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Tourism Think Tank Suggests Minister Jero Wacik has Untapped Sources for Funding the Promotion of 'Visit Indonesia year 2008.'
The Indonesian Tourism Council(DEPARI) have asked Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism to use Presidential Instruction No. 16 of 2005 to overcome the current impasse in promotion funding leading up to "Visit Indonesia Year 2008."
According to the Chairman of DEPARI, Iqbal Alan Abdullah: "The Minister of Culture and Tourism has the ability via Presidential Instruction No. 16 of 2005 to accumulate funds for promotion working with related government departments. We do not think that a lack of funding from the legislature can be used as a reason for failing to launch 'Visit Indonesia Year 2008'."
According to Iqbal, delaying the launch of the special promotion until December will render "Visit Indonesia Year 2008" ineffective and must therefore be launched and funded no later than July-August 2007. The perfect timing for launching the "visit Indonesia 2008" promotion, according to Iqbal, would be when the President delivers his annual address on Indonesian Independence day - August 17, 2007.
DEPARI maintains that in the absence of formal funding from the State budget, the Culture and Tourism Minister is empowered to use the 2005 Presidential Instruction to "force" State-owned companies to contribute funds needed for tourism promotion. As a further basis for demanding the financial cooperation of government-owned companies, DEPARI points to the Presidential decree issued in support of national tourism at the National Coordinating Meeting on Culture and Tourism held at the Bali Presidential Retreat in January 2005.
Bali Dining Festival - August 2007
35 Bali Restaurants and 74 Hotels Join Forces this August for a Month-long Festival of Fine Dining.
Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation in cooperation with the Bali Tourism Board, Bali Hotel Association, Bali Culinary Professional and Garuda Indonesia have combined forces to present an innovative month-long food promotion focused solely on the island of Bali.
Lasting for the entire month of August 2007, the Bali Dining Festival will showcase the endless variety of dining possibilities available on the Island working with the very best restaurants at the world's most popular holiday destination.
The Bali Dining Festival features four interrelated parts:
. The Passport to Delight - a booklet highlighting special menus and offers from participating restaurants offering rewards at local spas, restaurants and the chance to win a holiday.
. The Culinary Safaris offers organized tours to three or four restaurants on a single evening with 'starters' in one, main courses in the next and dessert in the last!
. The Chefs Master Classes provides participants the opportunity to join a cooking class in some of the best chef's kitchens.
. Gala Dinners an island-wide celebration of fine dining with special menus and prizes at all participating restaurants on August 31, 2007.
Passports and restaurant booking will be available at all 74 members of the Bali Hotel Association together with 35 participating venues, as well as from the Bali Tourism Board.
David Beckham and Victoria Pick Several of Indonesia's Finest Resorts for a Family Holiday.
English Soccer megastar David Beckham, accompanied by his wife Victoria and their three children, reportedly recently spent their holiday in Central Java and Bali.
Fresh from a Spanish League victory playing for Real Madrid and en-route to their new home in the Los Angeles where he will play for LA Galaxy, Beckham reportedly arrived by private jet in Yogyakarta on June 19th for a stay at the ultra-luxurious Amanjiwo resort near Borobudur Temple.
Managing to keep one step ahead of the press, the Beckham's later decamped and moved to Bali where they reportedly enjoyed a stay at the Amankila near Manggis, East Bali. Hotly pursued by paparazzi, the Beckham's moved to an undisclosed location to continue to enjoy their private Bali hotel.
Garuda Gets a Repayment Holiday of Two Months While Negotiations Continue on Debt Restructuring. Questions Still Linger on Why Garuda Paid So Much for Six A330-300 Between 1988-1992.
Garuda Indonesia's major creditors in Europe have agreed to allow the national air carrier to miss 2 months of payments on its outstanding debt of US$794 million.
