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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #540 - 15 January 2007

Bali Ends Year Down Only -9.09%
Bali by the Numbers: Bali Arrivals Continue to Build and Diversify.

Preliminary arrival figures for 2006 show that tourist visitors continue to build strength despite lingering gaps from the Island's two largest markets of Australia and Japan.

December Arrivals

December arrivals to Bali totaled 122,848, up +61.90% from the same month in 2005 when arrivals were still tumbling following a terror attack of just two months before. Compared to a more representative December of 2004 (125,525), the latest December's performance was only down -2.13%.

Such a strong performance in the absence of normal flows of Australian and Japanese visitors indicate Bali is managing to diversify its arrivals over time.



Total Arrivals 2000-2006

Similarly, total arrivals for 2006 ended at 1,260,317 – a figure down only -9.09% from 2005 (1,386,449) and down -13.57% as compared to 2004 (1,458.309).

Seeking to compare apples with apples, it should be noted that total arrivals for 2006 are up +26.91% when compared to total arrivals in 2003 (993,029) - the other recent year in which the island was recovering from a previous October's terror attack.




honZEN Raises the Level of Japanese Dining in Bali
Refurbished and Larger - honZEN at The Ritz Cartlon, Bali Resort & Spa Sets a New Standard for Japanese Cuisine.

A major refurbishment, including a second storey addition, has added stunning new dimensions and heights to Japanese dining at the newly-contemporized honZEN Japanese restaurant, located within the grounds of The Ritz-Carlton, Bali Resort & Spa.

Doubled in size to seat 110 guests and extending their menu to include new Korean Barbecue and Grill rooms, honZEN now offers what is arguably Bali’s most complete and prestigious Japanese restaurant.

With the restaurant's team of 15 culinary innovators, headed by the talented artisan Chef Hiroki Mimaki, honZEN offers a full-spectrum menu focusing on cuisine that captures definitive Japanese dishes while employing the best of modern and western techniques.

Utilizing Zen aesthetic design principles, the introduction of a second level is designed to heighten the pleasures of indoor and outdoor dining. Air conditioned dining venues include individual modern 'cottage' pavilions with Zen inspired courtyards, a range of private dining rooms, exclusive Korean barbecue grill rooms with tables for individual dining and an outdoor terrace for open-air dining.

honZEN's design and menus encourage guests to select the ambiance that best fulfils their needs within one establishment. Guests can casually dine for lunch or dinner at the revamped Sushi Bar, be stunned by the theatrics of the dramatic new Teppanyaki Room or settle in for a meticulous sampling of Japanese dishes from a number of stylish new private dining rooms featuring a-la-carte delicacies and table décor of Seike Torige glassworks, black embroidered napkins and chopstick rests that artistically use fresh garlic and red chili.

Designed by famed Japanese architect Koji Takeda, honZEN, which first opened in 2000, takes its name and inspiration from its’ meaning of ‘wonderful food’ and from the Zen aesthetic principles of harmony, tranquility and purity.

Upon entering the striking restaurant, a five meter long pristine blonde-wood sushi bar lined with white leather chairs overlooked by honeycomb patterned light boxes made of dappled rice paper makes a bold impression. Down lights over the bar spotlight the expert sushi and sashimi chefs whose flawless culinary precision swiftly create incredible fresh delicacies as per order.

The ground level also features an ultra-modern version of a traditional 'suki-ya' room (tea house) which has two entrances. The 'figurative' entrance for guests has a traditional arched 'roji' doorway accessed via an outdoor courtyard which, tradition states, is made low enough so that guests bend down to enter, humbling them in preparation for the meal. This modern dining space is entered via beautiful Kyoto sliding screens to accommodate parties of four to twelve people at low tables with woven chaise seats complete with soft black waffle weave cushions. Set against a backdrop of charcoal-colored rice paper wall paneling the rooms also offer individual piped music and a private and sophisticated atmosphere.

Still on the ground level, culinary theatrics are performed in the Teppanyaki Room which extends past two stylish all white and mocha accented private dining rooms with individual white leather banquette lounges. Teppanyaki guests, presented with specially made fine cotton branded 'aprons', sit on red chili-colored leather chairs. They are surrounded by black marble benches that run alongside two impressive sparkling stainless steel grills where flamboyant cookery demonstrations are presented.

