedy gathered together in a Forum for Tourism Dialogue (FDP) to exchange views on the current condition of the industry.

According to Pontjo Sutowo, Chairman of the Indonesian Tourism Think Tank (MPI), Indonesia managed to achieve its highest rate of development in 1996 when 6 million foreign visitor spent an estimated US$6 billion in foreign exchange. However, according to Sutowo, the advent of Indonesia's political reformation marked the beginning of a steady decline in the country’s tourism fortunes. On an internal level, he added, there is a difference of perception between professional in tourism and their counterparts in the public sector.

Sutowo, the former Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), admitted that a spirit to rebuild national tourism exists together with a political will to do so, as evidenced by the "tourism summit" of the Presidential cabinet convened by President Yudhoyono last year at the Tampaksiring palace in Bali. Sutowo did, however, express surprise at the lack of follow up on the decisions made at that meeting. Similarly, there has been little follow-through on Parliament's initiative to draft a new basic law on tourism.

While crediting Minister Wacik as a Minister who is spirited and enthusiastic, Sutowo says the tourism minister has fundamentally failed to prioritize his work and identify the major tasks at hand. To dramatize his point, the MPI Chairman points to the drastic drop in Australian arrivals to Bali and the diplomatic tensions between Indonesia and Australia following the refugee status extended to a group of Papuan rebels. "This (situation) should have created a scale of priority that stressed better relations through tourism," insisted Sutowo.

In a sterner mode, Sutowo told the Bali Post that the Minister has yet to form strategic policies to advance national tourism. Moreover, he insists there have been fatal errors, such as the sudden cancellation of the Asia Pacific Nation Tourism Organizations Conference and Exhibition scheduled to take place in Yogyakarta in November 2006. Sutowo explained that if the Tourism ministry had better communication with the Indonesian travel industry this event would not have been cancelled; bearing in mind how aggressively Indonesia had fought to win the right to host the event.

Nyoman S. Pendit

Balinese tourism figure Nyoman S. Pendit told the Bali Post of his concern on how tourism was on the retreat on several fronts. He cited the drop in tourism arrivals, issues of access, infrastructure and problems of human resources as emblematic of areas suggesting a lack of proper government attention.

Also saddening to the tourism observer is the lack of overseas tourism promotion offices. He explained that Indonesia has no overseas tourism representation while competing destinations maintain a strong foreign presence. According to Pendit, Singapore has 16 overseas tourism offices, Australia 17, Malaysia 22, Thailand 15 and the Philippines 12.

Tuti Sunario and Sani Soemakno

The Bali Post reports that Tuti Sunario and Sani Soemakno of the group Care Tourism expressed similar dismay, blaming the downturn in tourism numbers on the lack of cooperation and coordination between the private and public sector in addressing tourism development issues.

Ray Suryawijaya

The Vice-chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Ray Suryawijaya told the Bali Post that the government lacks a clear view of the role to be played by the tourism sector. As a result, he insists government policies in support of tourism from the tourism ministry or other government agencies are few and far between. This occurs despite the fact that an estimated 7.5 million Indonesians work in tourism creating a 9.4% contribution share to the gross domestic product.

While foreign tourism contributed an estimated US$5 billion in foreign exchange in 2005 and domestic tourism generated Rp. 70 trillion (approximately US$7.6 billion), a scant US$3 million was invested by the Government for the promotion of tourism.

I Gusti Kade Sutawa

Local tourism player I Gusti Kade Sutawa added his dismay to the dialogue, saying that his impression is that aid and assistance following the 2005 bombing was late in coming. Not only has funding been slow and difficult, he contends that critical momentum has been lost and programs now underway are non-contextual.

Putu Agus Antara

In a separate article in the Bali Post, the past-chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Putu Agus Antara, said that Minister Wacik, while initially fueling hopes of definitive action on behalf of tourism, has largely failed to make a difference. "Pak Wacik has yet to bring anything new to national tourism," explained Putu.

Putu told the Bali Post that the Minister's department has generally failed to inspire the tourism industry in a whole range of critical areas including branding, marketing and communication. In the current unhappy state of national tourism, Putu warned, don't be surprised that funding remains small, sluggish and lacking in direction.



The Robber Barons of Bali
Community Leaders and Tourism Authorities Question the Motives of Modern Tourism Practitioners in Bali.

A tourism dialogue conducted among leading authorities on Bali's tourism at the Udayana University on Tuesday, October 10, 2006, suggested that the island has no shortage of "robber barons" focused only on personal profit with little regard for the sustainability of local tourism.

Anthropologist I Wayan Geria suggested that Bali had entered into its present downturn and devastated state over the past twenty years, and is now badly in need of "recovery" efforts. In the current period, complained Geria, many tourism players are only interested in what they can "rob" and "steal" from Bali.

According to Geria, there are two distinct groups now operating in Bali tourism. The first group is comprised of those who make a meaningful contribution to Bali, while members of the second group are only concerned with how they can wrest from the island. Geria added: "The group who make significant contributions to Bali is relatively small while the majority (of tourism practitioners) only think what they can 'rob' from the island."

He explained that while the concept of "cultural tourism" was set out and elaborated in the local tourism laws promulgated in 1974, the principle, however, remains largely unachieved in practice.

