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BALI UPDATE #565 - 09 July 2007

A Million Dollar Monthly Power Bill
Bali State Power Utility Reveals Interesting Facts about Producing and Selling Electrical Power.

Of the more than Rp. 100 billion (approximately US11 million) in electric billings issued each month by the State electrical Board (PLN) in Bali, the biggest single consumer of kilowatts is the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

According to a report from the National News Agency - Antara, the airport's monthly electrical bills amounts to more than US$1 Million or Rp. 10 billion, or nearly 10% of PLN's island business.

PLN estimates they have 700,000 customers in Bali with only 8% of that total qualifying as "large customers" - those with aggregate monthly billings amounting to Rp. 40 billion of total billings to all Bali customers.

Losing Money

PLN estimates that the cost of producing a kilowatt-hour of electricity is Rp. 718 (approximately US$0.079). Meanwhile the selling price of the same kilowatt-hour stands at Rp. 690, resulting in an ongoing operating loss for the State Power Company (PLN).


Big Prizes at Bali 10K on July 29, 2007
Tens of Thousands Expected to Run Through Nusa Dua for 2nd Vitazone-Bali TV 10K Race.

The Vitazone-Bali TV 10K will again be held on Sunday, July 29, 2007 at the Nusa Dua Complex in South Bali.

Participants will have the chance of winning an automobile and electronic goods offered as door prizes, while the winner of the 10K race will be competing for large money purses.

Fun and competition will be the central focus at the race themed "Run with the Stars" to celebrate the performance of leading musical artists planned at race central on the race day,

Organizers have predicted as many as 50,000 runners are expected to participate in the 10K race on Sunday morning, July 29th.


Everyone, All Together Now, Take a Deep Breadth
Editorial: Both Indonesian and European Officials Need to Raise Their Game in the Quest to Achieve a Safe Aviation Policy.

The Indonesian tourism industry suffered another body blow when the EU recently announced its intention to blacklist all Indonesian air carriers; branding the 51 commercial airlines operating in Indonesia as "unsafe" in a single stroke of a tar brush.

Are Indonesian Airlines Really Unsafe?

That a number of Indonesian airlines are falling short of the mark in safety management is not in dispute as evidenced by a rash of recent tragic mishaps and a remarkably courageous and damning public report reviewing the entire industry issued in March by the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation.

However, whether or not the entire Indonesian aviation industry is truly unsafe, as claimed by the EU, is a much more difficult question to answer if we pause to consider the following:

. Despite recent mishaps, Indonesian airlines, including Garuda, do not hold the dubious distinction of causing a record number of air fatalities. A visit to a website tracking airline fatalities [Airline Crash Fatalities] show a large number of other international air carriers have much more lethal histories, including American Airlines, China Airlines, Air India, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Pan Am, Saudi Arabia Airlines, Thai Airways and United Airlines.

. Other statistics that explore fatalities per flown air mile would similarly show that, on a whole, Indonesian airlines do not merit being singled out as anything approaching cavalier on matters of aviation safety.

. The far-reaching decision to generalize and label all Indonesian carriers as "unsafe" apparently was done by the "Eurocrats" in Brussels at a distance without the aid of a direct audit. Jean Breteche, the EU Ambassador to Jakarta, admitted as much in the Jakarta Post this week, saying that the decision to impose "blacklisting" was done after the Indonesian aviation authorities failed to respond to two letters inviting them to air consultation. This statement suggests that the current aviation warning has more to do with pique than any concrete information on the true status of Indonesian aviation.

. Garuda Indonesia operates in conformance with International Aviation Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) standards set forth by the EU's very own International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). For the EU to include Garuda in their current "blacklisting" while at the same time endorsing its IOSA certification is confusing, at best.

While we hope cooler minds will triumph in current discussions in Jakarta seeking retaliatory measure against the EU, it is understandable if, in some quarters, the EU decision is viewed with suspicion and seen as both imperialistic and heavy handed. Given the fact that the decision to "blacklist" Indonesian aviation was made without consultation with the Indonesian authorities, we wonder if a final public warning calling more data before a stated deadline would not have been a more prudent move.