The modern Teppanyaki Room is dramatically set off by a very special antique timber wall panel feature which was crafted from the decks of ancient ships salvaged from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Upstairs the main dining areas offer semi-private dining spaces, interwoven with rich and natural textures and objects of art against and high polished drama of black marble, modern leather and glass finishing’s. Rough-carved wood benches divide the ultra contemporary dining spaces used for the newly installed and already popular Korean Barbecue and Grill.

Here guests can select a range of fresh meats, vegetables and condiments to grill on state of the art in built barbecue grills cooked to their individual tastes and leisure.

honZEN’s menu features a some 150 dishes and imported delicacies across a vast range of appetizers, soups, rice and noodles including an expansive Sushi and Sashimi menu, generous Teppanyaki and Korean barbecue options encompassing set lunches and dinners and a large range of a-la-carte choices, and deserts.

honZEN’s menu also includes some of the best Japanese Sake and Shochu beverage choices which can be paired to dishes with guidance from Chef Mimaki.

Reputed Island-wide as the 'grand masters of Japanese cuisine' for their extraordinary artistry in providing exquisitely crafted fresh dishes, honZEN’s new dining arena is set for dazzling success.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. For Bookings call ++62-(0)361-702222 extension #7801.

Click to enlarge



Bali-Lombok Ferry Catches Fire
Emergency Grounding on Bali's Eastern Shore Narrowly Averts a Disaster. 91 Passengers Uninjured and Safely Landed Ashore.

Bali narrowly averted adding another inter-island ferry disaster to Indonesia's growing list of mishaps at sea for 2007 when the Bali-Lombok car ferry KMP Nusa Bhakti caught fire shortly after leaving the Bali port of Padang Bai on Saturday afternoon, January 13, 2007.

Loaded with cars, trucks, motorcycles and 91 passengers the ship averted disaster when the Captain intentionally ran the disabled vessel aground near the village of Bubug, in Karangasem.

According to local press reports, thousands of local villagers rushed to the shore to lend aid and assistance to the passengers who managed to scramble safely to shore as smoke billowed from the ship’s engine room.

Passengers departing the ship complained of no communication or safety instructions from the crew during the entire incident.

Port authorities at Padang Bai provided free passage to the rescued passengers on ferry services which depart on an hourly basis from the port to Lombok.


Change in Bali
A Balinese Prince Shares His Views on Bali and Change with The Jakarta Post.

A recent article in the Jakarta Post by Imanuddin Razak offered a though provoking view on Bali in the early 21st Century as it confronts globalization and an unprecedented flood of change in the modern world.

Change in Bali: A view from within

Imanuddin Razak, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta


In everyone's life, there is always a turning point that makes one take a giant leap toward change.

This also applies to Anak Agung Gde Agung from Bali, a social affairs minister under the presidency of Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid and the current king of Gianyar in Bali.

His ancestors had their roots in the Central Java ancient Majapahit Kingdom.

The death of his father -- Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung, who served a multitude of top posts during the founding Sukarno presidency -- in April 1999, a few months before he was named a Cabinet minister under Gus Dur, led him to believe that he must take a leading role in the preservation, if not the rehabilitation, of Bali's environment.

This also extended to sociocultural as well as socioreligious life, which, he felt, had been eroded badly due to the strong influence of globalization.

Such motivation took him to Leiden University in the Netherlands in search of more complete information and background on Balinese culture, even though he already held BA and MBA degrees from Harvard University in the United States and a PhD from Fletcher University, also in the U.S..

"I did not know much about Balinese culture at the time ... I tried to get such data on Bali at our national archives here, only to be given a very thin stack of information that I needed to start my project," he said in a recent interview.

That persuaded him to fly to the Netherlands to pursue a degree in anthropology. He was lucky to get 10 anthropology professors who were willing to co-sponsor his PhD thesis at the 431-year-old university, including Prof. Richard Leaky, who is considered the father of anthropology.

Three years of research into Balinese culture and tradition were not wasted for the holder of a number of leading positions at a number of joint venture companies here as he received two awards -- Excellent and Pioneering (equivalent of summa cum laude) -- for his thesis: Bali Paradise Lost? Tri Hita Karana and the conservation of the island's Biocultural Diversity.

It was due to this thesis that he was given the rarely bestowed opportunity to write his signature on a plaque at Leiden.

"There are only eight signatures on the plaque, with noted physicist Albert Einstein, top British politician Winston Churchill and South Africa's most beloved president Nelson Mandela, among others. I, an Indonesian, am the eighth signatory," he said.