A Crisis of Ethics and Morality Driven by Money

Geria pointed to a crisis in ethics in Bali tourism, claiming the crisis has its roots in tourism being rendered into little more than a commercialized commodity, as demonstrated in the increase in property sales; and the exploitation of water, land, forest and mountain resources.

At the same time there has developed an easy readiness to tolerate any changes demanded by tourism. This has resulted in an erosion of community ethics as regards environmental standards, economic standards and standards of human morality.

Another tourism and community leader, Professor Dr. Adnyana Manuaba, traced Bali's current problems back to 1986 and the increasing competition for natural resources, pressures on the environment, and the displacement of culture. The noted academic said there was a need for a common perception between the various elements of the tourism sector that provides for the interests of the agricultural and small industry sectors.


Missing Funds for Manpower Training
Tourism Industry Asks Where is the $100 Monthly Training Levy Charges Expatriate Workers.

The Indonesian language Bali Post reports that a number of national tourism organizations including the Indonesian Hotel & Restaurant Association (PHRI), the Association of Indonesian Tour Agents (ASITA) and ASPARINDO are all questioning the whereabouts of an estimated annual Rp. 4-5 billion (approximately US$435,000 – 543,000) reportedly parked at the Department of Culture and Tourism that is collected collected from every expatriate employed in Indonesia's tourism industry.

Every expatriate worker in Indonesia is levied a fee of US$100 each month paid into a special fund for manpower training for Indonesian nationals.

"We have repeatedly asked where these funds are (the training contributions) to the Department of Culture and Tourism, but have never received a definite answer," explained Iqbal Alan Abdullah, the Chairman of the Indonesian Association of Congress and Conference Organizers (INCCA).

The subject funds, an estimate of the annual amount that is collected from foreign workers in the tourism sector, is being claimed and querried by various tourism organizations as their rightful entitlement as those best able to undertake manpower training programs.

The Chair of the PHRI, Yanti Sukamdani, also expressed her concern at the failure of the subject training funds to materialize, pledging she would renew efforts to obtain an explanation from the Department of Culture and Tourism.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, told the Bali Post when asked about the location of the training funds, "I will check with my staff . . . we have to make clear where these funds are located."

The head of the Development Board for the Department of Culture and Tourism, I Gusti Putu Guna Laksana, admitted he did not know if there were any funds for training collected from expatriates working in tourism.


Seeking More Funds for Yogya and Java Relief
US$ 34 million Needed to Help Central Java and Yogya’s Culture and Tourism Recovery.

The Department of Culture and Tourism have forwarded a request to the government for a special additional allocation of Rp. 312.8 billion (approximately US$34 million) for Central Java and Yogyakarta cultural and tourism recovery following the recent devastating earthquake that struck that area.

The Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik told the Indonesian language Bisnis Indonesia that the preliminary allocation for the Department of Culture and Tourism in the State Budget stands at Rp. 801.7 billion (approximately US$87.14 million). This amount does not include the special funding requested for Java and Yogyakarta.

The Minister budget projections were made during a recent meeting with Commission X of the House of Representatives (DPR).


All Clear Declared
Tourism Official Surprises Island by Declaring Bali Tourism Back to Normal and Recovery Efforts No Longer Needed.

The Indonesian language Bali Post managed to surprise and startle many members of Bali's tourism industry when it published a statement by a leading national tourism official declaring arrivals to Bali were "back to normal" and the island's recovery was therefore complete.

Hengky H., Secretary of the Director General for Marketing of the Department of Culture and Tourism, accompanied by the head of the planning and law department of the Department Raseno Aryo, told the press: "Bali's recovery phase is completed and has now entered the normalization phase. Nonetheless, the Department continues to pay serious attention to Bali's tourism and other tourism destinations throughout Indonesia."

Hengky's comments were made on Sunday, October 8th, in Jakarta after declaring that foreign arrivals were back to normal levels and that the government could therefore stop dispensing recovery funds and divert funds to support the Pacific Asia Travel Association Mart (PATA Mart) scheduled for Bali in September 2007.

The tourism official went on to explain that the Rp. 67 billion (approximately US$7.2 million) taken from the State budget for Bali's recovery has been already spent to support special events, road shows and bring leading tour leaders and members of the press to Bali.

Hengky cited statistics claiming 103,700 foreign tourist arrivals to Bali in September 2006, a figure –14.3% down from the 120,978 (sic) foreign tourists who visited Bali in the same month in 2005. Saying the current September figures translate into a "normal situation" of an average 4,000 foreign tourist arrivals per day.

An Understated Decline?

The statistical picture provided by Hengky is, however, at odds with figures provided from local Bali tourism authorities who reported 162,102 foreign arrivals in September 2005. While September 2006 figures have not yet been officially released, if we accept Hengky's report of 103,700 arrivals for September 2007 and last year's figures as stated by Bali tourism office as correct the resulting picture paints a much more dramatic drop of -36%.

Balidiscovery.com will publish final figures for September 2007 arrivals when they become available.

Full Speed Ahead

Hengky was also confident that a recent road show to India and other key source countries for Bali tourism would help boost tourism arrivals even higher.

In addition to PATA Mart 2007, Bali has also been selected to host the Tourism Indonesia Mart and Expo (TIME) in 2007.


 
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