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Special Welcoming Party Planned for Friday, November 24, 2005 to Welcome this Year's Crop of 'New Wine.'
Wine fanciers visiting Bali this week can participate in the world-wide phenomenon of the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau.
Is the late November rush each year to imbibe wines bottled only days before a sacred date on the international wine calendar or an oenologist's equivalent of Valentine's day - some clever marketing device to sell off an over-bountiful harvest?
In the End, It's a Great Reason to Throw a Party!
While the debate on the true merits of Beaujolais Nouveau will be never-ending, there's no doubt that the hype of using jet aircraft, police escorts and even parachute drops to ensure that people far removed from France are able to drink a wine before it ages has created a party atmosphere enjoyed by many around the globe. In fact, an estimated 62 million plus bottles of this year's harvest will be consumed in short order starting from November 15th until supplies run dry. And, by any measure, that's a very serious amount of wine consumption.
In Bali, through the valiant efforts of the Honorary French Counsel, M. Raphael Devianne, an ample supply of Beaujolais Nouveau 2006 will be on hand at a special community-wide celebration to be held on Friday, November 24, 2006 at the Melia Bali Village & Spa Resort.
Held in the Resort's Puri Bali Room, the celebration of this year's vintage will include a cocktail reception, French buffet and copious quantities of the night's special guest of honor - Beaujolais Nouveau.
Cost of participation is Rp. 250,000 net per person (approximately US$ 27).
Tickets can be purchased from the Melia Bali Village & Spa or from the French Consulate in Bali. Telephone ++62-(0)361-285485 or ++62-(0)361-771510.
Credit Card Spending in Bali and Indonesia
Visa Indonesia Analysis Reveals Where and How Foreign Visitors Spend their Money While on an Indonesian Holiday.
Recently published result on the spending habits of Visa Card holders when visiting Indonesia provide some interesting insights into how visitors to Bali and other regions of Indonesian spend their time and money.
Here's a brief overview of what the latest Visa Indonesian Tourism Spend Report revealed:
Total spending by Visa Card holders increased 20% in 2005 as compared to 2004, totaling Rp. 5.6 trillion (approximately US$608.7 million). This spending increase is all the more significant given that total foreign to Indonesia for the same periods decreased by 6% in the aftermath of the "Boxing Day" tsunami, another Bali terrorist attack and fears over bird flu.
In 2005, a total of Rp. 138 billion (approximately US$ 15 million) was spent on women's clothing and Rp. 132 million (approximately US 14.3 million) on men's clothing by foreign visitors using a Visa Card.
Substantial growth in spending was seen in the purchases of women's accessories and jewelry which increased 160%, while the sale of leather products and luggage increased 102%.
852,000 Visa Card transactions were recorded at Indonesian hotels with a value of US$198 million.
433,000 Visa Card transactions were made at Indonesian restaurants incurring charges of US$36 million.
The biggest spenders using Visa Cards came from Australia (US$98.9 million), the U.S. (US$89.1 million) and Japan (US$77.7 million).
Visa Card purchases by foreign visitors were highest in Bali (US$261 million), followed by Jakarta (US$186 million) and Batam (US$12 million).
Visa's tracking of "big spenders" showed that visitors who used their cards for the highest level of purchasing hailed from Hong Kong, followed by Russia and the U.K..
The value of an average transaction increased from Rp. 1.2 million in 2004 to Rp. 1.3 million (US$141) in 2005.
Visa maintains careful records reflecting the spending habits of its customers, breaking purchases down into 272 separate categories cross indexed by the nationality of the card holder.
Bali's Disappearing Jungles
Bali's Forestry Chief Concerned that Shrinking Forest Areas are Depleting Fertility and Adding to the Island's Water Shortage.
According to a report in Tempo Interaktif, 10,000 hectares of a total 130,686 hectare of jungle land has been lost to farming over the past several decades.
"Much jungle land has been converted to growing bananas, grass, cocoa, flowers, coffee and vanilla," explained the Head of Bali's forestry Department, Made Sulendra.
According to Sulendra, the conversion of jungle lands results in a lessened soil fertility and the loss of these lands as areas of water retention. The forestry expert blames this unfortunate situation on the lack of clarity in Bali land use and zoning planning (RTRW).
