Bali by the Numbers: October Foreign Arrivals Up +30.2% Over 2006.
Preliminary Bali international arrival figures for October 2007 indicate another record month with 146,699 arrivals - a +30.2% increase over October 2006 when 112,696 foreign visitors landed in Bali.
If these figures are confirmed by final arrival numbers due to arrive in the coming week, October 2007 saw Bali tourism break new ground, "besting" by +14.2% the previous highest October in 2004 when 128,399 foreign visitors came to Bali.
The latest arrival figures for October bring year-to-date arrivals total to 1,380,125 with two months still remaining in the year. With arrivals running +34.44% ahead of last year, Bali remains firmly on track to hit the 1.7 million foreign arrivals for 2007 predicted by balidiscover.com in August 2007.
Running out of Runway in Bali
Growing Concern that Bali's Master Plan for Airport Development is Badly Out of Synch with the Future Needs of Bali's Tourism Industry.
PT Angkasa Pura I, the managers of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport, surprised a meeting of local planners and regency officials on November 5, 2007 when they revealed current airport development plans only contemplate a runway extension sometime after the year 2025.
Quoting Angkasa Pura's aviation consultants, the current thinking is that Bali's single runway of 3,000 meters in length and 45 meters in width "is sufficient to land a Boeing 747 carrying 400 passengers and a full load of fuel."
Missing the Point
Such a statement from "expert consultants" is raising eyebrows on several levels:
. On the most basic level, such a statement as reported in Nusa Bali holds the expertise of the consultants in some suspicion. Airplanes never land with full loads of fuel, because, on a very practical level, fuel is burnt during any flight. In instances where a newly departed aircraft must return to its originating airport for emergency reasons, fuel is typically burnt off or pumped off before a landing is permitted.
. A newer generation B747-400 fully fueled and fully loaded needs 3,018 meters of runway. Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport has only 3,000 meters of runway. For this reason, B747s departing from Bali cannot be fully fueled and are therefore unable to undertake long-haul flights without doing an intermediate fuel stop at a regional airport, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.
. A B777-300 at maximum take-off weight needs 3,410 meters of runway or 400 meters more than Bali's airport can offer.
. The Airbus 380 also need more than 3,000 meters of runway (and a 60 meter runway width) to operate.
The airport development plans presented by Angkasa Pura focus on expanding terminal facilities and increasing apron areas between now and 2025.
At the recent meeting, Angkasa Pura's manager for Bali, I Nyoman Suwetja Putra, expressed the thought that a long delay in expanding Bali's runway will cause the island to lose market share among international air travelers, currently increasing at an average rate of 20 percent per annum. If that rate of growth continues, Bali's airport will be handling an average 23,000 passengers every day by 2025, an eight-fold increase from current levels of passenger traffic.
Hush, My Darling, Don't Fear - The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Indonesian Airline Looks to be a Cat with A Sizeable Appetite for Buying Up Other Carriers in the Region.
After placing one of the largest orders in history for 122 new Boeing 737-900ER in 2006, Indonesia upstart airline Lion Air is publicly stating its regional ambitions for bigger things.
Lion Air has told the press that they have plans for airline acquisitions in Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam. To this end, according to the Public Relations Manager of Lion Air, Hasyim Arsal Alhabsi, amounts of between US$50-100 million per new airline acquisition have been set aside for expenditure in early 2008.
In a business plan successfully pioneered by rival Air Asia, Lion Air hopes to gain immediate access to lucrative domestic markets in each of the targeted countries and the related "feeder" potential offered by an integrated regional air network.
Lion Air told Kompas that they are also open to establishing new "start up" airlines in neighboring countries, but much prefer the acquisition of carriers already in operation.
Lion Air plans to deploy its large number of new aircraft on its Indonesian routes and the route of the soon-to-be-acquired other airlines in the region. Of the 122 airplanes on order - 7 have been delivered in 2007; 12 will arrive in 2008; 14 more planes come on line in 2009; 14 in 2010; 24 in 2011; 36 in 2012 and the remaining 15 in 2012.
5 Will Get You 10 That Bali Will Thwart Current Efforts to Establish a Casino in Bali.
Highly controversial plans to open a casino in Bali at the location of the former Bali Cliff Resort surfaced recently with reports in the local press that local law enforcement officials and lawmakers were reportedly "studying" such a plan.
According the Radar Bali, Nengah Netra, a Balinese living in Ungasan, not far from the Bali Cliff Resort, says he has been appointed to establish an integrated international entertainment business in Bali by a local company PT. Lumba Indocas Jaya. The Company, which reportedly holds a "principal agreement" issued by the former Regent of Bandung in 2001, sought to form a cooperative venture with the Bali Cliff Resort that would offer electronic games of bridge, baccarat, black jack, poker, slot machines, roulette, keno and Internet Sports games in Bali.