Speaking about why he was asked to be a signatory, Anak Agung said that it was because he introduced a totally innovative approach to his research and thesis writing.

Unlike previous practice, which had always used a qualitative approach in anthropology theses, he adopted a quantitative approach -- namely multivariant regression -- through nonlinear canonical analysis, which is more responsive to feedback from respondents.

With this he was able to draw one out of 1,000 traditional Balinese concepts, known as Tri Hita Karana, as the answer to the continuing erosion of Bali's habitat and Balinese sociocultural and socioreligious life.

In economic terms, there has been a grand shift of Balinese from an agrarian to a commercial and consumptive society.

"It's worsened by the (local) government's misdirection policy to let deforestation and land clearance continue for the sake of the construction of infrastructure for tourism," Anak Agung said.

"Statistical data has shown that all of the 38 beaches in Bali had eroded by an average of 125 square meters per year, while a total of 25,000 hectares of forest had been converted into hotels, malls or other tourism spots in the past decade," he explained.

He cited the exploitation of the grand and sacred Ayung River, the site of many hotels, whose construction had gone deep into the valley bottom, thus destroying its habitat.

"No one dares to challenge or protest the construction there as the projects belong to entrepreneurs with good links to the ruling elite ... Perhaps it is due to the existence of the caste system in Hinduism that people from lower castes would not dare to openly challenge those from castes above," he said.

"To me, enough is enough. There shouldn't be deforestation and land clearance in Bali anymore. There has to be a breathing spell for Bali and its people to restore Balinese culture and tradition," he added.

With regard to the behavior of the Balinese, he said he was surprised at their acts of violence when outgoing president Megawati Soekarnoputri, who sought reelection, lost the 2004 general election.

"It was for the first time in my life that I saw Balinese engage in acts of violence ... They burned trees and even the local legislative building," he said.

He cited a 2001 statistic that reported a 2,000 percent to 3,000 percent increase in violence by Balinese two to three years before 2000.

As an operational mechanism for the Tri Hita Karana concept, especially in the wake of a series of recent bomb attacks in Bali that had ruined the island's image as a safe tourism site, he therefore recommended a "Bali Recovery" campaign, which is contrary to the measures being taken by the Bali administration and the state ministry of culture and tourism.

Bali Recovery, he said, should not be misunderstood as merely bringing back foreign tourists by establishing as many tourism sites as possible, thereby neglecting the environment as well as the socioreligious and sociocultural aspects of the Balinese.

"The measures should focus on restoring our (Balinese) lost tradition and religiosity, as incoming tourists are only the byproducts of our conscience to return to Balinese traditional and religious values," he said.

"Foreign tourists will come to Bali not to see jazz or rock musical performances nor car races at an international circuit nor to play golf at world-class golf courses as they can enjoy those things at other countries in the West."

"It is true that some tourists will come for those things, but most come here to see the uniqueness of Balinese culture and tradition," he said.

At the end of the interview, he called on the central government and local Bali administration to review their policies on Bali and revitalize local traditional and religious values so as to promote the resort island.

"We should increase people's -- including tourists' -- awareness on the uniqueness of Bali. Otherwise, Bali will only be seen as a place of everything for everybody."


Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Andrew and Gaia Grant of Bali's Famed Tirian Leadership & Team Development Share Some Thoughtful Reflections on Safety and Security while on Holiday in the U.S. Rocky Mountains.

Long-time Bali residents and founders of Tirian: Innovative Leadership & Team Development, Andrew and Gaia Grant, are enjoying an extended holiday with their family in the snowing mountains of the Western U.S. – a dramatic contrast from their beachside home in Bali.

While on holiday, they sent an email to balidiscovery.com reflecting on safety, security and living in the modern world.

We thank them for their generous permission to share their thoughts with our readers.


Tirian Thoughts: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained


Andrew and Gaia Grant


Season's Greetings from the Rocky Mountains, U.S..

After another very busy and fruitful year, we have been taking a short break in the US over the Christmas and New Year period to catch up on valuable family time and focus on program development and writing.

With a 20+ hour plane trip from our home and office base in Bali through several transit points, we are now literally isolated from the rest of the world - we are snowed in. At an attitude of 3400 meters and a temperature of minus 25 degrees Celsius, with two blizzards already having buried our surroundings in an unusually thick wad of white and another blizzard brewing on the horizon, we are loving having the opportunity to slow down and reflect on the year past and the new one ahead.