Quoted in the Indonesian language Bisnis Indonesia, the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, Sofyan A. Djalil defended the Airline's improving operations and profitability. The Minister also confirmed that meetings have been held with European creditors in France, Germany and the U.K. to discuss a restructuring of the Company's debt, securing a repayment holiday of two months while negotiations continue.
The creditors - all members of the European Credit Agency (ECA), have received a detailed proposal from Garuda for a restructuring of debt that will allow the purchase of new Airbus aircraft.
The medium term plans for Garuda call for debt relief, improved operational efficiencies and plans to take the Airline public in 2009.
Much of Garuda's current financial difficulties trace to the purchase of six Airbus A330-300 aircraft between 1988 - 1992 at a per unit cost of US$214 million. Industry observers, however, point to indications of a substantial "mark-up" in the market price of a new Airbus A330-300 - thought to be closer to US$140 million per plane. The US$74 million "overpayment" for the six aircraft, if substantiated, represents an unnecessary additional initial principal debt burden of US$444 million for the airline.
Results of an internal audit launched in mid-2006 by Garuda Indonesia to investigate the "mark up" allegations in the purchase of the six Airbus A330-300 have yet to be made public.
Garuda's failure to be completely transparent in the details of the purchase and alleged "mark-ups" and move against those responsible for inflating their debt is seen by many as one of the major stumbling block in please by the Airline for a reduction or "haircut" in the debt owed to the Europeans.
Rajawali No Longer Courting Garuda?
Meanwhile, Bisnis Indonesia reports that the Rajawali Group has decided to disband a consortium prepared to spend between US$300-US$400 million for share in Garuda Indonesia. Delays in disinvestment plans by the Government for the national carrier have caused the group to divert the funds earmarked for the Airline to more immediate mining and plantation projects.
Safety Ratings for Indonesian Airlines
Complete Results of Government Aviation Ratings for Both the March and June 2007 Safety Audits.
The Indonesian Department of Transportation has issued its the results of its scheduled re-audit of safety and air worthiness for all commercial air operators in Indonesia, following an initial audit in March 2007 which failed to see even a single domestic air carrier receive a "clean pass" Category I rating.
The Three Categories
Under the rigorous review of safety standards and safety management imposed by the Government, all airlines in Indonesia fall into one of the following safety rating categories:
. Category I - an airline meets all safety requirements of Indonesia's civil aviation authority.
. Category II - an airline has been determined to meet minimal requirements of civil aviation safety rules, but with outstanding safety issues still to be addressed.
. Category III - airlines found to meet minimal civil aviation safety regulations but with some safety issues which may affect passenger safety still unaddressed. Airlines found in this category are generally given three months to achieve at least Category II status or face suspension of operations.
Improvements Seen in June 2007 Safety Audit.
The latest review of Indonesian commercial aviation saw Garuda Indonesia upgrade from Category II to Category I.
Managing to escape threats of imminent closure in the latest audit were six airlines that undertook the steps to get upgraded from Category III in the March audit to Category II in the June review: Metro Batavia, AdamSky Connection Airlines, Kartika Airlines, Trans Wisata Prima Aviation, Tri MG Intra Asia Airlines and Manunggal Air Service.
With the latest safety review the air operating certificate (AOC) of Jatayu Gelang Sejahtera airline was revoked as the result of that carrier's non-operation and resulting inability to file the meet the requirements to move out of the endangered Category III rating.
Some Airlines Make Substantial Strides
Perhaps most noteworthy was the ability of Garuda Indonesia to move from Category II to a top Category I classification receiving a point total of 168, up from the 146 Category II rating it received in March. The Director General of Civil Aviation, Budhi Suyitno, cited Garuda training and manpower policies, its international standard maintenance facility and strong technical support as justifying the higher rating in the latest audit.
The President Director of Adam Air was buoyant at his airline's escape from Category II status, saying his management team was targeting for a Category I rating by the end of 2007.
Shown on balidiscovery.com is a complete listing of the Indonesian government's aviation safety ratings for both the March and June 2007 reviews.
