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"Please pass on my appreciation to Gun, Mawa, Budi and the rest of the team. They were all extremely professional, friendly and helpful and the group really appreciated it. I look forward to running our next group together and seeing you in Bali in the not too distant future."
On a year-to-date cumulative basis, the total January-July visitor total of 910,567 represents the best 7-month start to any year in the history of Bali tourism and virtually assured the critical 1 million mark would be surpassed in August. If bird flu, travel warnings and aviation advisories do not have an overly deleterious effect on the pace of arrivals and Bali maintains its current +34.98% improvement over 2006's performance through the end of the year, that will translate into total foreign arrivals approaching 1.7 million for 2007.
Japan - a January-July YTD total of 191,961 is +46.7% ahead of the same period in 2006 and only -7.7% behind the record 207,030 Japanese visitors achieved in 2000.
Australia is clearly on the comeback trail, improving +53.41% over 2006 for the period January-July, but still lagging -33.6% behind the heyday for Australian visitors when January-July 2005 arrivals hit 160,124.
Taiwan - Visitor patterns ex Taiwan are more-or-less on a par with last year, but -21.8% behind the recrod heights achieved in 2004.
South Korea - Boldly improving +72.5% over the January-July figures for 2006, South Koreans are now visiting at record levels.
Peoples Republic of China - Easier visas and improving flight access from China have boosted arrivals +104.9% over the first seven months of 2006. In the span of just 7 years PRC visitors have risen from "near zero" levels to major market status for Bali.
With the exception of France, the Netherlands and Russia each performing in record territory, the story from Europe and the Americas is one of steady growth but arrival performance that still lags behind the heyday of European and American arrivals set in 2001.
The Americas - Comprised of visitors from both North and South America, figures are up +19.3% for January-July 2007, but still lagging -30.1% from the total achieved in 2001.
United Kingdom - Also improving +8.5% for the first seven months of 2007, U.K. visitors are still -45.7% behind what they were in 2001.
Germany - is also up YTD by +6.8%, but -25.2% behind the same period in 2001.
France - Improving +16.18% in the current year, the French are now visiting Bali in record numbers.
The Netherlands - Mirroring the strong performance of their French neighbors, the Netherlands is up a dramatic +37.83% over 2006 and setting new records for visitors from that market.
Russia - easier visas and convenient flight connections to Bali from Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines are spelling all the difference - allowing a +70.4% improvement in Russian visitors to Bali, making the Russians a major source market to Bali.
'Bali Eye' - Hot Air Balloon Rides Now Available at Nusa Dua.
Bali's newest addition in a long list of interesting attractions is an exciting hot air balloon experience high above the Nusa Dua Peninsula.
Bali Eye is an eye-opening 10-15 minute hot air balloon experience providing breathtaking views of Bali's southern shores, the east and west coasts of the island and, on a clear day, majestic Mt. Agung.
There's little chance of floating away to distant shores as the balloon is firmly tethered at all times to its launch station where passengers board, are allowed to float up hundreds of feet into the sky and finally reeled back to earth at the conclusion of the ride.
Professionally operated, all passengers are covered by a US$50,000 insurance cover.
The Cost? Only US$ 15 for adults and US$10 for children.
To book and obtain a special introductory price, following the link provided.
Ayodya Resort Bali Celebrates its First Anniversary with a Fun Bike Ride with Lots of Prizes on September 9, 2007.
Ayodya Resort Bali is marking the first anniversary of its re-branding (formerly the Bali Hilton) with a massive bike tour on Sunday, September 9, 2007.
Ayodya Fun Bike 2007
Starting at 7:00 a.m. from the parking area of Serangan Island (entrance to island, opposite Makro), participants will follow the Bypass to Simpang Siur, turning south and passing the airport. The tour ends at Nusa Dua's peninsula where leading musicians, dancers and singers will provide non-stop entertainment.
Prizes to be Won!
Prizes will be given to clubs participating in the tour while all participants are eligible for a range of amazing prizes including:
A Suzuki Karimun Estillo Automobile
Suzuki Spin Motorcycle
There are other exciting prizes to be drawn and given to participants. Applicable taxes for prize winners are the responsibility of the recipient.
How to Join
Participants must pay a registration fee of Rp. 25,000 (approximately US$2.70), which includes an event T-shirt and mineral water.
For more information or to register, contact:
The organizers at ++62-(0)361-771102 (extension #4213 or #4218).
Roda Link - Jalan Teuku Umar 91, Denpasar ++62-(0)361-241537.