REFLECTIONS

While traveling through the States with work commitments and meeting old and new friends, we have had time to reflect in particular on the outsider's perspective of our life in Asia, and about the risks we take in life in general.

Many people here are interested to hear we are from Bali, but they have expressed concerns about our safety. In fact our first reminder that Bali is perceived as a very risky place to be, came in the form of a prominent sign at Los Angeles airport warning passengers of the dangers of Bali's airport. We were fascinated that Bali airport had been singled out as apparently the most dangerous airport in the world!

We have since had a number of opportunities to reflect on different perceptions of safety. Many people we have met in Colorado say they moved here as it is one of the safest states in the U.S.: free from natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, and seemingly more protected from terrorist attacks and high crime rates, etc..

Yet since we have been here in the mountains we have seen numerous deadly car accidents from the icy conditions, we have only just managed to sidestep a triple avalanche that buried 4 cars (and they're still digging to check if there may be more), and we have also discovered that our family has been involved in statistically the most accident prone sport documented – snowboarding. When ordering lunch at the Subway sandwich outlets, we have been told we cannot order baby spinach at due to fears of E-coli attacks.

And at dinner party conversations, when our American friends have expressed that they are horrified at the fact that we are unperturbed about the threat of a shark attack while swimming or surfing in Bali or back in Australia (where we are originally from), we have needed to remind them that it is at least 1,000 times more dangerous to cross a road or climb into a car in this country.

And there are more dangerous threats lurking beneath the apparently serene surface of this beautiful area of the U.S.. When we interviewed an English Professor from Colorado University at Denver he pointed out that Colorado holds the record for school shootings in the States (with the statistics showing annually 17,732 fatalities from homicides and 31,484 from suicides nationally).

Even on the way to the States we wondered about where the safest place in terms of terrorism and crime might be, with the information about numerous terrorist plots on flights headed to the U.S. and U.K. and tight restrictions on hand luggage allowances - plus extra careful security screenings at all the airports around the country.

At another level, a visit to an Imax movie special on Black Holes with our children has reminded us that we could all be sucked into a cosmic vortex and obliterated at any time!

WHAT'S NEXT?

Just as we were considering the potential need to find another planet or universe to live in, TIME Magazine helped alleviate our fears with a cover article about safety titled: "Why We Worry About The Things We Shouldn't... And Ignore The Things We Should". In this article Jeffrey Kluger points out that, "We wring our hands over the mad cow pathogen that might be (but almost certainly isn't) in our hamburger and worry far less about the cholesterol that contributes to the heart disease that kills 700,000 of us annually. We pride ourselves on being the only species that understands the concept of risk, yet we have a confounding habit of worrying about mere possibilities while ignoring probabilities, building barricades against perceived dangers while leaving ourselves exposed to real ones."

By taking a step-by-step walk through the daily risks we all face, the article reminds us again that statistically we are at most risk of a serious incident from slipping in the bath than anything more radical or dramatic. A welcome reminder that we shouldn't be overly concerned about venturing back outside for another day of snowboarding...

A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

So our New Year's resolution for this year? To continue to live life to the fullest and to contribute to others' lives where we can; in the process being aware of real risks, remembering that even in safe places dangerous risks still abound, and to recognize that in apparently dangerous places it is possible to live an abundant life by exercising reasonable caution. We will remember that people can do safe things dangerously and dangerous things safely. So no matter where we are and what we are doing, we will continue to venture out and make the most of the opportunities that life presents with wise caution.

As Jeffrey Kluger summarizes, "Sensible calculation of real-world risks is a multidimensional math problem that sometimes seems entirely beyond us. And while it may be true that it's something we'll never do exceptionally well, it's almost certainly something we can all learn to do better."

More information: Tirian Website


Three Bali Sites Proposed for World Heritage Status
If Approved, Bali Sites Will Bring to 10 the Number of World Heritage Sites in Indonesia.

The Jakarta Post reports that three Bali sites have been formally proposed to the United Nation's Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for world heritage status.

New Bali Sites Proposed

Now in consideration to be listed as outstanding historical and natural areas worthy of special preservation efforts are:

▪ The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces of West Bali

▪ Pura Taman Ayun Temple in Mengwi

▪ The Tukad Pakerisan River in Gianyar Regency.