We are Sailing, We are Sailing!
Bali Hai II is Back from Docking and Operating a Daily Schedule of Day and Evening Dinner Cruises.
After more than one month undergoing a scheduled major overhaul in a Surabaya dry-dock, Bali Hai II has returned to Bali and resumed its daily schedule of island cruises to Nusa Lembongan and evening dinner cruises.
Part of mandatory maintenance required to keep its passenger safety standards at the highest level, the 300-passenger luxury day-cruise vessel had its general machinery tuned and reconditioned, hulls repainted and public areas spruced up during the more than 4 weeks of repairs and upgrades.
On Friday, June 29, 2007 Bali Hai II returned to full service departing Bali with a boat full of passengers on its fun-filled day cruise to its pontoon and private beach club at Nusa Lembongan. Later that afternoon the ship returned to Bali just in time to sail on its popular dinner cruise.
Economic Data Reveals that Bali's Poor Getting a Smaller Share of the Benefits of an Expanding Economy.
Significant improvements in the economy of Bali are widening the gap between the wealthy and the poor and bringing few improvements in the living condition of the Island's poor.
According to the head of the consumer spending section of Bali's Central Statistic Bureau (BPS), Didik Nursetyohdi, "the poor are enjoying the fruits of development, but not to the degree of the rich."
Quoted in the Indonesian language Republika On-Line, Nursetyohadi's comments were made at a Bank Indonesia seminar on interpreting financial statistics held in Bali on June 25, 2007.
In reviewing current economic results for Bali, the first quarter of 2007 saw economic growth of 0.8% - a significant improvement over the previous year when tourist numbers were down following the Island's latest terrorist attack. Current growth is fueled by improving arrival figures which feed Bali's largest industry of tourism.
BPS reports that the average increase in purchasing power of the people of Bali stood at 109.4% in the first quarter of 2006. When broken down into economic sub-sectors, however, the purchasing power of the wealthy was measured at 126.5%, the middle-class at 103% and the poor declining - standing at only 89.6%.
Historical data from the BPS states that between the years 1993-2006 Bali's poor enjoyed a greater share of economic development when their purchasing power exceeded 100% in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Hit hard by the Asian economic crisis, the "rich: in Bali saw their purchasing power decrease to 94.3% in 1999. But, explained Nursetyohdi, the wealthier classes in Bali have made a rapid recovery and now enjoy a greater share of economic advances."
At the seminar, Raga Nugraha, a staff member from the Bali Bank Indonesia branch said that while Bali's economy is experiencing strong growth, the nature of that growth is having little positive impact on providing equable benefits to every socio-economic strata of local society or in generating significant employment opportunities.
This May - the Start of Something Good!
Bali by the Numbers: May Figures Continue the Steady March into Record Territory.
As reported in the last installment of Bali by the Numbers [See: May Arrivals - Higher and Higher] arrivals in May 2007 hit 128,693 establishing it as the best month of May on record - a full +26.45% ahead of the same month one year before (101,776). Moreover, on a cumulative basis, Bali is on the way to a record year for foreign tourist arrivals clocking 600,775 for the period January-May. Compared to the same 5 months in 2006 (442,992), 2007 arrivals are running +35.63 ahead of 2006.
This installment of Bali by the Numbers takes a closer look at the first 5 months of 2007 from the perspective of the following key source markets: Japan, Australia, Taiwan, South Korean, the Peoples Republic of China, ASEAN (as a whole), Malaysia, Singapore, the Americas, the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands and Russia.
. Japan is again operating at near record levels achieved 7 years ago. January-May 2007 arrivals (129,283) regained lost ground in a dramatic way, improving +49.98% over the same period in 2006.
. Australia picked up 56.34% in arrivals to Bali for January-May 2007 (65,651). Once down by more than 50%, Australian arrivals are gradually making up for lost ground, now only some -43% behind the record level of arrivals from that market in January-May 2004 (93,966).
