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The Indonesian National News Agency Antara reports that all of Bali’s four lakes are suffering some degree of pollution, requiring urgent action by the people of Bali to maintain the island’s environmental quality. Speaking to Antara, Bali’s Governor Made Mangku Pastika said, “we will involve a team of experts on lake ecologies in order that the four lakes in Bali remain clean.” Bali has four lakes – Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan in the Buleleng regency; Lake Beratan in Tabanan regency; and Lake Batur in Bangli regency. Local boats and floating accommodation are suspected as possible causes of pollution on the lakes through leaking fuel oil. ’We will also be undertaking a study on whether or not motor boats are needed as transportation of tourism object support,” explained Pastika. Lake Buyan Most PollutedOf the four lakes, Lake Buyan in Buleleng regency is considered to be the most severely polluted from among Bali’s four fresh wat er lakes and suffering from diminishing water depths. Pastiska warned: “If in the coming decade, the depth issue is handled satisfactorily, we are concerned that the lake’s water surface will disappear and be consumed by surrounding surface lands.” The shallow depths of the lake are due to the erosion of soil from nearby mountains, the rapid uncontrolled growth of water hyacinth (enceng gondok) and use of fertilizers on surrounding lands. Bali’s governor told the press that the “normalization” of Bali’s lake is an absolute necessity, with the government required to quickly devise a recover program for the island’s lakes.
Bali Fuel Terminals on High Alert
Security Teams Strengthened at Bali’s Two Fuel Depots Following Major Fire at North Jakarta Terminal.
Kompas reports that the two main fuel terminals in Bali at Manggis in the Karangasem and Pesanggaran in Bali’s capital of Denpasar are getting beefed up security following the explosion of the Plumpung Fuel Depot in North Jakarta on Sunday, January 18, 2009. The Public Affairs spokesperson for the Bali police, Gde Sugianyar told the press on the day following the Jakarta explosions, “an increase in security will certainly be undertaken, whether or not we receive a request from Pertamina.” The causes and circumstances behind the explosion and fire which destroyed the Plumpung Fuel Depot in Jakarta remains under active investigation by the police. Sugianyar said that men from several police precincts across Bali have been deployed to keep watch over the island’s main oil storage facilities. Internally, the Denpasar distribution area for Pertamina has undergone a thorough investigation, including tank and supporting equipment inspections. The Assistant Retail Marketing Director for Pertamina in Bali, Pramono, said: “We have been ordered to be on guard by the head office. We have our own security system. We have also increased our internal measures.” Pramono said the incident in Plumpung will not impact on fuel supplies for Bali. Bali’s derives its critical supplies of fuel from Surabaya in East Java.
Garuda Postpones IPO
World Economic Situation Forces Garuda to Postpone Public Offering of Shares. Fleet Renewal and Expansion to Continue.
Plans for the national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of a portion of its shares in the third quarter of 2009 will be postponed indefinitely due to the world’s current economic state of affairs. Quoted by Bisnis.com, Garuda’s CEO, Emirsyah Satar, said, “The (current) shareholders have decided to delay the IPO for Garuda until conditions are more favorable.” Satar said the current financial market condition is less encouraging than it was a year ago and if the IPO was held as scheduled the shares of Garuda would be sold too cheaply. Plans are for an IPO of a portion of Garuda’s shares will be undertaken to help reduce the airlines current level of debt. Last year, the government targeted to acquire Rp. 4.2 trillion (US$378 million) via the planned IPO. From the targeted cash resulting from the IPO, Rp. 2.5 trillion (US$225 million) would be used reduce debt while the remaining amount dedicated to acquiring new aircraft for the airline’s armada. The airlines current level of debt stands at around Rp. 2.5 trillion. Garuda plans for a gradual introduction of 50 new Boeing 737 NG aircraft starting in mid-2009 and 10 Boeing 777-300ER in 2010. Emirsyah told the press that the delay in the IPO would not necessarily affect the introduction of new aircraft as there are alternate sources of financing available for this purpose. Passenger Growth Predicted in 2009 The CEO of the Indonesian national carrier said his airline remains bullish on 2009, expecting passengers numbers to grow 24% with a total uplift of 10 million travelers. “Based on the addition of 18 new routes, increased frequencies and our new armada there will be a growth of passengers of as much as 24%,” explained Emirsyah.
Bali: Tropical Appeal at a Good Price
U.S. Travel Writer Finds Bali Both Charming and Affordable.
