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"Thanks for all your assistance in planning and executing the Mitsubishi Guild Achievers Incentive trip. The group was really grateful for all your assistance during their stay and were all blown away at each of the interesting and new experiences presented to them each day."
Bali Police Give Security Report Cards to Island Hotels
As part of Bali's continuing commitment to security, all major hotels in Bali are obliged to undergo a thorough security audit conducted by the Bali Police. Each security review is carried out by a team of officers from the Bali Police headquarters and addresses personnel issues, equipment, physical facilities, security software, training and public order issues.
Nearly 50 hotels were inspected in the current review with the Nikko Bali Resort & Spa receiving the highest security score of a 98.97 percentile ranking.
In announcing the ratings for 2007 the police bestowed "gold star ratings" on the top 25 hotels; the next nine receive "silver star ratings" and the next 11 "bronze star ratings."
As shown on balidiscovery.com the summary rankings of the top 45 hotels receiving Gold, Silver and Bronze rankings.
2007 Bali Police - Security Rating for Hotels
11 More Countries Slated for Visa on Arrival
Addition of 11 New Countires to 52 Currently Eligable for Visa-on-Arrivals on Hold Pending Formal Confirmation Announcement.
The Jakarta Post reports that Indonesian is preparing to include 11 new countries to the list of 52 countries currently eligible to purchase wither a 7 or 30-day visa on arrival. [See: Current Visa Policy for Indonesia]
The countries reported likely to be added to the list of visa-on-arrival countries are Algeria, the Czech Republic, Fiji, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Panama, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Tunisia.
A Word of Caution
Nationals of the listed countries should not assume a visa is automatically available upon arrival in Indonesia until a formal announcement is made by the Indonesian government. According to Foreign Ministry sources, the final introduction of the new visa facility for the 11 new countries remains pending until reciprocity issues between Indonesia and two countries on the list can be sorted out.
Similarly, earlier announcements by ranking Indonesian officials suggesting longer visa periods were in the offing have failed to materialize despite the passage of many months since the initial fanfare.
Nationals of those countries eligible for a visa-on-arrival can pay US$10 for a seven-day visa or US$25 for a thirty-day visa upon landing at a major gateway in Indonesia. Visas-on-arrival are non-extendable and the recipient must have at least six-month's validity remaining in his or her passport.
A Special Exhibition of Children's Art at the Bali Dynasty Resort April 20- June 20 2007 in Support of the East Bali Poverty Project.
The award-winning East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) has earned world-wide praise for its life-changing success in improving the hygiene, nutrition and education of some of Bali's poorest people living in the shadows of sacred Mt. Agung. Working closely in support of community improvement projects identified and requested by the local populace, one of the cornerstones of EBPP's success has been its ability to impact the wider community through bringing clean water, schooling, and practical life skills to children who share both their enthusiasm and new skills with the families.
How the EBPP project has fundamentally changed the life of the people of East Bali is brilliantly told in a book written and illustrated by the children benefiting from the program entitled "The Art of Learning by Doing". [See: The Art of Learning by Doing]
Because of the popular success of the book and numerous requests to purchase art work by the children, a special 2-month long exhibition of paintings will be held at the Bali Dynasty Resort from April 20 - June 20, 2007.
The paintings on display share simple lessons learned on the value of a good healthy meal each day, precious potable water, and the value of group effort in overcoming problems facing their community. As the accompanying pictures taken from the exhibition demonstrate, the creativity and technique of the children's art shows a maturity beyond the years of these your painters. Perhaps most importantly, each painting provides a privileged glimpse into Balinese rural life in the isolated villages high on the slopes between Mt. Agung and Mt. Abang.
These young artists are the first generation in the history of their region to experience a curriculum which includes subjects such as health and hygiene, nutrition and organic farming, as well as art. Never fortunate enough to benefit from the tutoring of a qualified art teacher, the 42 paintings in the exhibition by the children of Cegi and Pengalusan schools represent both art and important documents recounting the improving quality of life in an area where hope was once the rarest commodity. As creative as the paintings themselves, the children created their own frames for each work using recycled materials ranging from empty milk cartons to local bamboo.