. Taiwan arrivals are up +5% over 2006 through the end of May, however, they still lag -20.7% behind arrivals from that market in 2003.
. South Korean arrivals are operating in record territory, up +69.5% as compared for January-May 2006. Definitely qualifying to be classified as a new emerging market for Bali, South Korean visitors to Bali have increased at an average annual growth rate of 111% since 2000.
. People's Republic of China Although plagued by a lack of direct flights to Bali, easier visa rules have seen this market grow +73.6% over January-May 2006.
. ASEAN The advent of a number of new low cost carriers operating in the region have allowed ASEAN arrivals to increase at an average 24% every year since 2000. Year on year for January-May, ASEAN arrivals increased +12.26% in 2007.
. Malaysia Largely due to the phenomenal growth of Kuala Lumpur's Air Asia, Malaysian arrivals have clocked an average annual growth rate of 74.85% since 2000, increasing +49.4% year-on-year for January-May 2007.
. Singapore arrivals are up +12.26% for January-May 2007 arrivals over just one year before. Since 2000, Singapore arrivals to Bali have increased at an annual average rate of 24%.
Indonesian VP Sends Mixed Signals on Marijuana Use.
Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has adopted a "soft approach" on marijuana use, telling The Jakarta Post, "it's alright to use it as a food seasoning, but it should not be fully legalized,"
The Vice President's comments were apparently prompted by reports commissioned by Indonesian government agencies tasked with narcotics control that suggested a review of criminal penalties for the recreational use of marijuana.
The illicit weed is a popular additive in cooking in parts of the Indonesian island of Sumatra with one restaurateur commenting to the Jakarta Post, "marijuana is available in any Acehnese kitchen just like coriander. Marijuana is a widely-accepted cooking spice there."
A Word of Caution
The use and possession of marijuana and other narcotics remains against the law with harsh sanctions, including the death penalty, awaiting those caught using or dealing illicit drugs in Indonesia.
Currently, 3 Australians are on death row in Bali with 6 of their cohorts serving lengthy sentences for their roles in an effort to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin on board a flight leaving Bali for Australia.
Bali's most celebrated convicted drug smugglers is Queenslander Shapelle Corby who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after she was arrested with 4.2 kilograms of marijuana in her baggage upon arrival in Bali in October 2004.
Corby has steadfastly denied ownership of the illegal marijuana, claiming the contraband was unwittingly placed in her baggage during a flight changeover in Sydney.
Those hoping VP Kalla's public musing on marijuana might open a new legal front for Corby's defense will be frustrated by the Australian woman's adamant denial of ownership of the drugs found in her bag. Only by claming knowledge of the drugs in her suitcase could Corby conceivably adopt a "Martha Stewart" defense; an argument that the 4.2 kilograms of marijuana were a key ingredient in tasty curries and stews.
On second thought, however, anyone aeriously considering such a legal defense really needs to stop "smoking" in the kitchen.
Putting Bali Sports on the Map
Jakarta Post: Bali Triathlon Puts Island on International Sports Agenda
"Last weekend, Bali was packed with hundreds of professional and amateur athletes taking part in the first Bali International Triathlon on June 24.
Despite the scorching sun of Jimbaran, contestants from 25 countries enjoyed the sporting event -- competing in swimming, running and cycling -- while also holidaying on the island.
Before sunrise on Sunday, athletes and spectators crowded the venue near the Four Season Hotels and Resorts in Jimbaran Bay. The competition started with a 1.5-kilometer swim across Jimbaran Beach.
Jointly organized by the Bali International Triathlon LLC, Bali Discovery Tours, Generic events, and Strom and Associate, the Bali triathlon is to become an annual international sports event to attract more athletes to the island.
After finishing the swimming segment, the contestants ran to where their bicycles were waiting to embark on a 40-kilometer race from Jimbaran to Nusa Dua.
Following the cycling segment was the final part of the race, a 10K marathon.
