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Police Introducing New License Plates and Seeking to Limit Registration of Older Vehicles to Reduce Congestion on Bali's Roads.
Bali adds 11,666 new cars to its roads each month. And, despite regulations intended to reduce the number of cars on the Island's Roads, official efforts to reduce the deluge of cars choking local roads have been largely ineffective.
As part of efforts to more closely regulate vehicular traffic the Bali police are re-registering and re-numbering many of the cars being driven across the island.
Part of that new system will see the inclusion of the letter "S" in the license plates of rental cars to assist police in quickly identifying cars being driven by visiting third parties. Other changes in the numbering system provide a code to help police identify the originating home regency of a vehicle.
In 2006 there were 1,587,302 vehicles operating in Bali, increasing by 10% to 1,731,600 in 2007.
Traffic authorities are attempting to limit the registration vehicle of more than 10 years as part of overall efforts to reduce traffic on the island's roads.
Kong Hee Fat Choy - Chinese New Years in Bali
Help with Accommodation in Bali and Some Practical Advice to Start the "Year of the Rat."
The Chinese Year of the Rat (4706) dawns on February 7, 2008, with celebrations lasting over 15 days causing much of Asia to slow down or comes to a standstill. As in year's past, Bali hotels are expecting a rush of business over the coming holidays with Garuda Indonesia adding 2,637 seats system-wide and 293 additional seats to Bali to facilitate the expected travel crunch.
Can we Help You Book a Room?
Bali Discovery Tours and www.balidiscovery.com is standing by to assist Bali visitors seeking assistance in securing accommodation, transportation and tour arrangements in Bali over the coming Lunar New Year celebrations.
Some Practical Advice
The celebration of Chinese New Years is rich with tradition and superstitious belief. To help you launch a successful "Year of the Rat" - a year rather ominously associated with death, war and atrocities - here's some practical advice to help you steer a good course.
. Open a window to welcome good luck and the new year.
. Confuse ghosts and spirits by switching lights on and off.
. To sweeten the year ahead, be sure to eat some sweets over the New Year.
. Time to clean house. A Clean and tidy home will bring good luck in the coming year.
. What you do on February 7th may influence the year ahead. Many gamble on that day as "winning" on the day signals a year of prosperity ahead.
. Buy a pair of new slippers - it symbolizes stepping on those who spread gossip about you.
. Take a bath in pomelo leaves on New Year's eve as it is believed to bring health in the year ahead.
. Some consider buying a pair of new shoes as bad luck. The word "shoe" in Cantonese is a homophone for "rough" or "evil" in Mandarin.
. "Don't buy pants during Chinese New Year. The word of "pants" is a homophone for "bitter" in Cantonese.
. Washing your hair on New Year's may wash away good luck.
. Similarly sweeping the floor on New Year's Day might send fortune into the dustpan.
. Avoid discussions of death in the early days of the Chinese New Year.
. Don't buy books during Chinese New Year as it may precipitate a personal loss.
. Avoid wearing black and white. Black is the color of bad luck and white is a color appropriate to funerals.
From everyone at Bali Discovery - Kong Hee Fat Choy!
Contact Us for Chinese New Years Accommodation Assistance in Bali.
Bali to Establish 275 Tourism 'E-Kiosks'
Electronic Information Centers Intended to Replace Illegal "Tourist Information Offices."
Bisnis Bali reports that the presence of illegal Tourism Information Offices operating across the island of Bali is a source of growing concern.
Travel agencies, souvenir shops and even street vendors are displaying "tourist information" signs, complains the Coordinator of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Ngurah Wijaya.
As a result, Wijaya is calling on the government to quickly bring some order to enterprises displaying "tourist information" signs in order to safeguard Bali's image. Wijaya warned: "Imagine if everyone can easily set up a tourism information office. The information they provide can be incorrect or be used to mislead tourist visitors."
Fearing that the current situation, if allowed to continue unchecked, will cause Bali's recovery to come off track, Wijaya wantd illegal "tourist information offices" to be closed and replaced with E-Kiosks providing tourist information for the Island's visitors.
To this end, the government has appointed a local company PT Ochabawez Dinamika Persada to establish 275 "E-Kiosks" across Bali in February 2008.
Watching Bali's Number
Local Tourism Observer Calls on Bali Tourism Board to Collect, Analyze and Carefully Reflect on Tourism Data.