Similarly, statements by ICAO officials attending a conference in Bali this week have also questioned the wisdom of the "blacklisting", terming the EU decision a misunderstanding.

Let's All Take a Deep Breath

Given the current situation, a simple apology from the EU might be in order suggesting their recent statements were premature and unfounded. Such an apology could be paired with a call for an urgent joint review of aviation practice and policy in order to truly determine the state of aviation safety in Indonesia. Such a measured approach would best serve the EU, Indonesia and the flying public.

In retrospect, if there is a bright side to the current imbroglio, it is the refreshing openness with which the Indonesia officials have greeted the banning announcement; offering open access to their national aviation system to both inspectors and safety consultants. In light of this, the proper response from the EU would be an eager acceptance to work with the Indonesians on safety management issues in order to truly guarantee and enhance the safety of their citizens flying in Indonesia's air space.


Smell of the Greasepaint; the Roar of the Crowd
Bali School of Dramatic Arts to Launch First Production of "High School Musical" in Late November. Auditions Slated for August.

High School Musical was one of the most popular made-for-TV musicals presented in 2006 by the Disney Channel. A modern retelling of the Romeo & Juliet theme set in an American high school, the plot revolves around a budding romance between basketball star and an honors student who discover they have a shared interest in performing, singing and perhaps much more. The TV musical has spawned an entire industry of DVDs, souvenir items, fan clubs and at least 2,000 separate professional and amateur productions in 2006.

Bali School of Dramatic Arts

The Bali School of Dramatic Arts (Bali SoDa) has adopted High School Musical as their first production of what is hoped will be a regular series of stage productions featuring local talent in the community.

Established to provide local access to professional trainers and directors, as well as performance opportunities for children and adults in Bali. Bali SoDa's curriculum includes training in acting, singing, and dance for musical theatre under the direction of Nanci Holiday.

Nanci comes to Bali after 35 years in professional theatre. Appearing regularly in summer stock theatre from the age of 12, Nanci studied and taught theatre at Brigham Young University and work professionally as an actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, musical director, stage manager, technical director and Director in the USA, Australia and Japan.

Maria Blasuto serves as the Producer of Bali SoDa schedule of performances.

Starting in August 2007 Bali SoDA will provide classes in Musical Theatre to both children and adults. Their first semester's course offering is "Performing In and Producing a Musical - High School Musical."

Auditions will be held in August with lessons/rehearsals scheduled through November and the show's debut on November 30, 2006.

The musical will be presented in Bali on November 30, December 1, December 7 and December 9.

Singers, dancers, actors, and production team members are sought for the coming production.

For more information and to join Bali SoDa's mailing list contact them via the email link provided.

More information: Bali SoDa Email Contact


Sanur Beach Pollution Drive Continues
Sindhu Breach and Mercure Accor Sanur Hotels Found to be Operating Substandard Waste Management Systems by Local Anti-Pollution Team.

The Coordinating Team for the Control of Pollution (TKP2LH) continues to conduct spot checks on Sanur Hotels suspected of contributing to the pollution of nearby oceans by failing to install and properly operate mandated Waste Management Systems (IPAL).

After issuing warnings to 3 hotels in early June [See: Environmental Warnings Issued to 3 Sanur Hotels], the TKP2LH visited the Mercure Accor Hotel, Sanur and the Hotel Inna Sindhu Beach on Tuesday, July 2, 2007 concluding the waste management systems in place at the two properties was "not representative" and operating below required standards.

According to a report in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, the team led by Yeni Trihandani found that both hotels are still using antiquated absorption systems for the disposal of waste. In the case of the Hotel Inna Sindhu Beach the team found that toilets and kitchen wastes were disposed of in a standard septic tank, typical of an installation at a local home.