Craig Simon writing for the widely syndicated Cox News Service visited Bali last month together with his food-writer wife. They discovered a island with outstanding accommodation, great food and much to offer the tourist visitors. In these difficult economic times, perhaps their best discovery is that the dollar still buys a very affordable Bali Holiday. To read Craig Simons trip review and find out which hotels, restaurants and tour service he recommends [See; Tropical Appeal at a Good Price]
American and European Markets to Dip 30-40%
Bali ASITA Chairman Says High Fares and Bad World Economy May Cause Big Drop in European and American Travelers to Bali in 2009.
BeritaBali.com quoted the Bali branch of the Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) as projecting a drop of between 30-40% in American and European visitors to Bali in 2009. The growing financial crisis in Europe and the U.S.A. is seen by ASITA as certain to cause visitors from these markets to cancel or delay a holiday abroad. In 2008, according to ASITA, an average of 4,000-5,000 American and 35,000-40,000 European tourists came to Bali each month. The Chairman of the Bali Chapter of ASITA, Al Purwa, told BeritaBali.com that in addition to the current financial crisis, the high cost of transportation was also playing a major role in the expected downturn in American and European tourists to the island. “The biggest drops will come from Europe, America and Canada because the airfares are so expensive. Citing the effect of the global economic crisis, the Bali Tourism Authority recently reduced its target for foreign tourists in 2009 from an initial 2.1 million to a more realistic 1.8 million. Total foreign tourist visitors to Bali in 2008 hit a record 1,968,892.
Suka Duka: Compassion & Solidarity
Ubud Writers and Readers Picks Theme for Sixth Festival October 7-11, 2009.
Rated by Harpers Magazine as among the six top literary events in the world - Ubud Writers and Readers Festival returns to the hills of Ubud for its sixth running October 7-11, 2009. Founder and force behind the event, Janet de Neefe confirms that writers are being invited, budgets being prepared and sponsors sought for what has become a major event on the literati calendar. Last year’s event drew record numbers of audience members who flocked to Ubud to participate in more than 50 events led by more than 100 writers. In all, some 43 intimate venues across Ubud were employed for panel sessions, book launches, performances, readings and literary lunches. Among the more popular events was a filled-to-capacity “conversation session” at the Neka Museum led by Vikram Seth drew an audience of nearly four hundred readers and writers, who listened ardently to Seth chat jovially about his life growing up in India. Suka-Duka: Compassion & Solidari ty The 2009 theme Suka-Duka: Compassion & Solidarity is an Indonesian philosophy that translates as the togetherness or mutual help in joy and suffering. In 2009, the enduring power of the human spirit over suffering and hardship will be explored alongside stories that have changed lives and tales of profound wisdom. Environmental issues and the rise of fundamentalism will be further debated with globalization, censorship of media and world poverty. The art of storytelling will be celebrated together with discussions on writing about travel, food, poetry and song. This year’s Ubud Writers & Readers Festival will continue its culinary tradition via visiting chefs descending on the kitchens of some of Ubud's hotels and resorts. They will join forces with our leading literary stars to present the kind of languorous lunches and dinners for which the Ubud festival has become famous. among those invited to participate this year are Nobel Prize winners J.M. Coetzee and Wol e Soyinka; Kate Grenville, Abdourahman Waberi, Mohammed Hanif, Laura Esquivel and Hari Kunzru. [Ubud Readers abd Writers Festival Website]
Chinoiserie - Chinese Dining with a Difference in Bali
New Chinese Restaurant Offers Elegance, Value and a Delicious Straits Chinese Influence.