The three sites are under critical review from a team of international experts with a final announcement of new World Heritage Sites expected in June 2007.

Indonesia's Existing 7 World Heritage Sites

If selected, the three sites will join seven other World Heritage Sites already listed by UNESCO in Indonesia:

▪Borobudur Temple Compounds in Central Java

▪ Prambanan Temple Compounds in Central Java

▪ The Sangiran Early Man Prehistoric Site in Central Java

▪ Ujung Kulon Nation Park in West Java

▪ The Sumatra Rainforest

▪ Lorentz National Park in Papua

▪ Komodo National Park

An earlier 2004 attempt to have the three Bali sites added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List and be considered during 17-month long evaluation period ran afoul when local officials failed to correctly meet the various application requirements from UNESCO.


A Warning About Warnings
Editorial: There's Little Rhyme or Reason to How the Australian Government Structures its Travel Warnings.

If you meet an Australian traveler and he or she seems a little confused, be sure to cut them a little slack. That befuddled state of mind is the natural result of trying to decipher and understand the current load of travel warnings posted by the Australian Government at [www.smarttraveller.go.au]

The Levels of Warning

By way of background, the Australian Government classifies every destination in the world under one of five levels of danger, ranking from the "safest" to the "most hazardous" with the following respective ratings:

"A" - Be alert to your own security

"B" - Exercise caution

"C" - High degree of caution

"D" - Reconsider your need to travel

"E" - Do not travel

The World as The Australian Government Sees It

A quick jump around all the countries and travel advisories listed on the smarttraveller.gov.au website suggests that Australian taxpayers may be getting precious little for the money they pay for thoughtful travel advice from Canberra.

Here's a sampling of the inconsistencies served up to Australians considering a globe-trotting walkabout.

Thailand "C" – High Degree of Caution

Despite a series of bomb attacks on crowded public places in Bangkok on New Year's Eve and the recent coup, Thailand, as a whole, warrants the "average" or "neutral" rating of "High degree of caution".

Southern Thailand "D"- Reconsider Your Need to Travel

The Country's South, where almost daily attacks continue and nearly two thousand people have died in bombings, shootings and decapitations over the past two years gets the "D" rating of "Reconsider your need to travel" - putting that very troubled area where even school teachers are allowed to carry guns on an equal footing with Bali.

Spain "B" – Exercise Caution

The bombing of Madrid's Barajas Airport on December 20, 2006, signaled an end to a six-month cease fire between the Spanish government and Basque separatists while re-opening the probability of future ETA attacks on public places. Add to this Spain's vulnerbility to violent attacks by radical Islamists, as demonstrated by the March 2004 Madrid train attack that injured over a thousand and killed 192 people, and you might wonder how the Australian Government manages to bestow upon Spain its tame "B" ranking of "exercise caution."

United Kingdom "B" – Exercise Caution

Rated equally with Spain is the United Kingdom which also gets a "B" security rating of "Exercise Caution", despite the widely-held perception that the U.K. remains extremely vulnerable to terrorism following the July 2005 attacks on London's public transport and the Blair government's continued support of the Bush Administration's military intervention in Iraq.

Underlining the idiocy inherent in how Australia's appraises security is the the fact that Britian's MI5 doesn't share Canberra's optmistic view on security, choosing instead to issue a "D" or "Severe - an attack is highly likely" rating for the U.K. on its official website.

Indonesia "D" – Reconsider Your Need to Travel

Earning a ranking just one step above the very worst "no go" warning possible from Canberra is Indonesia and the island of Bali.

Despite John Howard's lavish praise for Indonesia's leading role in the "war on terror" and the fact that terror attacks in Bali and Jakarta now pre-date similar attacks in London and Madrid, Indonesia and Bali still remain in the "dog's house" when it comes to Australian travel advisories.

Reflecting the lack of careful thought Australian bureacrats invest in formulating their Indonesian travel warnings, the smarttraveller.gov.au advisory current(sic) for January 14, 2007 still states: "There is a credible threat of terrorist attack in Indonesia during the Christmas and New Year period."

Unless the Australians now celebrate the Christmas holidays at a later date than the rest of the world, this warning is wrong on several levels.

United States "A" – Be Alert to Own Security

And, as a final rebuttal to any lingering doubts that Australia's travel warnings have more to do politics than any objective review of security threats, consider the case of the United States which earns Australia's "safest" grade-"A" rating of "Be alert to your own security."