He added, "our problem is one of law enforcement and the many (conflicting) interests in how our forests are used," citing investment and the welfare of local populations near forests as just some of these competing pressures.
In addition to the conversion of jungle land to other uses, he reported that every year approximately 350 hectares of land is burnt, primarily affecting areas in which pine forests and elephant grass are found. Sulendra blamed the fires on careless smokers, open fires and intentional burning of forested areas.
Sulendra said that, fortunately, illegal logging in Bali had yet to reach a serious level.
U.S. Business Ready to Support Lifting of Travel Advisories
Improving Investment Climate Prompts CEO of U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Urge Indonesia to Call on U.S.A. to Remove Current Negative Travel Advisories.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has signaled its readiness to lobby intensively for the removal of current travel warnings discouraging travel to Indonesia on the understanding that the Indonesian Government will continue to increase efforts to create a favorable investment climate for U.S. businesses in Indonesia. The offer to lend the support of the 3 million member U.S. Chamber was made by the President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber, Thomas J. Donahue, following a meeting on November 13, 2006, with the Indonesian Chamber (KADIN).
Donahue told the Indonesian language Bali Post that he felt the U.S. Government should review its policies (on travel warnings) via a face to face meeting between Indonesia's President with the U.S. Secretary of State. Donahue said that he hoped both countries would take positive steps in the right direction on the issue of travel advisories and that Indonesia would maintain its currently conducive situation.
Admitting that Indonesia is making significant moves to improve its investment climate, Donahue pointed to the recently published World Economic Forum's Global Index that saw Indonesia advance in its former competitive ranking of #50 in the world to a significantly improved position of #19.
Donahue called on Indonesia to become a nation which is increasingly transparent, honors joint venture contracts, continues to battle corruption, and combats piracy and counterfeit goods. These things, according to the U.S. Chamber Chief, will guarantee Indonesia's attractiveness as a foreign investment destination.
'As, soo desu ka' - All Aboard the Wangnin Train
Avant -garde Japanese Contemporary Dance Troupe to Perform in Bali December 1, 2006.
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . .
On Stage continues its program of international live performance of dance and music with a one-night presentation of Wangnin Bunmei at The Oriental Theatre in Legian at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 1, 2006.
Portrayed as "vibrant, crazy, offbeat and utterly unpredictable" - Wangnin Bunmei is one of Japan's leading contemporary dance troupes.
The dance performance scheduled for Bali will present a style of modern dance rarely seen locally that draws on the dancers' years of training in differing styles of dance ranging from jazz to Butoh. Choosing to either embrace or reject their training, the dancers provide an improvisational and spontaneous performance accompanied by musicians, similarly disinclined to be governed by any rules.
Truth in Advertising
Frankly, it's impossible to predict what the audience might expect in the Bali performance. Be certain that you're in store for a fresh and different performance, promising to be both lighthearted and joyous, as the dancers take their audience aboard the Wangnin Bunmei or Wangnin Train.
Be warned and read the conditions of carriage on your tickets: The Wangnin Train is not a real train. Only the people who believe in it can ride on it and its destination is in another world. Because nobody really ever returns from a journey on this train; nobody really knows where it goes!
An excellent introduction to Japanese dance and culture on several levels, the program is considered suitable for all ages, celebrating spontaneity on stage.
This train departs ay 5:30 p.m. on Friday, December 1, 2006 at The Oriental Theatre, just off Jalan Nakula in Legian.
Presented by On Stage
The single evening's performance of Wangnin Bunmei is presented by On Stage - a Bali-based organization that endeavors to celebrate the diversity of the universal human spirit via the regular cultural events in the form of dance, theatre, film and art exhibitions.
Construction of Bali Tsunami Warning Towers Underway
6 Early Warning Stations Equipped with Sirens Soon to Be Operational Along Bali's Southern Coasts. Drill Set for December 26, 2006.
Formal construction has commenced on Bali's tsunami early warning system with the erection of warning stations in six locations along the South Island's most popular beach fronts.
The location of the six early warning centers, each equipped with massive sirens connected to an international wave and seismic sensing system, are:
Sanur Beach in front of the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel.