In an op-ed piece published in the Bali Post, a tourism commentator, who writes under the name "Gregorius," has called on Bali to pay more attention to the collection and analysis of tourism data. What follows is a free translation of Gregorius' comments from the Saturday, January, January 26, 2008 edition of the Bali Post :
* * * *
Relying on a number of sources, the Bali Post has accumulated interesting information on tourism. For example, of the tens of countries surveyed, tourist from Brazil, France, Australia and he U.K. occupy the top position in terms of length of stay in Bali; representing respectively, 17.3 days, 15 days, 14.9 days and 14.8 days. The length of stay for Canada, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands are in excess of 13 days. Meanwhile the length of stay for the nationals of other countries is generally less than 12 days. The shortest visits to Bali are by the Filipinos who stay for only 5 days.
In terms of average spend per tourist per day, tourists from Brunei, Portugal, Japan, Taiwan and China hold the highest rankings, spending more than Rp. 1 million (US$107.50) per day. These nationals are followed by tourist visitors from Mexico, Austria, the Philippines, Spain and Norway who spend an average Rp. 700,000 each day (US$75.25). Most other visitors to Bali spend less, with Finish tourist said to spend only Rp. 71,964 (US$7.40) each day. For comparison purposes, domestic visitors from West Java are estimated to spend Rp. 329,545 (US$35.40) per day, while "locals" from Kalimantan spend only Rp. 192,269 (US$20.68).
While the data above is subject to further review and debate, it does offer valuable benchmarks for those in Bali's government, tourism industry and academics. Knowing the plus and minuses of each market is the first step for retaining, developing and expanding new markets. Such a data base plays an important role in every walk of life, including tourism. In fact, a number of major companies are able to maintain their existence amidst fluctuations in the global economy because of their reliance on excellent data. Marketing experts know that the secret of successful business leaders is the completeness of their statistical data base.
A number of leading hotels and travel agents in Bali understand this fact. However, because such information is often viewed as a "company secret," it is seldom shared with the general public. As a result, it is not surprising if these companies display a disinclination to discuss "numbers," including their annual profit figures.
Despite this desire keep their cards close to their chest, it is certain that one of the keys to these companies' business success is tied to the use of a complete statistical data base. How would a hotel create its promotional plan for the coming year without such information? Which country, what market segment and what sort of packet to sell - are all questions answered through the analysis of statistical data.
On a number of past occasions it has been proposed that Bali needs a complete data base. In this paper (Bali Post) a writer has proposed that the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) could play this role. If such an effort could involve campus researchers, the available data could be made to "talk" for the benefit of all. Data must be processed to permit conclusions to be drawn that will prove useful to all concerned.
The BTB once undertook a survey on the effect of the visa-on-arrival policy, but that is not enough. In the future, the desire to manage Bali's data will pave the way for the establishment of a "Bali think tank."
Including members of the tourism industry in such an effort, BTB should seek to play the role of becoming such Bali's tourism "think tank."
Any eventual "tourism think tank" should have a separate division for the collection and processing of data from a variety of sources. Once again, this should certainly include researchers from the academic community.
The availability of a statistical data base is increasingly important as Bali embarks on yet another "boom" period. Such data will tell us where we're going, what has been achieved, what have been our failures and what must be done in the future. In brief, the available statistical data can help reflect the road ahead.
Chef Dorin Schuster 'Invited' Back to The Legian, Bali
The Legian a luxury Bali resort managed by General Hotel Management (GHM) has announced the appointment of Executive Chef Dorin Schuster.
Chef Dorin Schuster, who is returning to the popular Resort for a second tour of duty, has over 20 years of culinary experience including a stint at Iggy's at The Regent, Singapore.
Awarded San Pellegrino Chef of the Year in 2007 at the World Gourmet Summit,Chef Schuster during his tenure at Iggy's saw the Singapore dining venues to be named 60th best restaurants in the world by Restaurant Magazine in 2007. The restaurant was also acknowledged as "New Restaurant of the Year" in the 2006 at the Awards of Excellence given during the World Gourmet Summit.
After 13 years in Germany acquiring his culinary education, Chef Schuster, a certified Master Chef, first came to Asia at the age of 31.
Triumphant Return to The Legian
No stranger to The Legian, Schuster served a previous tour of duty as the Resort's Executive Chef.
At The Legian, Schuster will oversee all culinary aspects of the property including The Restaurant, The Pool Bar, The Lobby Bar and Room Service Dining, which feature a delectable blend of International and Asian cuisines.
Jail Time for Garuda Pilot. Airline's Former CEO to Follow?
Reformists Rejoice at Sentences Handed Down in 2004 Death of Human Rights Activist on Garuda Flight.
Garuda Indonesia's continuing public relations nightmare surrounding the mysterious death of Indonesian human rights activist Munir Said Thalib took several interesting turns before Indonesia's Courts in late January 2008. Munir died September 7, 2004, while flying from Jakarta to Amsterdam on the Airline.
Pollycarpus Gets 20 Years
In a judicial review of the murder case against the former Garuda pilot, Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Friday, January 25, 2008, with the Court finding him guilty of premeditated murder and the falsification of documents.