The competition was divided into three categories: individual men and women, as well as corporate teams.
The winner in the men's category was British athlete Daniel Plews, 25, who recorded a fantastic score of 1 hour, 58 minutes and 30 seconds.
In the women's category, Singaporean Kelly Toy, 30, won with a time of 2 hours, 25 minutes and 23 seconds.
"This is my first visit to this beautiful island of Bali," said Plews. "I did not expect to win this competition, which is very great."
Arie Sukirno, a member of the triathlon steering committee, said the competition needed some improvement here and there, as this was the first time such a race had ever been held on the island.
Even so, the event was successful in that it garnered much enthusiasm from athletes.
"The number of participants reached beyond our target of only 100 athletes," Sukirno said.
Asked whether he would return for next year's triathlon, Plews responded: "I will certainly take part in the 2008 Bali Triathlon and will ask my friends to take part in this exciting event."
Two other contestants, Desak Sri and her husband Joseph Taylor, happily shared their experience.
"My husband took part in the individual triathlon category, but I only participated in a 5-kilometer run," said Desak
Desak and her husband are triathlon regulars, and have participated in the event in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and even France.
"We were very excited when hearing that Bali was holding this event," Desak said enthusiastically.
Badung Regent A.A. Gde Agung said during Sunday's opening ceremony that the event would have a significant impact on the island's tourism industry.
"We have to create innovative and attractive activities in addition to cultural events," Agung said.
Bali has long been known as one of the leading destinations for leisure and business activities, but is not yet known as a sporting destination.
"We have received thousands of holidaymakers and those of the business community who want to hold their business conference here," the regent said, adding that the island hosted only a few international sporting events like tennis and golf."
The Unfriendly Skies of Europe
Indonesian Aircraft Blacklisted from European Airspace.
The European Union has officially banned all Indonesia registered aircraft from landing at airports of their 27-member countries.
While no Indonesian air carrier currently operates a schedule to Europe rendering the injunction to some degree moot, the prohibition, set to take effect from July 6, 2007, may also make mandate that European travel agencies and tour operators stop selling or at least issue formal warnings to Indonesian-bound travelers on holiday packages including flights operated by Indonesian airlines.
Based on recommendations of the European Union Air Safety Committee, the prohibition represents a wholesale condemnation of Indonesian civil aviation for failing to meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards. The European Community sanction follows an April 2007 U.S. warning issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advising its nationals to arrive at Indonesian gateways on foreign air carriers and avoid all Indonesian domestic flights within Indonesia. [See: U.S. Gov't Questions Safety of Indonesian Domestic Air Space].
The U.S. warning followed by days a highly critical internal review of Indonesia's commercial fleet carried out by the Transport Ministry in which no national airline qualified for the top safety rating. That review was prompted by a series of high profile air mishaps resulting in deaths and injuries.
A 3-month follow-up audit released in June by the Transportation Ministry saw Garuda Indonesia move up to the highest safety rating and four other airlines move out of the lowest cautionary category to a middle ranking mandating corrections in procedural and safety reporting protocols. The latest internal Indonesian aviation audit also resulted in the revocation of the operating licenses of four small air operators and the suspension of five other airlines that now have a 3 month grace period to improve safety or face closure.
EU Ban Unfair
Indonesian aviation officials has branded as "premature" the EU prohibition, calling on Europe to rethink its latest ruling. Citing substantial improvements in civil aviation safety standards over the past three months and demonstrated improvements in every area.
An official at the Ministry of Transportation, Budhi Mulyawan Suyitno, blamed the EU ban on a failure to submit safety documentation to the EU before an official deadline. EU officials responded accusing the Indonesian officials of ignoring warnings that a ban was imminent and then showing up in Brussels ill-prepared to argue their case.
The latest blow to Indonesian aviation come only one week after Garuda Indonesia declared its intent to resume service from to Amsterdam sometime in 2008. [See: Garuda Eyeing a Return to Europe].
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