Supporting the view that Australian travel advisories are capriciously constructed is the simple fact that Canberra's "A" appraisal of overall U.S. Security is even more bullish than the "C" or "Elevated" rating America's own Department of Homeland Security gives to the current domestic security situation in the U.S.A., not to mention the even more foreboding "D" or "High - Orange" alert for the U.S. airline sector from Homeland Security.

While Washington diplomatically defers American travelers to Australia's self-assesment on security issues, Canberra seemingly knows better than even Washington when it comes to U.S. security, as revealed in its puppy-like eagerness to ingratiate itself with the Bush Administration.

Warning: I'm from the Government and I Want to Help You

Are Australian travel advisories politically motivated?

Naw . . . do you think?


Oh Danny Boy, The Thais, the Thais are Calling
'Danny' McCafferty Departs Bali to Head Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok.

Popular expatriate General Manager and Bali aficionado Daniel McCafferty is ending eight-years at the helm of the 381-room Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa to assume the general manager's role at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok.

The native Dubliner brings back to Bangkok a long and distinguished carrier as a leading Asian hotelier. Commencing his Asia sojourn as the Resident Manager at the Oriental Bangkok under the legendary Kurt Wachtveitl, McCafferty also served as the General Manager of The Jakarta Mandarin and in the top jobs for eight years at the Dusit Thani who have lured him back to Bangkok for his latest assignment.

On a corporate level, McCafferty worked for 2 years as the Vice-President with the Aduley Group, the Sultan of Brunei's hotel company which owned The Dorchester Group, The Nusa Dua Bali, The Grand Hyatt Singapore, The Royal Plaza Singapore and The Empire in Brunei.

Prior to moving to Asia, Daniel McCafferty served as a Resident Manager in the Middle East and as Deputy General Manager for The Hyde Park in London.

While eager to meet new challenges ahead, McCafferty said he will sorely miss his adopted home of Bali, its people and the close-knit team at the Nusa Dua Beach, vowing to visit Bali again at every opportunity.

Replacing McCafferty at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa, effective January 12, 2007, is Swiss-national Reto Torriani, who has previous experience in Bali as the Manager the then Chedi Ubud and was most recently the Resort Manger at Cheeca Lodge in Florida (USA).


Rajawali Group Courting Garuda Indonesia?
Is PT Rajawali - Indonesia's Large and Diversified Conglomerate Looking to Add an Airline to its Business Portfolio?

Indonesia's large Rajawali Group - a conglomerate owned by Indonesian businessman Peter Sondakh, is reported to be considering purchasing shares in the national airline Garuda Indonesia as part of the current restructuring being pursued by the financially crippled state-owned air carrier.

In a report carried in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, the Managing Director and Chief Business Development Officer of PT Rajawali, Darjoto Setyawan, said: "We have not been given the chance to have a detailed look at Garuda, which would allow us to (then) state our intentions. In principle, if the conditions are conducive, we would certainly use the opportunity to join in Garuda ... just wait for more news over the coming few days."

Setyawan told the press that no formal meetings have yet been held with Garuda or the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN). He also denied rumors that Rajawali was forming an alliance with the Texas Pacific Group to purchase a share of the Airline.

The BUMN is thought to be targeting a share-sale worth US$300 million in order to secure funds necessary for Garuda's business expansion. No specific share block has been mentioned in connection with the proposed sell-off, but observers suggest that no more than 49% of the State-owned Airline's shares are potentially on offer from the Indonesian Government.

The Rajawali Group

According to Bisnis Indonesia, The Rajawali group is one of Indonesia's largest corporations owning shares in the Indonesian cement producer PT Semen Gresik (24.9%); cigarette-maker PT Bentoel International (40.77%); telecommunications company PT Excelcomindo Pratama (15.96%); PT Metropolitan Retailmart, the owners of Metro Department Stores; PT Karya Agung Kisma Lestari, owners of the Sheraton Laguna, Nusa Dua hotel; PT Express Transindo Utama; and the Guardian pharmacy chain.

Garuda: Mum's the Word

Garuda's top officials are refusing to comment on reports of Rajawali's interest in their company, saying any statement would be premature and that the final decision on new investors rests with the specially appointed restructuring team appointed to financially rescue the Airline.

Garuda has reportedly begun preparations that would allow an initial public offering (IPO) of 37.5% of the shares held in its ground handling subsidiary PT Gapura Angkasa.