A member of the TKP2LH team, I Made Mangku, told the Bali Post that the status of the two waste management systems represent a threat to Sanur's local environment. According to Mangku, tests carried out on the waster water at the Hotel Inna Sindhu Beach were especially concerning, exceeding levels of permissible particulate matter by a factor of 360%. High levels of fats and other organic matter were also detected in the Hotel's waste water effluent.

The General Manager of the Hotel Inna Sindhu Beach, I Made Budiastra, freely admitted to the Bali Post that the hotel does not posses the required waste management systems due, in part, to the building of the hotel's infrastructure pre-dates modern pollution control requirements.

The Chief Engineer of the Mercure Acor Hotel, Sanur admitted to the press that his hotel uses a biofield system using several absorption tanks that, in the event of overflow, are pumped out.


Distant Drums: Jro Gede Suarshana
Local Hotelier and Tour Operator Throws His Hat into the Race to Become Bali's Next Governor.

Dr. Jro Gde Karang T. Suarshana, MBA, the owner of Bali tour operator Suartur and the Bali Tropik Hotel, recently joined the race to be elected Bali's next governor.

Running as an independent, Jro Gede is remaining true to his tourism industry roots, calling for Bali to recover its unique cultural character. One of the founders of Bali Promo - the precursor of the Bali Tourism Board, Jro Gede recently told the Bali Post that Bali's current development has gotten off-track.

Suggesting that God may be unhappy with Bali's current course, Jro Gede wonders if the decision to build a giant statute of the Lord Wisnu at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana site on Bali's southern peninsula was not a "spiritual" mistake. Insisting that tradition and belief dictate Lord Wisnu's statute should be position in a "northern" locale, he is concerned that the bombings in Bali of 2002 and 2005 on one level may represent a consequence of the man-made imbalance created by the monument in the Balinese cosmos.

Calls for a Stop to New Investment

In his comments to the Bali Post, Jro Gede called on the Government to halt new investments in hotels, blaming the tourism industry for turning the Balinese into a race of common laborers.

As an alternative to new hotel investment Jro Gede believes there should be a renewed focus on village-based tourism in order to improve the economic status of the Balinese people. "It doesn't matter if such (village-based) investments have small profits, the dollars produced will go directly to many people," explained the man wishing to be Bali's next governor.

According to the local press, Jro Gede's Bali-oriented and bottom-up approach to economic development is earning his independent candidacy a growing base of popular support.


All Night Long
Local Residents and Accommodation Owners Protest Noise Pollution Along Bali's Night Life Center of Jalan Abimanyu.

Residents living near Seminyak's night life center of Jalan Abimanyu (Jalan Dyanapura) are becoming increasing vocal in protesting the noise pollution created by restaurants and bars catering to tourists.

Made Sukadana, the Chairman of a local neighborhood association, told the Bali Post that his group have protested the nightly din of noise emanating from businesses violating local laws by installing sound systems in open-air areas and playing music until late into the night.

The neighborhood protest was sent in a formal letter to the head of tourism for the Badung Regency. Sukadana said that they are waiting for a response from the Regency government before mapping out their next step to regain some peace and quiet in their daily lives.

According to Sukadana, local businesses violating local noise laws are a reoccurring problem on Jalan Abimanyu. Crackdown on businesses violating the rules result in short periods of quiet before the businesses return to the former ear-splitting practices. Sukadana, a lawyer by training, contends that many of the noise violators are operating illegally and exceeding their permits as bar and restaurants by conducting noisy parties on a nightly basis.

In a new development, local residents protesting the noise produced by partygoers have been joined by local hotels and villas near Jalan Abimanyu where guests are complaining that the noise is interrupting a good night's sleep.


'You Make Me Feel Like Dancing' - Inspiring Children Through Dance
A group of Young Balinese Dancers in New York to attend National Dance Institute Summer Program.