While Bali is home to a host of quality Chinese restaurants, our Editor was so impressed during a recent visit to a recently opened member of that dining fraternity that he returned to dine again on two successive nights.Chinese Food with Difference Chinoiserie promotes itself as a “Modern Chinese Restaurant,” but somehow that description fails to describe the dining experience that awaits. Run by an enterprising young Singaporean, Bernard Foo, who hired Chef Fui, a native of Malaysia - the Chinese cuisine on offer incorporates all the flavorful nuances of ‘Straits Cookery.” Hundreds of years before the term “fusion” came into vogue, the eclectic and catholic culinary tendencies of the Chinese diaspora who settled in peninsular Southeast Asia freely welcomed indigenous Malay, Indian and Thai ingredients and cooking methods into their kitchens. The resulting free-wheeling approach to cooking felt no compunction at combining chilies, curries, sambels with any of the core Chinese culinary traditions, such as Sichuan, Cantonese and Beijing styles. Reflecting this “if it taste good, why not?” attitude, the peranakan or Straits style of cooking has earned a well-deserved class of its own among world cuisines. While the Chinoiserie does not qualify, strictly speaking, as peranakan restaurant, there are numerous items on their menu with these roots, certain to catch the attention of those in search of new taste sensations. Some of our favorites : • Pork Ribs in Wine Sauce – tender and so sweetly succulent that everyone was unabashedly licking their fingers. • Kung Po Chicken in Sichuan Dried Chili Sauce - Not as spicy as it sound, this Sichuan standard include a sweet chili sauce, lightly fired air dried chilies and chunks of diced chicken. • Sliced Fish with Ginger Infusion - an opening soup course, highly aromatic and delicious. • Salt & Pepper Prawns - a delicious and inexpensive alternative to the several lobster dishes which are a specialty at Chinoiserie • Hot Plate Sambal Squid- Served bubbling hot on a cast iron plate, tender squid slices in a delicious sauce are presented atop a fried egg. • Baked Lobster Fried Rice with Cheese - a house specialty. • Minced Beef and Ginger Stir Fry - essentially a rice course, grains of rice are delicately infused with ginger and cubes of beef. So good, we ordered a second round. The above is just a sampling of an extensive menu that warrants a number of return visits in search of yet—to-be-discovered delicacies. A Sophisticated Ambience Up market in presentation but not in price, Chinoiserie the restaurant is sub-divided into four sections where service is provided by waiters and waitresses all dressed in black: • Bar – run by a talented “mixologist,” a long bar just off the entrance offers all the standard range of drinks. But we suggest you go straight to the list of specialty cocktails, all concocted in the same spirit as their food offering aimed at rewarding the adventurous gourmand. • Main Resto - fan-cooled at the center of the complex, diners sit amidst water fountains with views to the busy open kitchen. • VIP Area - Air conditioned with seating for 40, large flower arrangements, over-stiffed lounge seating, and long-stemmed wine glasses set a tone for a leisurely evening of conviviality. • Upper Deck Located on a raised back terrace overlooking a rice field, this area also converts nicely for private parties through the use of a dedicated bar. • Al Fresco A garden-like setting under the stars capable of seating 30 diners. Located on the Sunset Road and easily accessible from Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua - Chinoiserie is readily identified by the red Chinese lanterns that adorn its entrance.
Chinoiserie Fining – Lounge Jal an Sunset Raod No. 7, Kuta, Bali Telephone ++62-(0)361-8088777.
Bali Ends Year Just Short of 2 Million Visitors
Bali by the Numbers: Arrivals Expected to Decline by 8.6% in 2009.
Bali Ended 2008 just short of the 2 million mark for foreign tourist arrivals, achieving 1,968,892. This was a record number of visitors by any standard, with 2008 topping 2007 by 18.26% (1,664,854). Growth in Tourist Arrivals Shown on balidiscovery.com are graphics charting yearly arrivals from 1997 through 2008. While growth in foreign tourist arrivals were interrupted by the terrorist attacks of 2002 and 2005, Bali has manages an average annual rate of growth in tourist arrivals of around 5.5% from 1997 to 2008. Market Share Also shown on balidiscovery.com is a pie-chart representing market share for all tourist arrivals to Bali in 2008. • Despite Japan arrivals only increasing 0.91% in 2008, that market continues to be the largest source of inbound visitors holding an 18.02% market share, a decline from 2007 when the Japanese represented a 21.12% share. • Australian arrivals soared in 2008, increasing year-on-year by 51.01%. As a market share the Australians are Bali’s second largest source of foreign visitors with a 15.68% market share. • South Korean visitors declined 1.41% in total arrivals in 2008, but still managed to move up one place in the rankings of market share. The South Koreans are now the third largest source of visitors with a 6.73% market share. • Also moving up one place in terms of market prominence, the Malaysians are now the fourth largest market for inbound visitors, narrowly pushing the Taiwanese out of the #4 slot. Malaysian visitors are now a 6.59% market share of all visitors. • The People’s Republic of China and Taiwan are virtually tied in a dead heat for 5th place. However, expect China to displace Taiwan and take firm control of either 4th or 5th place in 2009. Mainland Chinese visitors grew by an amazing 53.25% in 2008 while Taiwanese arrivals were virtually static. • Rounding out the top ten countries in terms of foreign tourist arrivals to Bali in 2008 were, in descending order, the U.K. (4.19% market share); Germany (4.15% market share); France (3.85% market share); and the U.S.A. (3.50% market share). The Bali Tourism Authority is estimating an 8.6% downturn in total arrivals in 2009, targeting 1.8 million foreign visitors for entire year.