Classic Balinese Dance and Gamelan at Mercure Resort Sanur
On Alternating Mondays, Mekar Bhuana Dancers and Gamelan in Rare Classical Presentations of the Island's Music and Dance.
Demonstrating an admirable commitment to the people of Bali and their culture, the Mercure Resort Sanur is hosting a weekly performance by one of Bali's leading classical gamelan and dance groups - Mekar Bhuana [Mekar Bhuana Website].
For an initial period of three months, performing on alternate Monday evenings starting from August 27, 2007, the Mekar Bhuana troupe will appear on the Resort's Garden Stage starting at 7:30 p.m..
Performance engagements are a central part of conservation efforts by the Sanur-based Mekar Bhuana Association to preserve Balinese classical gamelan and dance. All dances are accompanied by an antique court semara pagulingan orchestra, the repertoire of which is based on more than 10 years' exhaustive research by Mekar Bhuana.
Guests staying at the Mercure Resort Sanur will have the special added bonus of watching the orchestra and dancers in rehearsals held each Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.. Meanwhile, those attending the Monday night dance performances will be given an informative pamphlet on gamelan and Balinese dance and, following each performance, have the opportunity to meet the dancers and orchestra and try their hand at playing an antique gamelan.
Click Images to Enlarge
Mekar Bhuana Association Balinese Dance and Gamelan Performance
August 27; September 10 & 24; October 8 & 22; November 5 & 19
GOH Presents Awards to its Best Performing Bali Travel Products.
Garuda Orient Holiday (GOH), the travel wholesaler of Garuda in Australia, traveled to Bali to host a "thank you" cocktail for Bali travel suppliers at the Prana Restaurant and Spa in Seminyak on Friday, August 24, 2007.
During a cocktail attended by the Island's leading hoteliers, Garuda's senior managers in Bali and Australia, and Garuda Orient Holiday representatives, awards were given to the travel wholesaler's best-selling travel products in Bali:
Best Budget Hotel - Garden View Cottages
Best Moderate Class Hotel - Jayakarta Hotel
Best First Class Hotel - Bali Dynasty Resort
Best Deluxe Hotel - Patra Bali Resort
Best Luxury Hotel - The Westin
Best Boutique Property - Bali Niksoma
Bets Activity - Bali Adventure Tours
People's Choice Award - The Villas
Highest Overall - Melasti Resort
Shown on balidiscovery.com are Nick Deacock, Product Manager, GOH and Garuda's Regional General Manager, Southwest Pacific, Suranto Yitnopawiro.
Bali Bird Flu Update #2
Government Tightens Counter-Measures as Bali Records its Second Bird Flu Fatality. Risk to Island's Tourist Visitors Remains 'Miniscule.'
Despite a range of preventative steps taken by Bali's leaders to prevent the spread of H5N1 Avian Flu among the Island's human population. [See: Bali Bird Flu Update #1], Bali recorded its second death positively linked to the disease in less than a month. On August 20, 2007, a 28-year-old Tabanan woman, Ni Putu Ayu Sri N, died from the disease. Both the latest victim and the woman who died 10 days earlier, worked and lived in close proximity to a poultry population in which a large number of chickens were killed by the virus.
The latest death in Bali brings the death toll in Indonesia from Avian Bird Flu to 84 among a reported 105 known infections.
In the latest recent developments regarding Bird Flu in Bali:
Authorities have place an absolute embargo on poultry imports from Java, causing a virtual collapse in the poultry industry in East Java.
A World Health Organization (WHO) team in cooperation with Indonesian health officials have arrived on the scene of the latest deaths to coordinate disease control measures and take blood samples from both the human and poultry populations in the area.
Strict sanitation measures and disinfecting spraying continue in the home areas of the two dieceased women and in any area where new "suspected" cases are found. Twice daily spraying of antiseptic solutions have been introduced at Bali's main bird market.
The government has introduced a program of compensation for poultry owners compelled to destroy their birds to help control the spread of the disease.
Gede Nurjaya, the Head of Bali's Tourism Authority has told the press that there has been no perceptible decrease in tourist arrivals to Bali following the recent H5N1 outbreak, while stressing the need for clear and accurate information on the steps being undertaken by the government to control the disease.
All confirmed and suspected cases of bird flu in Bali trace back to individuals working or living in close proximity to infected bird populations. Disease control experts have yet to find any evidence suggesting a human-to-human contagion chain. As a result, as reported in the latest edition of Time Magazine - "the chances of contracting the disease remain minuscule."