Other Garuda subsidiaries said to be candidates for future IPOs include their hotel and airline catering division PT Aerowisata; the distribution and reservation system of the Airline PT Abacus Distribution; and Aero Asia, Garuda’s aircraft maintenance facility.


It's a Shore Thing
Beachside Restaurant at Popular Candi Dasa Resort Draws Protests from Locals and Legislators.

Local lawmakers in the Karangasem area of Bali are calling for the dismantling and removal of the Garpu Restaurant located at the Rama Candidasa Resort & Spa, claiming the restaurant violates set back rules dictating minimum distance between the shoreline and permanent building structures.

Quoted in the Indonesian-language DenPost, the Chairman of Commission II of the Regional People's Consultative Assembly (DPRD), Gede Dana, complained: "Whatever the reason, the presence of the Garpu Restaurant clearly violates regional law. Because of this, we have urged the (legislature's) executive to take strong action and dismantle the building as well as impose sanctions on the management of Rama Candidasa Resort & Spa."

During a recent surprise inspection visit to the Seaside Hotel, members of commission II and III of the local legislature concluded that the restaurant, which opened on December 22, 2006, is bisecting local access of the beach. Dana explained: "With the presence of this building, local people and tourists are prevented from taking walks on the beach. Travel to the east or the reverse, they are compelled to go via the main road."

The inspection team found the restaurant extends 12 meters into the sea for length of 80 meters along the seaside. This is in violation of Karangasem regulations (No. 8 of 2003) stipulating a minimum set back distance of 12 meters from the shoreline.

According to DenPost, local legislators are upset with the management of the Hotel who they claim have misrepresented claims that they hold complete building permits for the restaurant when their enquiries with local Public Works and Tourism offices indicate a lack of any permit for the structure. Also adding further irritation for the lawmakers is the fact that the General Manager of the Rama Candidasa Resort & Spa is Wayan Tama, who also serves as the Chairman of the Karangasem branch of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI).

Commenting to the Bali Post, Tama defended the restaurant's construction claiming it was non-permanent in nature and, as such, does not violate the rules. He also told the press the that the ocean has steadily eroded the hotel's original shoreline border over recent years.

The Rama Candidasa Resort & Spa was one of last month’s recipients awarded the Tri Hita Kirana Award presented to recognize regard for balanced development, considerate of the culture of the local Balinese community, the local ecology and Balinese religious beliefs. [See: Bali Awards Tri Hita Karana Tourism Awards for 2006]



Power and Fuels Price to Remain Constant in 2007
Steady Energy Cost for 2007 is Good News to Bali's Hotel and Resort Operators.

According to a report from Agence France-Presse, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has issued assurances that electricity and fuel prices will remain unchanged in 2007 in order to help keep a lid on the national inflation rate.

The President was quoted by Agence France-Press as saying: "We do not want to take risks on inflation. We also are taking into consideration the (issue of) people's purchasing power."

The President, however, did not discount that the Government may be compelled to continue to substantially subsidize the State Power Board (PLN) and PT Pertamina, if domestic power prices fall below market values.

The Government increase fuel prices an average 126% in October of 2005, which sparked round of inflation that averaged 17.11% in that year.

Budgeted subsidies for fuel in 2007 are set at Rp. 68.6 trillion (approximately US$756 million) and Rp. 25.8 trillion (approximately US$284 million) for electrical subsidies.


Wismilak International September 9-17, 2007
Now in its 14th Year, Bali Tournament a Fixture on Professional Women's Tennis Tour.

The Wismilak International is the stop on the professional women's tennis tour that traditionally sees top players bring their family along to enjoy the many splendors of the world’s best holiday destination – Bali.

Back again for its 14th year, the Wismilak International will be held again in Nusa Dua, Bali, September 9-17, 2006.

In a press statement, Kevin Livesey, the tournament director, said, "this year promises yet another successful year, as we prepare to invite and showcase the best of professional women's tennis on the courts in Nusa Dua."

Dedicated to promoting Bali and Indonesia to the world through tennis, the Wismilak International was first held in Surabaya, East Java before moving to its permanent home in Bali.

As in years' past, the world's top female tennis talent will be on hand at Nusa Dua, including the likes of Lindsay Davenport, who won the Bali tournament in 2005; Svetlana Kuznetsova, who has three Bali wins to her credit (2002, 2004 and 2006); Elena Dementieva the 2003 champ; and 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina.



 
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