Netra told Radar Bali that because these gaming amusements would be offered in a members only night club atmosphere with a focus on "the arts," such activities should not be considered gambling.
The Plot Thickens
Netra was reportedly unable to organize the special operating permits and other licenses needed to open the integrated international entertainment center causing the original "principal permission" to expire in June 2004. According to Radar Bali, Rp. 2 billion (US$217,000) was spent in processing fees and non-receipted payments to local officials in an effort to obtain the required permitsn to open the facility.
Netra also claims that he reached an agreement with a Vice-Regent of Badung Regency in August 2007 to sell his principal permissions together with of supporting alleged letters of recommendation from the Majelis Ulama Indonesia, the Minister of Fisheries, the Minister of Culture and Tourism and the Tax Office for Rp. 2 billion.
Although Netra does not have a signed agreement with the Vice-Regent for the alleged transfer of the project, he has nonetheless made a formal complaint with the Bali Police claiming damages in connection with the failure of the Vice-Regent to pay up.
The Vice-Regent, Ketut Sudikerta, has consistently denied his involvement in any such transaction and subsequent investigations by the police have thus far absolved Sudikerta of any wrongdoing. Moreover, Bali's Chief of Police recently praised and thanked Badung's Administrators for upholding the law and not granting permits for the building of a casino in Bali.
Just Say "No" to Casinos!
Press coverage of the involved dealings surrounding efforts to build a casino in south Bali has awoken a renewed round of widespread condemnation from local community leaders.
. Bali's Tourism Authority Chief, Gede Nurjaya, has warned investors not to "play around" with permits by quietly misusing permits to convert hotels into casinos. Saying casinos are against both national law and the basic spiritual nature of Bali, Nurjaya warned that those trying to outwit the laws against gambling should be reading to receive all the legal and spiritual consequences of such actions.
. Ray Suryawijaya, the Vice-Chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) told the Bali Post that casino operations in Bali cannot be tolerated, particularly in close proximity to Bali's sacred temple of Uluwatu.
. A senior lecturer in tourism in Bali, Gde Wijana, urged all involved to think "a thousand times" before establishing casinos in Bali which he views as a complete affront to Bali's commitment to develop cultural and spiritual tourism. Saying he could see no positive contribution a casino would bring to the people of Bali, Wijana questioned how police would justify their strong actions against cockfights and small-scale number rackets in Bali if a large-scale gambling operation were allowed to operate freely on the Island.
. I Gusti Bagus Yudhara, the former Chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) said the fight against casinos in Bali must become a "do or die proposition" ("harga mati") insisting there must be no compromise with those trying to establish a gambling industry on the Island.
. Bali Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Purwoko has said that his department has no interest in "studying" the feasibility of casiono operations in Bali, as the law is very clear on the subject: gambling is not allowed under Indonesian law.
. Recalling the shutdown by police of a gambling center replete with an entire range of illegal gambling paraphernalia on the top floor of Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel in July 2005, local community leaders are urging the police to sweep the remote and "closed" Bali Cliff Resort site to ensure no illegal gambling activities are taking place at the location.
A Crew Change at Garuda Indonesia
Major Management Changes at the Top of Garuda Indonesia.
The Minister for State Owned Enterprises, A. Djalil, announced major changes in the composition of Garuda Indonesia's directors at an extraordinary meeting of the Company's shareholders held in Jakarta on Wednesday, November 7, 2007.
The three new directors represent one veteran Garuda worker and two talented executives drawn from leading private companies.
Following the most recent appointments, here's the current line-up of the people in charge at Garuda Indonesia:
. President and CEO - Emirsyah Satar . Appointed to the top job at Garuda in March 2005, Satar once worked as the finance Director of Bank Danamon Indonesia, serving as Finance Director of the Airline before leaving to join the banking sector. An accountant by training, he has held a number of senior management positions including assignments as an auditor for Price Waterhouse and as a Senior Manager with Citibank's Corporate Banking Group.
. Executive Vice President in Charge of Business Support and Corporate Affairs - Achirina (unchanged).
. Operations Director - Capt Ari Supari (unchanged)
. Commercial Director - Agus Priyanto (unchanged). Priyanto's last posting was as Garuda's General Manager in Frankfurt, Germany.
. Technical Director - Hadinoto Soedigno. Hadinoto has just been appointed to Garuda's top echelon of management following a long period of service at the Garuda Maintenance Facility A graduate of Indonesia's Bandung Institute of Technology ITB), Hadinoto began his careers with the Airlines in 1977 working as a maintenance technician. Hadinoto replaces Sunarko Kuntjoro.
. Director of Finance - Eddy Poerwanto. A new appointment at Garuda, Poerwanto is a graduate of the University of Illinois' Urbana - Champaign Campus. He has held a number of senior finance roles in Indonesia, including assignments with British American Tobacco, Reckitt Benckiser Indonesia and, most recently, GM Autoworld. Poerwanto replaces Alex MT Maneklaran.