Minister Wacik Calls for US$57.3 Million Tourism Promotion Budget
Wacik Bullish that 6 Million Visitors will Visit in Current Year and 7 Million in 2008.
Metro TV reports that Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik has called on the government to allocate 6 per targeted foreign visitor in 2008 for tourism promotion or the equivalent of 42 Million (approximately US$57.3 million).
Speaking in Jakarta on Wednesday, August 22, 2007, the Minister proclaimed a target of 7 million foreign visitors to Indonesia for 2008, a year his Department has proclaimed as Visit Indonesia Year.
Encouraged by an overall growth rate of 12% nationwide in tourist visitors, the Minister reported that around 5,000 visitors are arriving each day in Bali, a figure much higher than last year. Because of this, he remains confident that a target of 6 million visitors can be achieved in the current year.
Kuta Karnival Schedule Announced
Fifth Kuta Karnival Offers 9 Days on Non-Stop Fun and Entertainment in Bali.
The fifth annual Kuta Karnivall will be held September 1-9, 2007, and, as in years past, will offer a fun-filled schedule of concerts, sports, food, and drink along the entire length of Bali's most popular beachfront.
Organizers have adopted Bali's new branding of Shanti Shanti Shanti" as the organizing point for the 9-day festival which celebrates Kuta's undying spirit, unity and dedication to peace. I Made Saputra Karang, the Chairman of the Kuta Karnival committee told the Indonesian-language DenPost, "We wish to continue to proclaim and champion the spirit of unity, rich diversity and peace of the Kuta community throughout the festival."
Schedule of Events
Here's the busy program of events for this year's Kuta Karnival:
Saturday, September 1, 2007
10.00 - 22.00 Suzuki Music Festival - Main Stage Kuta Beach
10:00 22:00 Suzuki New Model Launch & Music Festival - Main Stage Halfway Kuta Beach.
10:00-22:00 Bali Islamic Festival - Discovery Shopping Mall.
15:00 21:00 Element Street Competition - Base Skate Park.
13:00 22:00 Food Festival and Stage Performance Legian Beach. 50 Bali restaurants offer food plus live entertainment on stage!
15:00 19:00 Kuta Karnival Closing Ceremony and Grand Parade - A Kuta Karnival tradition with over 2,000 participants expected.
Indonesia Tourism Seeking Sales at PATA Mart 2007
Record Number of Buyers and Sellers Registered to Attend Major Travel Show in Bali September 25-28, 2007.
Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik is estimating that US$500 million of travel contracts will be concluded at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart to be held at Nusa Dua September 25-28, 2007. Of that total, Minister Wacik is eying a US$60 million share for Indonesian travel companies.
Speaking to the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Wacik said: "As the host we hope to maximize the number of potential and actual sales. To achieve this Indonesia will showcase all its individual travel products emphasizing our excellent quality, service and price."
The man in charge of tourism in Indonesia lauded PATA Mart as having the potential to bring financial benefit to the Nation while at the same time enhancing the overall image of Indonesia. Wacik also praised the major travel mart as playing a pivotal role in Indonesia's desire to grow its total tourist arrivals.
According to Wacik, over 1,500 travel professionals are expected to attend the Bali travel show with 428 buyers from around the world already registered to come to Bali. They will meet and negotiate travel transactions with 789 sellers from 38 countries who have rented sales stands for the Bali mart to be held at the Bali International Convention Centre.As an added bonus in exposing Indonesian travel to the world, some 49 leading journalists from 19 countries are also registered to be on hand at PATA Mart.
Little Concern with Bird Flu and Travel Warnings
When asked if fears regarding bird flu will threaten the success of the PATA Travel Mart, the Minister discounted the possibility pointing out that no cancellations have been received from either buyers or sellers and that the current total of 423 buyers exceeds the targeted number of 353 buyers by a factor of 20%.
When Indonesia's Director-General of Tourism Marketing, Thamrin B. Bachri, was asked if travel warnings and EU aviation warnings would somehow diminish the success of the major travel event being held in Bali he discounted any negative effect, pointing out that those countries with negative travel warnings for Indonesia numbered delegations in the top ten of all countries participating at PATA Travel Mart in Bali.
Bali's Jailhouse Blues
Despite Serious Overcrowding, There's Little Hope of Promised New Prison Facilities in Bali.
The Indonesian-language Bali Post reports that there's little hope in sight when it comes to relieving the severely over-crowded conditions at Bali's penitentiaries.