The Head of the Law Department of the Indonesian Supreme Court, Nurhadi, told Tempo Interaktif that "this decision approved the judicial review requested by the Public Prosecutor from the National Court in Jakarta."
The panel of 5 judges who found against Pollycarpus was headed by Chief Justice Bagir Manan, Indonesia's top jurist who Pollycarpus once bragged during a wire-tapped phone conversation with former Garuda boss Indra Setiawan as certain to free him of all charges in connection with the death of the activist.
In an earlier legal proceeding Pollycarpus was sentenced to 14 year prison sentence, a sentence that was later reduced to only 2 years for document forgery when the courts ruled his murder conviction was incorrect due to a lack of evidence.
The latest decision reviewed the earlier decisions and considered new evidence submitted by prosecutors in allowing the panel to arrive at their guilty sentence and the substantially stiffer sentence of 20 years.
One of the ruling judges said the motive behind the murder remains unclear, but the suspicion is that Munir was killed for his political activities.
During the course of the various trials, suggestions were repeatedly made that Pollycarpus was in the employment of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN). To date, no member of the State Intelligence Board has been brought to court in connection with Munir's murder.
The Coordinator of the Committee for Missing Persons and the Victims of Violence (KONTRAS), Usman Hamid called for the Munir case to continue in order that those behind the plot can be brought to justice.
Former Garuda CEO Facing 1.5 Years in Prison
In a related case, Indra Setiawan, the former CEO of Garuda Indonesia is facing a 1.5 year prison sentence is judges accept demands made by State Prosecutors for his supporting role in the death of Munir.
Public Prosecutor Didif Farkhan told the court that the evidence is clear that Setiawan was closely involved in assigning Pollycarpus a place on the fateful flight during which the human rights activist died in 2004.
Prosecutors point to a letter from BIN sent to Garuda requesting Pollycarpus' presence on the flight. That letter, according to Setiawan, was subsequently lost in a car burglary from a parking lot at a Jakarta hotel. "This proves that Indra clearly knew of an intelligence operation on the flight used by Munir," the Prosecutor told the Court.
Prosecutors also find as legally incriminating the fact that assignment letters for Pollycarpus and letters from BIN were personally kept by Setiawan and not placed in the company files of the Airline as would be the case in matters involving normal staff assignments.
The trial of the former Garuda CEO continues.
'No' to Request for Higher Passenger Service Charges
Transportation Minister and Legislators Tell Angkasa Pura to Improve Standards at Indonesia's Airports Before Seeking to Increase Charges.
The Government has apparently given the "thumbs down" to a proposal from PT Angkasa Pura I and II (AP) to increase by 50% the passenger service charge paid by domestic and international passengers at most Indonesian airports. As reported on Balidiscovery.com [See: Jakarta Airport Service Charge to Increase?], AP is claiming the large increase in departure fees is needed to upgrade service and security at the Nation's airports.
Indonesia's Minister of Transportation, Jusman Syafei Djamal, labeled the fee increase as "non-viable" at the current time due to the poor service being provided by AP at most Indonesian airports. To underline his point, Minister Jusman pointed to the lack of toilet facilities at most airports.
Urging AP to "take heart" with the refusal to increase airport service charges, Minister Jusman urged AP to raise their game and improve standards before seeking the next increase in the tax charged to departing passengers.
The transportation Minister has given AP three months to create improvements in standards at the airport facilities under their management.
Prior to the rejection pf a rate increase from the Transportation Minister, Commission V of the House of Representatives rejected AP's request for higher passenger service charges, bemoaning the low standards of safety, service and comfort at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Indonesia's Capital of Jakarta.
US$45 Million Condo-Hotel Project for South Bali
Construction Said to Be Already Underway for an 176 Unit Property Managed by Outrigger Hotels & Resorts.
www.property-report.com states that a US$45 million resort is now under construction on Bali's Bukit Peninsula. The Outrigger Panorama Resort & Spa has reportedly been conceived and developed by mc2 and will be managed by Outrigger Hotels & Resort from Hawaii.
Comprised of 176 studio, one, two and three-bedroom condominiums and six penthouses the project is being constructed to appeal to an exclusive market with many of the apartments equipped with private swimming pools.
According to property-report.com: "Amenities at the resort will include two gourmet restaurants, both with indoor and outdoor dining terraces, a wine bar, sports bar, juice bar, luxurious spa, beauty salon, state-of-the-art fitness centre, floodlit tennis court, jogging trail, juice bar, large pool system with jets, slides and cascades and plus private cabanas set beside the secluded lower-level infinity pool."
Championship Tennis in Bali September 7-14, 2008
Organizers Promises Top Women Players will Appear at Nusa Dua Tournament.