10 young Balinese dancers - led by two of Bali's senior artists Nyoman Sura and I Made Wiritani - have just arrived in New York City to participate in the Irene Diamond Summer Institute at the National Dance Institute (NDI).

The NDI was founded in 1976 by dance legend Jacques d'Amboise to facilitate in-school workshops and public performances. [National Dance Institute]

A former principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, Jacques d'Amboise believes that the arts have the power to engage and motivate individuals towards excellence. Today, the work of the National Dance Institute is internationally recognized for its services to the Arts and dance, and is the recipient of numerous awards. D'Amboise and his work at NDI was the subject of an Academy Award-winning PBS documentary film "He Makes Me Feel Like Dancing."

The young Balinese dancers will spend the entire month of August exploring and sharing classical and contemporary dance forms and sharing Balinese dances with other young dancers in New York City.

Shown on balidiscovery.com are pictures provided by Angel Gardner of the NDI showing the Balinese dancers hard at play in New York.

Travel arrangements for the Balinese delegation attending the Irene Diamond Summer Institute were facilitated by Iwata Tours and Travel and Bali Discovery Tours.

Click Images to enlarge




Bali's Yak Awards for 2007
Bali Leading Life Style Magazine Recognizes the Island's Movers, Shakers and Shapers.

Bali's popular luxury lifestyle magazine The Yak/The Bud celebrated its third annual awards program recognizing Bali's movers and shakers on June 2007. Held at the Sentosa Private Villas and Spa, the evening of awards and entertainment saw Bali's leading club owners, restaurateurs, business owners, advertisers and island entertainers attending the event en force.

Free flow drinks from Absolut Vodka, Moet & Chandon and Indowines were accompanied by guest mixologists from Bar Solutions who fashioned special signature Yak Welcome Drinks to mark the occasion. Canapés were sponsored by Bali Catering Company, Conrad Bali Resort and Spa, La Sal, Loloan Restaurant, Lotus Distribution, Ku De Ta, Marinelli Shellfish Co, The Balé, Blossom and Wah Wah. A resort champagne tent was sponsored by Nomade Esprite of Ubud.

Those selected to be honored at this year's award ceremony were "informally" elected via an on-line voting process at [www.theyakmag.com].

Several of the award recipients at this year's ceremonies garnered multiple awards: Sentosa Private Villas and Spa won for the categories Best Villa and Best Newcomer (person or business); while Como Shambhala Estate won for the categories of Resort of the Year and Best Ubud Hotel.

Similarly, Ku De Ta won three awards as Bar of the Year, Best Sunset Venue and Best Annual Event (Ku De Ta Summer Parties). Body & Soul also collected three awards for Best Retail Space, Yak Woman of the Year and Ad Campaign of the Year.

Other winners were Ian Macaulay for Yak Man of the Year, Ritz Carlton Bali Resort & Spa for Best Spa, Stevie G as DJ of the Year, Oka d'Putra as Fashion Designer of the Year, Chris Miller from Como Shambhala Estate/Uma Ubud as Chef of the Year, Linda Buller - BARC (Dog Rehabilitation) for Best Community Services Award, Naughty Nuri's as Best Ubud Bar, Ubud Botanical Gardens as Best Ubud Attraction, and the Congeniality Award went to Goestamar Ardibrata of Bali & Beyond.

One of the highlights of the Yak Awards was the YAK ice bar in the Sentosa Spa, where vodka infused shots were funneled directly into guests' mouths. Nearby dozens of iced oysters were being served by Marinelli Shellfish & Co. Oyster Bar.

The evening also included performances by Japanese saxophonist Chika and the As One Band, Arash Atman (Electronic Soundscapes Records(Greece), David Dobson (Hikari / NZ), and DJ Stevie G (G-Force). An unplugged performance with DJ SuperCozi on vocals with material from her latest CD, "Dari Bali," treated guests to a one-of-a-kind Cozi show, backed by soloist Marilyn, Gus on keyboards and John on lead guitar.