Long-standing attempts to build a new prison facility in Bali have been frustrated by the difficulties of finding a suitable location and the high cost of land. Added to these difficulties is the reluctance of local communities in Bali to have a prison complex built in close proximity to their homes.
Meanwhile, the central government in Jakarta have targeted for 10 new prisons to be built across Indonesia, with Bali's prison system which has a high percentage of foreign inmates given a high priority under the new-building plan.
Overcrowding at Kerobakan Acute
Quoted in the Bali Post, the Warden of the Kerobokan prison, Ilham Djaya, confirmed the severe overcrowding at his facility where the current 900 inmates exceeds its design capacity of 360 prisoners by 250%. Explained Ilham: "Almost every prison block is full. Although the condition is of great concern, there is little we can do. This is the reality we confront."
With little hope of a new prison facility being built in the near future, efforts are underway to improve sanitary conditions at the prison and increase the segregate the handling of male, female and drug addicted prisoners.
Most Bali Villa's Ignoring Registration Deadline
Government Officials Threaten Closure of Commercial Villas Having No Operating Licenses.
On the eve of the August 29, 2007, deadline for formal registration of commercial villas in the Badung Regency of Bali it appears that hundred of villas have chosen to brazenly ignore the "grace period" for easy registration and are bracing to see if official threats to crackdown on errant villa operators will materialize.
According to the Indonesian-language NusaBali, 485 of the estimated total of 711 commercial villas operating in Badung have ignored the Regent's decree (No. 22 of 2007) and made no move to register despite promises by local authorities take a number of steps including formal warnings, closure and even the demolition of illegal villas. The Secretary of the Badung Regency, I Wayan Subawa, told the press on August 22, 2007, that "strong action against unlicensed villas will be undertaken by a judicial team comprised of representatives from a number of government departments."
A Taxing Situation
An official of the Badung tax office reports that for the period January-May 2007 that only 219 of an estimated 649 commercial villas are paying any taxes. As a result tax revenues from that that sector of Rp. 5.6 billion (approximately US$604,500) during the first six months of 2006 stood at only Rp. 1.8 billion for the period January-May 2007 (approximately US$193,000).
The head of the revenue section of the Badung Regency, I Gusti Agung Ngurah Alit Agung, complained that "of the 649 (sic) villas in Badung, only 219 have paid any taxes."
Hiding Behind Villa Management Companies
In a separate article in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Bali, an official of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) who is also a villa operator warned that many villa owners are making the tactical mistake of ignoring warnings to register their properties, claiming that all administrative details relating to their villas are handled by their villa management company.
The official warned that "all individual villas must have permits" allowing them to operate as rented accommodation and that "umbrella permits" for villas operated under a specific villa management company simply do not exist.
The PHRI official supported the promised coming crackdown on illegal commercial villas and the management companies who manage them.
Indonesian Government Grants Permission for Foreign Pilots to Work with National Air Carriers.
In a step to alleviate the shortage of qualified pilots, Indonesia's Department of Civil Aviation is granting foreign pilots the opportunity to work for Indonesian airlines.
Speaking to the Indonesian language Bisnis Indonesia, the Director General of Air Communications, Budhi M. Suyitno said that priority (in the granting of work permits) would be given to foreign pilots flying wide-bodied aircraft on international routes. Speaking at an aviation seminar in Jakarta, Suyitno said "scheduled airlines and charter operators can now hire foreign pilots because many Indonesian pilots have chosen to work overseas."
Suyitno explained that the granting of permission to y employ foreign pilots has been coordinated with the Department of Manpower and the Indonesian aviation community. The step to allow foreign pilots is in response to a an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) finding that Indonesia needed its pool of qualified pilots.
Suyitno was quick to point out that the current shortage of qualified pilots was not unique to Indonesia and reflected a world-wide situation as evidenced by the recent cancellation of flights by Northwest Airlines due to an insufficient pool of pilots.
The Secretary-General of the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACCA), Tengku Burhanuddin, cautioned that the new policy allowing the employment of foreign pilots must be closely monitored to avoid backlash resulting from the large disparities in the amounts paid to local and foreign pilots. At the same time Burhanuddin understands the compelling reasons for the new policy and the need for a supply of foreign pilots while domestic flight academies train highly qualified Indonesian pilots.
Data for the Curug Flight School in West Java indicate that requests for new pilots over the past year total 535, while only 45 new pilots were graduated in the same period. To help fill this gap Garuda Indonesia is reportedly in discussions with foreign flight academies to establish a flight training center in Indonesia.
The links below provide access to the graphical version of the Bali Update.