The official opening of the Exhibition will be at 4:00 p.m. on April 20, 2007 at the Bali Dynasty Resort's lobby featuring a dance performance by the children. Proceeds from the sales of the art will be used to support the continuing work of the East Bali Poverty Project.
The Exhibition closes on June 20, 2007.
No kitchen is complete without a refrigerator door bearing a painting by one of the children of East Bali!
Bali by the Numbers: Q1 2007 Arrival Figures for Foreign Arrivals Among the Strongest Ever to Bali.
Preliminary foreign tourist arrivals figures to Bali for March 2007 of 120,673 indicate that Bali arrivals are booming at record levels:
. March 2007 foreign arrivals at 120,673 are +43.47% ahead of March 2006 figures (84,109).
. Similarly, quarter on quarter arrivals show a +47.48% improvement for 2007 (348,452) versus 2006 (236,260).
. While the dramatic improvement in just one year is largely due to the depressed condition of Q1 2006 following the October 2005 terrorist attack, the Q1 2007 total of 348,452 foreign visitors nonetheless represents a new record in Bali arrivals.
Future installments of Bali by the Numbers will look at where the visitors comprising these new record numbers came from and why larger numbers of current arrivals may still equate into fewer hotel room nights than lower arrivals numbers managed to produce just a few years back.
New Funds to Secure 60 Planes and Rebuild Shattered Reputation of Indonesian Low Cost Carrier.
Threatened with closure for its poor safety record, troubled Adam Air has sold a 50% share of its business to PT Bhakti Investama (Bhakti) - a large Indonesian corporation with holdings in the mass media and telecommunications controlled by the PT Bimantara Citra group.
While both Bhakti and Adam Air are remaining mum on the cash value of the sale of 50% of the company, an Adam spokesman did confirm that the "new cash" would allow the Airline to move ahead with plans to acquire 60 new aircraft. Adam Air plans to add 10 new aircraft in 2007 comprised of Boeing 737-300 and Airbus A320 equipment.
Adam Air, currently operates 22 airplanes.
Part of Adam Air's medium-term plans include acquiring an armada of sufficient size to take advantage of more liberalized commercial air policies expected to come into effect in ASEAN in 2010.
According to the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Bhakti financed its buy-in to Adam Air via a US$100 million loan from Lehman Brothers. Plans are for the loans to eventually be converted in to tradable obligations bearing a 6% rate of interest which will converted into shares when Bhaklti's shares achieve a price of Rp. 1,650 per share (approximately US$0.18). Following the announcement of the buy-in Bhakti's share price closed at Rp. 1,100 per share, up slightly from the previous day's close of Rp. 1,090.
To fund the rapid expansion plans of Adam Air the owners of the airline plan to take the airline public in the near future on one of the regional bourses.
Higher Fees and Higher Visitor Numbers at Tanah Lot
Better Security, More Cultural Events and Healthier Arrival Numbers Send Visitor Numbers Soaring at Popular Balinese Cultural Stop.
Apparently higher admission fees for both domestic and international visitors to Bali's iconic Pura Tanah Lot are having no ill-effect on the number of visitors eager to view the photograph the idyllic water-bound religious shrine just off Bali's western shoreline.
According to the management of Puri Tanah Lot, visitors have increased 34.35% over the past three months despite an increase in admission fees.
Starting from the beginning of 2007, domestic visitors have paid Rp. 5,000 (approximately US$0.54) to visit Tanah Lot, a 66% increase from the old rate of Rp. 3,000. Meanwhile, foreign visitors now pay a Rp. 10,000 admission fee (approximately US$1.09), twice the former Rp. 5,000 fee.