. Director of Strategy and Internet Technology - Elisa Lumbantoruan. A graduate in math from the Bandung Technology Institute (ITB) he has held senior posts with Oracle, Digital, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard. Lumbantoruan replaces Arya R. Suryono.
In announcing the three new appointments, Minister Djalil told Bisnis Indonesia that he has made the most recent appointments with professionals in order to maximize the airline's forward movement.
There's No Place Like Home
Bali by the Numbers: Domestic Travelers are Still Bali's Strongest Inbound Market.
What's the largest inbound market of travelers to Bali? A standard reply would usually include Japan, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea - countries which are indeed the four largest contributors of foreign arrivals to Bali's shores. But, in fact, domestic travelers remain the single largest contributor of visitors to Bali, greater than the combined totals of the four largest foreign source markets.
During the first nine months of 2007, a total of 1.39 million domestic passengers flew into Bali. This compares to 1.22 million total foreign arrivals to the Island in the same period. In other word, 53% of all Bali arrivals through the end of Q3 were domestic travelers, once again underlining the growing popularity of a Bali holiday for Indonesian tourists.
Figures provided by the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) also show that domestic air travel to Bali is growing, improving 13.25% through the end of September as compared to the same period in 2006 when 1.23 million domestic air passengers landed in Bali.
Despite the growth in domestic air travel to Bali, foreign arrivals are demonstrating an even more robust growth rate, improving +34.98% year-on-year through the end of September 2007.
Fuel Rationing Ahead?
Indonesia Consider Fuel Rationing for Private Vehicles as World Oil Prices Near US$100 a Barrel Mark.
The Indonesian Government is reportedly weighing the option of imposing a program of gasoline rationing for private vehicles if global oil prices continue their march to a level in excess of US$100 per barrel.
Such a move, argue many, is made necessary by the increasingly burdensome cost of government-sponsored oil subsidies throwing the State budget badly off kilter. The current allocation for oil subsidies in the 2008 State Budget of US$5 billion was based on a projected US$60 average cost of a barrel of crude oil.
Indonesia an Oil Importer
Although Indonesia is a member of OPEC and a major producer of oil, it's large population, diminishing oil production rates and rapid pace of economic growth means that the Country is a net importer of oil. Approximately 30% of Indonesia's oil needs are now met through imports.
While the details of any proposal to limit the use of gasoline by consumers in Indonesia remains vague, government insiders say that any such plan, if eventually introduced, would affect only private vehicles and not public transport.
Indonesian Aviation Seeking a European Stamp of Approval
November 19 Meeting of European Aviation Association will Decide If Current Safety Blacklisting for Indonesia to be Lifted.
Two important reports from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will be published in the coming days which will have a major impact on how safe the skies of Indonesia are viewed by the rest of the world.
Safety Audit of Four Airlines
On Monday, November 12, 2007, EASA is expected to announce the results of their safety audit involving four Indonesian airlines: Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines, Airfast and Premi Air. Expected to contain recommendations for safety improvements for the four Indonesian airlines, the Government and the airlines involved have pledged to immediately act upon any recommendations from the EASA that will enhance air safety.
The Audit of the four airlines have been conducted by a European safety team that commenced work in Indonesia on November 5, 2007.
Removing Indonesian Aviation from the EU's Blacklist
Bisnis Indonesia reports the fate of the current "blacklisting" of Indonesian aviation by the European Union will be decided in a sitting of the European Aviation Commission scheduled to take place in Brussels on November 19, 2007. The Director General of Civil Aviation for Indonesia, Budhi Mulyawan Suyitno will be given 20 minutes to make the case for Indonesian air safety before delegates representing the EU's 27 members. It is not clear how soon after the November 19th meeting that the EU will announce its decision on the future banning of Indonesian aviation.
Indonesian aviation has been formally declared as unsafe by the EU since July 6, 2007 when all Indonesian registered aircraft were barred from entering European air space. The current prohibition by the EU affects 51 Indonesian air carriers.
Soaring Eyesores on their Way?
Government Explores Ways to Allow High-Rise Buildings in Bali.
Steps are underway that, if successful, will pave the way for the construction of high-rise buildings in Bali. Current regulations in force prohibit the construction of buildings that stand higher than 15 meters, the perceived height of the tallest coconut tree.
The Chief of Bali's Provincial Planning Board (BAPPENDA) Drs. Made Adijaya and the Head of Bali's Public Works Department Nyoman Sudiana told the Bali Post that a change in the current policy would be "studied" starting from 2008 as a means of relieving increasing land pressures on the Island.
The current building code covering building height is covered by Provincial Regulation No. 3 of 2005 (clause 30) that limits building heights to 15 meters except in the cases of towers, electrical pillars and light houses.