Kedongan Beach near Jimbaran
Within the Nusa Dua Complex operated by the Bali Tourism Development Corporation
Tanjung Benoa Beach
Seminyak Beach in front of Double Six.
Each warning station is made of reinforced concrete measuring 5 x 5 meters housing monitoring equipment and supporting a siren weighing 300-400 kilograms suspended atop a 15 meter high tower.
Although the tsunami warning centers are still some weeks from completion, local press reports indicate that the equipment to be installed in the facilities has already arrived on the Island.
Tsunami Drills Set for December 26, 2006
In anticipation of the completion of Bali's tsunami early warning system, the Indonesian Minister of Research and Technology is planning a coordinated tsunami drill in Bali on December 26, 2006.
With training underway to involve 85 key players in Bali's safety services, the training will focus on understanding the nature of earthquakes and tsunamis, managing disaster situations, and building capacity for handling future emergencies.
According to the training coordinator, Karkunti P. Rahayu, quoted on Temp Interaktif, "the goal (of the training) is to mineralize victims in the event a tsunami occurs."
Training will include both the theoretical study of earthquakes and tsunamis as well as simulated emergency scenarios.
With simulations drills timed to coincide with the anniversary boxing day tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004, the Bali drills will provide an opportunity to test the newly installed sires, seismic and oceanographic detection systems and special digital radio links.
The actual drill will commence with a simulated disaster broadcast on Bali's TV and radio stations followed by a simulated response emphasizing evacuation and rescue efforts.
The center for the December 26, 2006 drill will be at Sindhu Beach in Sanur, in the area surrounding the now-under-construction early warning tsunami system shown on balidiscovery.com.
Indonesian and Australia Sign Security Pact
Improving Relations and Enhancing Security Between Near Neighbors of Australia and Indonesia the Aim of Agreement Signed in Lombok.
On Monday, November 13, 2006, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and his Indonesian counterpart, Hassan Wirayuda, signed their names to the "Treaty of Lombok" stipulating specific steps to improve security and safeguard the national sovereignty of the two near neighbors.
Emphasizing that the just concluded agreement was not a military pact, Downer pointed to the document as a means to strengthen the sometime troubled relations between Indonesia and Australia by formally expressing Australia's commitment to respect Indonesia's territorial integrity.
Prompted, in part, by the recent political asylum given by Australia to Papuan separatists, the treaty stipulates that Indonesia and Australia: "shall not in any way support or participate in activities which constitute a threat to the stability, sovereignty or territorial integrity of the other party, including by those who seek for encouraging or committing such activities, including separatism, in the territory of the other party."
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Downer said that any political upheaval in Indonesia aimed at national disintegration would represent a human rights disaster for the region. At the same time, however, the Australian Foreign Minister was adamant that nothing in the agreement signaled a coming crackdown on the guaranteed freedom of speech for Australian-based movements.
The treaty, still subject to ratification by the lawmakers of both Countries, provides for:
Mutual respect and support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of both States.
Mutual non-interference in the affairs of both signatory states.
Both States pledge not to "support or participate" in any way in the activities of any person or entity threatening the sovereignty or territorial integrity of the other nation.
Both States pledge to refrain from threats or use of force against the territory of the other.
Both States agree to regularly confer on defense and security issues.
The treaty provides for closer and coordinated cooperation between the police forces of both countries.
The treaty provides for close and extensive cooperation on counter-terrorism measures, including the sharing of intelligence, cooperation on immigration and border control; and joint responses to terrorist threats.
Cooperation in the exchange of information and intelligence on security issues.
Cooperation to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Increased cooperation in the area of bilateral nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes.
Bali's Air Paradise to Fly Again in March 2007
Airline's Director Says Service to Resume to Australia, Korea and Japan with Domestic Connections to Jakarta and Surabaya.
The Indonesian language Bali Post reported last week that plans are afoot to re-launch Air Paradise (API) in March 2007.
Closing abruptly in November 2005, just one month after the second Bali terrorist bombing, API's departure left numerous passengers temporarily stranded in Bali and a multitude of advance ticket purchasers holding worthless tickets.