The first quarter of 2007 saw some 258,100 people visit Tanah Lot, up +34.35% from the 192,114 who visited during the same period in 2006.
Seeking to Provide a Better Tourism Experience
Tanah Lot Management and local community figures have recently adopted a much more pro-active approach to tourism by organizing major cultural events in the area, improving security through the installation of CCTV cameras and employing trained life guards for the area's beaches.
New Balikpapan to Bali Service Launched
Garuda Offers Better Access Between Indonesian Oil Patch and the Island of Bali.
Garuda Indonesia is continuing its route restructuring program on its domestic route network with the introduction of two new domestic services connecting Yogyakarta and Balikpapan and Denpasar (Bali) and Balikpapan commencing April 23, 2007.
A major gateway to Kalimantan's rich energy and natural resource sectors, Balikpapan will be served with a daily connection to Yogyakarta while the daily Denpasar (Bali) to Balikpapan service will operate with an intermediate stop in Makassar. Both new routes will be flown by Boeing 737-400 aircraft with a capacity for 120 economy and 14 business class passengers.
GA 544 will depart Denpasar each day at 15:35 hours arriving in Balikpapan at 18:10 hours. The return trip on GA545 will leave Balikpapan at 12:00 noon and land in Bali at 14:45 hours.
GA 540 will leave Yogyakarta at 08:45 hours arriving in Balikpapan at 11:25 hours. Meanwhile, GA541 will leave Balikpapan at 18:45 hours landing in Yogyakarta at 19:25 hours.
Reflecting higher passenger loads generally carried by Garuda, the Airline has recently increased to two the number of daily flights between Bali and Yogyakarta.
Garuda Wisnu Park Completed by October 2008?
President Wants Long-Delayed Cultural Park Finished in Time for World Cultural Festival in Bali.
According to the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, President Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono has expressed the wish that the 250-hectare cultural park and monument Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) complex on Bali's Ungasan peninsula can be finally complete by October 2008, in time for the World Cultural Festival planned in Bali.
With a completion cost variously estimated at between US$70 and US$270 million, the centerpiece of the park will be a monument standing 146 meters high and some 286 meters above sea level. With a foundation structure the equivalent of a 16 storey building, the total statue is estimated to eventually weigh 2,000 tons when completed and will resemble the image of the Hindu epic hero Lord Wisnu sitting stop the back of the mythical Garuda bird. The wing span of the Garuda bird will be an impressive 60 meters.
The 250-hectare project will include the monument plaza, an international trade and promotion center, landscaped gardens, a festival and water park, a 5,000 person capacity convention center, a resort complex, and a residential complex.
Done by October 2008?
Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, told Bisnis Indonesia that "the President hopes that by October 2008 the construction of GWK will be completed." In related comments after a meeting with President Yudhoyono, Made Mangku Pastika, the Chairman of the GWK Foundation, admitted the President's target will be difficult to achieve in current conditions, but said chances for success will be increased if support from local investors and national banks materializes.
Pastika told the press that around Rp. 2.5 trillion (approximately US$270 million) is needed to finish the project with half being spent on the actual statue and the remaining half on supporting facilities and buildings.
According to Bisnis Indonesia, 15% of the technical work on GWK is finished with 42% of the construction completed.
Pastika is confident that, once complete, the GWK monument park will draw 10,000 visitors a day, a realistic target given the fact that in it's half-completed state it already manages to attract 2,000-3,000 visitors every day.
A Garuda Indonesia Jakarta-Jeddah Flight Gets a Too-Close Look at an Indian Warhead as it Flies through the Launch Area of an Agni III Ballistic Test Missile.
A Garuda Indonesia B-747 aircraft carrying 390 passengers and 21 crew reportedly had a narrow brush with disaster on Thursday, April 12, 2007, when it had a close encounter with a nuclear-capable ballistic missile filed by the Indian Government.