Special guests from Papua provided a memorable performance of live tribal music. A laser performance by Boots with visuals by VJ Randoman rounded out the exciting entertainment of the awards party.

The event was organized by The Yak and Pro Motion Events.

As shown on balidiscovery.com, pictures of a night to remember featuring the many guests attending the 2007 Yak Awards.

Click Images to Enlarge




70% of Bali Villas Illegal
More on the Ongoing Crackdown on an Estimated 458 Illegal Villas Now Operating in Bali's Badung Regency.

Tempo Interaktif reports that an estimated 70% of villas in Bali operated commercially do not have the required permits and licenses. In the Regency of Badung, where most villa development is centered, only 253, or approximately 35%, of the 711 villas recently surveyed can be considered legal operations.

The Head of the Government Tourism Service for Badung Regency, Made Subawa, told Tempo that illegal villas were causing losses in local tax revenues and that his office was now involved in an "intensive crackdown" on illegal villas.

A memorandum issued in May by the Regent of Badung, A.A. Agung, gave an absolute deadline of August 29, 2007 for completion of the "fast-track" registration and legalization of wayward villas without fear of undue sanctions. That same memo underlined that some illegal villas, such as those built in designated green zones, would not be legitimized and would eventually be slated for demolition.

Subawa said that the illegal villa owners were generally taking advantage of the current grace period, with 2-3 villas completing the application process each day. The Badung tourism boss is confident that the current process will result in substantial increases in local hotel and restaurant taxes, worth an estimated Rp. 250 billion (approximately US28 million) in 2006.

Current regulations allow simple registration of villas with less than 5 rooms to gain certification as "tourism cottages" or "Pondok Wisata."

The Chairman of the Bali Villa Association BVA, Ismoyo S. Soemarlin, has stated his support for the Badung Regent's campaign to rationalize the registration of commercial villas.

Ismoyo is also hopeful that the formal registration of villas will allow an eventual standardization of service standards among villa operators.

Ismoyo told Tempo that while many operators of illegal villas claim their villas are private residences, it is relatively easy to track down those villas being operated commercially via their promotion on the Internet and through the first-hand observations of local banjars.

The BVA Chairman said that the growing demand for villa accommodation in Bali makes regulations to control this sector increasingly important. Research carried out by the BVA shows that occupancy rates at villas continue to climb, with an estimated 25% of all foreign visitors expected to stay at villas in 2007.


Garuda Complies with IATA Safety Standards
Indonesian National Carrier Renewing its IATA Safety Certification.

On July 4, 2007, Tempo Interaktif reported Garuda Indonesia is in the process of renewing its certficaton for compliance with the strict safety standards of the International Aviation Transport Association (IATA). According to Tempo, the national airline has already met 95% of the standards of the International Aviation Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), scheduled to be carried out in August.

Garuda's current IOSA certification remains in place and will expire at the end of this year. The successful completion of the August audit will allow the renewal of the IOSA certification enjoyed by the Indonesian flag carrier.

IOSA represents a global standard for the safety management of aviation based on the standards set forth on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

According to a Garuda spokesman, the IOSA continuing certification will also be used to lobby the European Union to cancel their plans to "blacklist" Garuda and all other Indonesian airlines from European airspace.

As widely reported in the international press, the European Commission announced their intention to "blacklist" all Indonesian registered aircraft from operating in European airspace effective July 6 2007. In the view of the EU, Indonesian aircraft fail to meet minimal safety standards and all Indonesian civil aviation authorities are deemed to be failing in the safety management of the 51 commercial airlines flying in the Country.

Other Indonesian airlines, including Adam Air, are also taking the necessary steps to obtain IOSA certification. To ensure a successful safety audit, Adam Air has contracted the services of internationally-renowned Marsh Avation to guide them through the exactring audit process.


The Abuse of Indonesia's Poor
Bangkok Post Article by Imtiaz Muqbil Explores How EU's Blacklisting of Indonesian Airlines will Harm the Poor.