The Commonwealth Tennis Tournament will be held in Bali September 7-14, 2008 with organizers hoping to lure Lindsay Davenport and Svetlana Kuznetsova for the Bali event.
Kevin Livesey, Tournament Director told the press on Thursday, January 17, 2008, that he is hopeful that Patty Schnyder, world number 3 ranked Jelena Jankovic and Indonesian tennis star Angelique Widjaja will appear on the center courts at Nusa Dua. Davenport won the Bali event in 2005 and 2007 and Kuznetsova was champion in 2002, 2000 and 2006.
The Bali tournament, part of the Sony Ericsson-WTA tour, is now considered the largest event of its kinds in Southeast Asia.
The tournament will be held on the courts of the Grand Hyatt Bali Resort-Hotel, Nusa Dua in Bali.
Livesey said that the goal of the 2008 tournament would be to provide an even higher quality of play than the very high standards set in previous years.
Livesey said that in the year leading up to the September event, the organizers of the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic will continue to announce the appearance of top women tennis stars as they confirm their participation.
Garuda Flies into the Black
Indonesia's National Airline Reaps the Rewards of Reorganization by Booking a US$27.8 Million Profit in 2007.
The National News Agency Antara reports that PT Garuda Indonesia - the flag carrier of Indonesia managed to post an unaudited profit of Rp. 259 billion (US$27.8 million) for 2007.
This contrasts with a loss of Rp. 197 billion (US$21.2 million) record in 2006.
The favorable turn-around for Garuda was revealed by the Airline's President Director, Emirsyah Satar, during recent hearings before Commission V of the Indonesian House of Representatives.
In these hearings, Emirsyah also reported:
. Load factors for Garuda in 2007 averaged 78%, up from the average 72% recorded in 2006.
. Total passengers carried by the Airline increased year on year by +11% to a total uplift of 8.41 million passengers.
. Total turnover in 2007 increased +16% to US$1.04 billion, up from US$896 million in 2006.
Bali to Focus on 10 Key Markets in 2008
Bali Targets 49% More Arrivals in 2008. Island Seeks to Attract 2.5 Million Visitors.
Bisnis Indonesia reports that Bali is eyeing 10 major source markets as the key to achieving a self-proclaimed target of 2.5 million foreign visitors in 2008, a very ambitious 49% improvement over the record-breaking total of 1.67 million visitors who came to Bali in 2007.
The Chief of the Bali Tourism Authority (BTA), I Gede Nurjaya, told Bisnis Indonesia that marketing efforts will focus on the following 10 "key" markets for Bali tourism: Japan, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, U.K., Germany, France and the United States.
In targeting these markets to achieve the 2.5 million visitors, the BTA has taken into consideration the traditional strength of the subject 10 countries as source markets, the high purchasing power of these countries' nationals, their relatively long length of stay and their "concern for the environment." Explained Nurjaya, "because of thiese things, these countries have been targeted, not just because of the quantities they bring to Bali, but also the quality of those visitors."
Nurjaya said he hoped that foreign promotions in 2008 would be based on close cooperation between provincial government of Bali, the regional governments on the Island and members of the private tourism sector.
Added Nurjaya: "The coordination and promotion (to these markets) must offer Bali tourism products that conform with the characteristic of these source markets. No less important is the timing of the promotional efforts."
Bali's Year for the Record Books
Bali by the Numbers: 1.67 Million Foreign Visitors Make 2007 the Best Year Ever.
Aided by the substantial business brought to the Island by the UN Climate Change Conference in December, Bali ended 2007 with 147,204 foreign visitors for the last month of the year; beating by +19.83% the total for the same month in 2006 (122,848).
With a cumulative total for 2007 of 1,664,854 foreign visitors, Bali's arrivals improved a very dramatic +32.1% over total arrivals for 2006 (1,260,317). Far and away, 2007 goes into the record book as the best year ever in terms of total visitors to Bali.
Shown graphically on Balidiscovery.com is a comparison of annual foreign arrivals to Bali 2006-2007 and a comparison for the same period for Bali's top four sources of visitors: Japan, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea.
Statistical highlights include :
. An arguably healthy diversification of Bali's tourism markets is underway. The traditional top sources for inbound markets (i.e. Japan, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea) now represent only 49.81% of all foreign arrivals to Bali, down from a corresponding 58.82% market share in 2003.
. Japanese arrivals for 2007 were +42.2% ahead of 2006.
. Australian arrivals are on the rebound, improving +73.3% over 2006.
. Taiwanese business to Bali increased +5% year on year in 2007.
. South Korean arrivals jumped +70% from 2006 to 2007.
The links below provide access to the graphical version of the Bali Update.