Speaking to the Bali Post,, an API Director, Putu Oka Semadi, said that a number of facts supported the decision to restart the grounded carrier. First, according to Semadi, there is a moral responsibility that API has to Bali's tourism industry. Second, the continuing high demand for Bali as an international travel destination. And, thirdly, the financial circumstances of the Airline are now conducive to a re-launch. Semadi said that API "still exists" and that permits and licenses to operate the carrier remain valid with weekly reports being filed by API to the Director General of Civil Aviation.
Still Looking for Investors
Despite the decision to move ahead with a restart of API operations, Semadi said that the Airline was open to participation by others, particularly Bali businessmen who may wish to invest. Explained Semadi: "We will not be able to expand Air Paradise alone. We need moral and financial support to permit Air Paradise to truly become the property of the Balinese people."
The Airline's Director told the press that travel wholesalers in Australia, Japan and Korea have been very enthusiastic at the news of API's rebirth.
Indicating that the Airline would be operating wide-body Boeing aircraft, Semadi said that API plans to also establish a domestic network with flights to Surabaya and Jakarta.
No details have been released at this time by the Airline on plans, if any, to reimburse former passengers left holding zero-value tickets.
Garuda Does an About Face on Bali Hub Debate
Garuda CEO Announced that Direct Flights from Australia and Japan to Bali will Continue! GA CEO Claims News of Bali's Loss of Direct Flights 'Just a Misperception.'
In a move that suggests "unexpected turbulence" signs are now lit inside Garuda Indonesia's Board Room, the Airline's President Director, Emirsyah Satar labeled as a "misperception" reports that the Indonesian National Carrier was set to stop direct flights from Australia and Japan to Bali.
Pants on Fire?
Plans to stop direct flights to Bali, as reported on balidiscovery.com, have been front page news in the Bali press and regional travel industry publications for several weeks, prompting urgent visits to the Airline's CEO by the Minister of Culture and Tourism and a broad spectrum of political leaders from across Bali. That the Airline has remained silent for weeks in the face of the avalanche of criticism prompted by the planned closing of Bali as a international flight hub suggests claims by Satar that earlier reports were "merely misunderstandings" are lacking in both candor and veracity.
Speaking to the press in Jakarta on Monday, November 13, 2006, Satar announced that Garuda Indonesia will continue with direct international flights to Bali.
In an address to media that was held in the carrier's Head Office, Satar advised that the operation of Jakarta as a single hub had been one option under consideration but that "Garuda Indonesia will not stop international flights to Bali. However, the airline's efficiency and the requirement to maximize profitability remains an ongoing priority."
The airline's CEO stated that it was clear that, just as passengers doing business in Jakarta desired direct services to Jakarta, tourists traveling to Bali also required direct services to Bali.
Satar reconfirmed Garuda's strong commitment to the promotion of tourism in Indonesia, including Bali, and informed the media that in 2006 Garuda Indonesia committed in excess of 1.1 million seats to international flights into Bali, or around 30 percent of total passengers.
A Sigh of Relief from Down Under
Garuda Indonesia's Sydney-based Regional Manager Southwest Pacific, Suranto Yitnopawiro, said, "I am delighted at the outcome of this strategy review. It is good to be able to put an end to speculation and to reassure our industry partners in Australia and Bali."
Garuda Indonesia currently operates services to Bali from international ports including Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore and several others.
Mr Suranto advised that planning for the Northern Hemisphere Summers Schedules is still under way.
"Final schedules will be dictated by market demand, route profitability and the availability of suitable aircraft," said Suranto.
Qatar Airways Bali Bound
One of the World's Largest Airlines, Qatar Airways Set to Start Bali Operations in March 2007.
To celebrate 10 years of continuous operations Qatar Airways used the occasion of the World Travel Mart (WTM> in London this month to announce the addition of seven new destinations in 2007, bringing to 77 the total number of cities served by the Airline.
From Europe and Africa to Asia and, for the first time, North America, Qatar Airways will add seven key cities to its route network over the next 12 months. And the airline also confirmed it will take delivery of the first of 20 Boeing 777s next year to operate long haul routes from the carrier's Doha hub.