The following article, taken from the July 2, 2007 edition of The Bangkok Post, looks at how the EU blacklisting of all Indonesian airlines will have a devastating effect on the Republic's poor.

ER Ban Will Harm Indonesia's Poor - by Imtiaz Muqbil

Indonesian aviation and tourism authorities" have been put on the defensive by last week's European Union ban on Indonesian airlines, but they are beginning to question the timing, methodology and motivation of the move. Although the initial reaction has been to plead their case before the EU Transport Commission and cite the various measures to boost safety of the Indonesian airlines, some senior officials are taking a more cynical attitude.

In an interview with the Jakarta Post, Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI) chairman Bambang Susantono expressed skepticism about how the commission's experts arrived at their conclusions.

"I don't remember them coming here to inspect the airlines directly," he said, adding that information for the report may have come from pilots flying in and out of Jakarta.

Garuda Indonesia's vice-president for operations, Ari Sapari, told Indonesian TV that the ban "has followed an uncommon procedure" as the "EU has never audited Indonesian airlines." By contrast, American aviation authorities have "done their own audit before making their assessments and American authorities have not banned Indonesian airlines," he said.

Another report quoted Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) executive director Sudaryatno as saying: "We must also look at this from the perspective of the saturated markets that exist in the developed world. We must be careful as this ban could be part of a strategic plan to ruin the reputation of local airlines so that foreign airlines can get a foothold in this country."

He added: "Soekarno Hatta Airport (Jakarta) and Ngurah Rai Airport (Bali) are no longer gateways to Indonesia. They have been replaced by Singapore's Changi. The situation could worsen if the stakeholders in the industry do not take the necessary steps."

Indonesia was apparently too late to include the latest assessments of an audit that noted significant improvements made by Indonesian operators during the past three months, to be included in the EU Commission report, despite efforts having been made to do so, explained director-general for Air Transportation, Budhi Suyitno, to the press.

Although the ban is only applicable to Indonesian airlines flying to Europe, it sends a wider message. Insurance companies, too, may not cover EU passengers traveling on Indonesian flights, or be legally entitled to refuse payouts in the event of a mishap.

Interestingly, the ban came just before a four-day strategic seminar on aviation safety to be held this week in Bali, beginning today.

The seminar would include a one-day session on "International Agencies Assistance Framework" at which donors and aid agencies from developed countries outline how to fund safety-upgrade programmes for Indonesian aviation skies, thus making Indonesia more dependent on financial and technical handouts from abroad.

The ban also comes three months before Bali hosts the annual travel mart of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) between Sept 28-30 this year to which nearly all buyers and sellers would be flying on Indonesian airlines.

Although PATA has been trying to position itself as a champion of aviation liberalization in the Asia-Pacific, there was no response to the ban on the PATAwebsite. It was left up to Indonesia Digest editor Tuti Sunario, a former senior official of the Indonesian Tourism Ministry to defend the interests of the tourism industry. She wrote in her weekly newsletter last week:

"The Tourist Industry ... sees the EU ban as another threat to international confidence in Indonesia's tourism," especially as the market has just "sufficiently recovered from the fear of terrorism."

"Europe and European tourists form a very important market for Indonesia," Mrs. Sunario wrote.

European tourists stay between 15-18 days in Indonesia, visiting many regions and spending an average of US$1,450 per person per stay, compared to Asian visitors who stay an average of 5-8 days and spend an average of $500 (Singaporeans) to $838 (Japanese) per stay.

"With stagnation in the number of European tourists, regions that will suffer most are the poor, outlying traditional villages."

She added: "The European ban ... will in the end thwart those very efforts that Europe -and Indonesia - both wish to foster, which are the preservation of culture, sustainable environment and the alleviation of poverty through the development of tourism."

Imtiaz Muqbil is executive editor of Travel Impact Newswire, an e-mailed feature and analysis service focusing on the Asia-Pacific travel industry.


 
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