Garuda 980 on a flight from Jakarta to Jeddah flew into a missile testing area near Wheeler Island off the eastern state of Orissa where it reportedly was close enough to a missile launch to see the long-range missile with its distinctive tails of yellow and orange smoke.
Garuda's General Manager in Jeddah, Muhammad Helmy, told the press that Garuda's Jeddah-bound regular Flight 980, carrying 390 passengers and 21 crew, had to return to Jakarta on Thursday afternoon after the nearest airport of Columbo, in Sri Lanka, refused the Captain of the Boeing 747 permission to land.
After several hours on the ground back in Jakarta, the flight resumed its trip to Jeddah, Another Garuda bound flight for Jeddah also operated on a delayed schedule tied to the Indian missile testing.
While Indian Civil Aviation authorities are adamant that all necessary notices to airman closing the subject airspace were issued well in advance of the firing, Air India also reported one of its incoming flights from Singapore was forced to return to Singapore because of the missile launch program.
A spokesman for the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs has said that Indonesia's Ambassador to Jakarta is being summoned for an official explanation in the near air-tragedy.
National Police Restart Munir Murder Probe
Garuda Indonesia Senior Executives Named as Suspects in 2004 Death of Indonesian Human Rights Activist.
Indonesian Police have formally named and taken into custody Garuda Indonesia' former President Director, Indra Setiawan, and the Secretary of the Chief Pilot of Airbus 330s at the Airline, Rohainil Ain, as suspects in the continuing investigation of the mysterious death of Indonesian human rights activist Munir Said Thalib. Munir died September 7, 2004, while flying from Jakarta to Amsterdam on Garuda.
An autopsy performed on Munir's body in Holland confirmed his death was caused by poisoning linked to orange juice purportedly served him on board the flight.
In a high profile trial, Pollycarpus Budihari, an off-duty Garuda pilot who had managed to join Munir's flight as a passenger, was convicted for his role in the murder of Munir and sent to jail for his part in the death. Later, the Supreme Court changed the murder conviction to a less-severe falsification of travel documents charge, allowing the pilot to go free from prison in October 2006.
According to Tempo Interaktif, police have not discounted the possibility that other suspects may be named in the continuing investigation of Munir's death.
The latest arrests are focusing on the role played by the two senior Garuda officials in falsifying letters that allowed Pollycarpus to join the flight on which he reportedly befriended Munir. Police also reportedly have additional forensic evidence based on studies done in U.S. forensic laboratories and new witnesses in the case that may eventually allow Police to name additional suspects.
Local legal observers question how the case against the two Garuda officials can proceed without re-opening the charges again Pollycarpus. Garuda's corporate lawyer, Mohammad Assegaf, has spoken to the press, asking: "If Pollycarpus was legally found not to be Munir's murderer, what is the basis for declaring these two persons (the Garuda officials) as suspects?"
Spelling Out the Problem
Government Estimates 28,111 Balinese Residents are Illiterate.
According to Tempo Interaktif, the Bali Government estimates that some 28.111 Balinese between the age of 15-44 years are functionally illiterate and have announced plans to help remedy this situation.
Bali's top Education Official, Tia Kusumawardhani, told Tempo Interaktif that the government has allocated Rp. 5.44 billion (approximately US$591,000) to address illiteracy on the island.
In a memorandum of understanding (MOU) recently signed by the Indonesian Minister of Education, Bambang Sudibya; Bali's Governor Made Beratha; and Regents and Mayors from across Bali - all pledged to allocate more funds to educational projects. Among the activities slated are the repair of damaged school building; enforcement of mandatory education through age 9 already written into law; and the reduction of illiteracy rates in Bali.
Although the MOU signed between Jakarta and Balinese officials only imposes a target of reducing the number of Balinese who cannot read and write by 6.555 people, the island of Bali has set a higher target for itself hoping to bring literacy to 9,450 of the now-illiterate before then end of 2008.
The links below provide access to the graphical version of the Bali Update.