New Service to Bali
Nigeria's commercial centre of Lagos joins Qatar Airways' network from January 3, followed six days later by Dar Es Salaam, capital of Tanzania.
Qatar Airways will begin flying to the tropical island of Bali from the start of the Summer 2007 season in March, supporting its existing Indonesian operation where the airline already serves the capital, Jakarta.
And Vietnam is also on the horizon when Ho Chi Minh City is set to become yet another destination in Qatar Airways Asian portfolio next March.
And, for the first time, a Qatar Airways aircraft will land in the United States with daily scheduled flights from Doha to New York, scheduled to begin in Summer 2007.
The US route will be operated non-stop with Qatar Airways' new state-of-the-art Airbus A340-600 aircraft, featuring a unique onboard First Class lounge. The airline was recently the launch customer of the High Gross Weight version of the aircraft, which is currently operating on the Doha London Heathrow route.
In addition; Qatar Airways will fly to a new point in Northern Europe and, for the first time, in Eastern Europe, in the second half of 2007. Details of the two new European destinations are being finalized.
Addressing a press conference at World Travel Market in London, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said 2007 would be a milestone year for the Doha-based airline.
"Back in 1994, Qatar Airways launched operations with just a handful of regional routes with a handful of aircraft," he said.
"The airline was re-launched in 1997 and, almost 10 years on, Qatar Airways now flies an international network covering 70 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and Far East.
Our fleet has grown sharply to 51 aircraft and we have simply gone from strength to strength carrying more than six million passengers a year representing annual growth averaging 35 per cent. We are well on target to more than double our fleet size to 110 aircraft by 2015."
Added Al Baker: "Our fleet, our destinations and our global network have grown with unprecedented proportions, which is simply the envy of our peers in the aviation industry."
Al Baker also announced that the airline planned to acquire 20 Boeing 777s with deliveries beginning at the end of 2007. With options for a further 20 Boeing 777s, these new aircraft a mix of Extended Range, Long Range and Freighters will be the backbone of Qatar Airways' long-haul, wide-body fleet and used on new routes across North America and Australasia.
Bali Farmers File Civil Suit Against Tommy Suharto.
Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, the recently paroled youngest son of Indonesia's former President Suharto, is lined up for yet another court date, this time in the civil courts of Bali to face a suit filed by Bali farmers seeking compensation for land they claimed was swindled away by a Company owned by "Tommy" to develop a massive 74-hectare tourism project on the Nusa Dua Peninsula.
The farmers who lost their lands in the early 1990s are asking for Rp. 171 billion (US$19 million) in compensation from Suharto's Son.
Convicted and imprisoned only after a massive nation-wide manhunt, "Tommy" Suharto served an abbreviated sentence of several years from an initial sentence of 15 years for his role in the assassination of a Supreme Court judge who made a judicial decision that disfavored the now-disgraced Indonesian businessman.
Work on the project halted during the financial crisis which has plagued Indonesia since the late 1990s, with construction recently recommenced on the Pejatu Project.
Thailand or Bali? Thaksin Picks Paradise
Deposed Thai Prime Minister Takes a Holiday in Bali
In New York City on September 19, 2006 when opposition forces staged a bloodless coup in Bangkok, Former Thai Prime Minister Taksin Shinawatra has spent most of the time since that date ensconced his London home avoiding the attentions of an inquisitive world press.
Purported to be one of Thailand's richest men, the former police official is currently a man on the move, enjoying visits to Hong Kong, China and the island of Bali. Unwelcome for the moment in Bangkok where coup leaders and the Monarchy would find his presence extremely problematic, the disgraced former Prime Minister arrived last week on board a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong where he was whisked through customs and immigration formalities and driven to a five star hotel in Bali's Nusa Dua Complex. In the days after his arrival he also managed to squeeze in a round of golf at one of Bali's premier courses.
In the company of a young lady, believed to be his daughter, when traveling from the airport to his hotel, the former Prime Minister is expected to stay for as long as one week in Bali before traveling on to Mainland China or Perth Australia.
Meanwhile, Thai military junta leader Surayud Chulanond has publicly indicated that Taksin would only be allowed to return to his homeland after new elections can be held, scheduled for sometime in the coming 12 months.
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