A special team has been assigned to study possible changes in zoning regulations looking for ways to accommodate local objections to taller buildings against the growing need for more land in Bali. One suggested change to appease local religious feelings calls for limiting 15 meter tall buildings to areas surrounding or in close proximity to religious sites.
One planning spokesman was quoted by the Bali Post as saying "if we don't review this problem, (Bali) will eventually see all its productive land turned into building sites."
Bali's Governor Rejects Establishment of Prostitution Centers
Beratha Tells Local Parliamentarians That Bali Should Not Give Formal Quarter to Commercial Sex Operations.
Bali's Governor Dewa Made Beratha has firmly rejected a suggestion by his Vice-Governor, IGN Kesuma Kelakan, to set up special localized centers for prostitution in Bali.
In a speech before Bali's Parliament on Thursday, November 8, 2007, covered by DenPost, the Governor said: "As regards the localization of commercial sex workers, I am of the opinion that a policy localizing commercial sex practices carries with it the connotation that the practice of prostitution has been legalized; a move clearly in opposition to Bali's religious teachings, customs and culture. Because of this, I remain firmly opposed to the principle of localizing prostitution practices."
Governor Beratha's statements contrast strongly with moves by members of his administration to control prostitution in Bali by strictly limiting those activities to certain areas of the Island.
Anticipating possible rebuttals to his strong opposition to the localization of commercial sex, Beratha said he is fully aware of the existence of commercial sex in certain areas of Bali, but insisted it remained the duty of his administration to avoid any steps that allow prostitution to gain a larger foothold on the Island.
7,000 Troops on Standby to Secure Climate Change Conference
Bali's Biggest Conferences in History Will See Full Deployment of Military and Police Contingents to Safeguard the Island.
The U.N. Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) set to take place in Bali between December 3-14, 2007 will see more than 7,000 Indonesian armed troops on duty to protect the 15,000 delegates from 168 countries attending the event.
The massive troop deployment was confirmed by Major General Syaiful Rizal, the district head of the Udayana Military command in a press conference on Thursday, November 8, 2007. The two-star general told the NusaBali:"We will deploy 7,000 peace keeping personnel. We will be on duty not only in Bali, but also in Lombok. Troops will be present throughout the West Nusa Tenggara province and in every regency of Bali. We don't want any tricks played on us."
Underlining the positive image that will result for Bali from a successful UNFCCC summit, Rizal called for assistance and cooperation from every element of society. "Be alert, if you see something suspicious, report to the nearest police or military post," Rizal insisted.
The lead military commander for the Bali region explained that because of the participation of Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other heads of state, both the full force of the military and police powers will be brought to bear to ensure a smooth running conference.
Air and sea entrances to Bali are already under tightened security controls and a number of patrol boats have been shifted to Bali where they are on active patrol status.
120 blue beret UN police will also be on duty at the conference headquarters with the Nusa Dua Complex of South Bali.
Bali's Modern Medicine and Traditional Healers to Exchange Notes on Community Mental Health.
In the daily life of the Balinese the balians, or mystic mediums, play a central role. In fact, the name balian is loosely applied to a wide range of men and women who possess sacred skills or specialized knowledge in the performance of rituals of passage.
Members of the elite circle of balians may be called upon to interpret ancient lontar palm manuscripts, divine messages from the gods or ancestors, decipher "signs" of spiritual import hidden in the natural world, perform midwifery duties, prepare the dead for cremation, massage the sick, set broken bones or determine which family ancestor now inhabits the soul of a newborn child. The natural inclination to humility causes many Balinese who perform balian roles in their community to deny they fill a mystical or sacred function implied by that title; much as many gifted artisans in Bali do not view themselves as artists.
In an effort to understand exactly how widespread the role of the balian is in Balinese society, the Suryani Institute Bali is undertaking pioneering research to catalog the number and variety of balians operating in 20 remote villages in eastern Bali. Preliminary results from Karangasem reveal that at least 152 balians or paranormal practitioners are operating in that region, according to Dr. Cokorda Bagus Jaya Lesmana, the Secretary of the Institute quoted in NusaBali.
Dr. Lesmana, a young Balinese psychiatrist who is also the Son of Indonesia's world-renowned psychiatrist and author Professor Dr. Luh K. Suryani, claims the balian plays a central and very beneficial role in local communities ranging from alternative medical practice to performing rain stopper services.
In surveying balians, the Institute intends to eventually improve cooperation and knowledge-sharing between traditional healers and modern medical practitioners with a particular emphasis on the treatment of mental illness and emotional disorders. In December 2007, the Suryani Institute Bali plans to hold a seminar involving medical and psychiatric experts and balians to discuss means of improving the mental health of local communities and curbing the rising suicide rates in Bali.
The links below provide access to the graphical version of the Bali Update.