North Bali Airport Confirmed
Governor Confirms that Bali will Operate Two Airports to Stimulate Economic Growth in the Island’s North.
Jakarta Post reports that Bali’s Governor Made Mangku Pastika has now confirmed that Bali will move ahead with plans to build a second airport near its northern shore. This announcement came after an order from Indonesia’s Vice President Jusuf Kalla decreeing that the expansion of Bali’s current airport in Tuban must move ahead and be completed by 2011. [See: Vice Presidents Ends Bali Airport Debate] Governor Pastika made the announcement following a meeting with the Bali’s Provincial Legislative House of Representatives, telling the press that the plan for a second airport has been endorsed by both the Vice President and the Minister of Culture and Tourism. It is believed that the new airport will be built in the Buleleng Regency. Those supporting the second airport point to the under-capacity of the Ngurah Rai International Airport and the need to balance development patterns between Bali’s North and South. Experts believe that the presence of an airport in Buleleng would stimulate a surge of tourism development along the northern coast which remains economically depressed in comparison to the southern regions of the Island.
Ayana Resort to be Officially Launched April 1, 2009
Lavish Garden Party Held to Welcome Ayana Resort & Spa – the New Managers of the Ritz-Carlton in Bali.
On Friday evening, Januaru 23, 2007, a luxurious garden cocktail party was held in the gardens of the Ritz-Carlton, Bali Resort & Spa - a farewell of sorts to the Ritz-Carlton Brand for the 77 hectare resort which features 368 guest rooms. Effective April 1, 2009 the West Paces Hotel Group will assume management of the resort which will be renamed as the Ayana Resort & Spa. The parting of the ways between Ritz-Carlton and the Indonesian owners of the resort, PT Karang Mas Sejahtera, came of as the result of a U.S. Federal Court ruling that found the Marriott Hotel Corporation had acted in bad faith and violated non-competitioon clauses by acting as managers and helping to develop the luxury Bulgari Resort, located a short distance from the present Ritz-Carlton. (See Related Articles Below.) The Garden party to bid farewell to Ritz-Carlton and welcome Ayana Resort was a truly lavish affair in which a multi story Indian Palace was built especially for the evening, acting as a backdrop for a large performance stage where a troupe of “Bollywood Style” dancers entertained the guests interspersed with traditional Balinese dance. Thousands of torches and candles surrounded the venue for as far as the eye courld see, while laser light shows and fireworks filled the night’s sky. The Resort’s in house Indian chefs presented two separate buffets while bartenders kept a steady flow of beer, wine and specialty cocktails flowing throughout the evening. Brief speeches punctuated the evening with the owner of PT Karang Mas Sehjahtera, Rudy Suliawan, sharing his vision for the hotel’s future and providing background on the “split” with Ritz-Carlton; David Wilson, General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton welcomed the guest to what was essentially a “last hurrah” for the Ritz-Carlton at the world famous resort; and a brief speech of introduction by Horst Schulze, Chairman and COO of the West Paces Hotel Group. Everything Old is New Again And while the Indonesian Owners of the Resort are separating after a legal defeat to Ritz-Carlton in the U.S. Courts, there can be little doubt that the Indonesian owners still have an abiding respect for the service standards and reputation of the Ritz-Calrton Brand. In fact, the man heading the West Paces Hotel Group who will manage the Bali property is Horst Schulze, the highly successful former President, COO and Vice-Chairman of Ritz-Calrton; a fact strongly underlined in his speeaches and press releases. Similarly, many of the key management positions in the West Paces Hotel Group are held by Ritz-Carlton alumni. West Paces Hotel Group Founded by Horst Schulze, the West Paces Hotel Group manages properties in Alambama, California, Chicago, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey German and, starting in April, in Bali, Indonesia.
Anantara On and On
Local Officials Insist that Demolition of Sixth Floor of Seminyak Resort Will Take Place.
(1/25/2009) Bali Post continues to aggressively cover the apparent tug-of-war in play between the Badung regency government and the owners of the Anantara Seminyak Resort.
According the Bali's leading daily, a week after the September January 14, 2009, pledge by enforcement officers from the Badung government that they would remove structures on the sixth floor of the Resort, the popular bar and penthouse appear intact. The latest promise to finally conform to the height restrictions of local zoning laws comes after a similar promise by management made and later ignored in September 2008.
The newspaper reports that no efforts have been made to demolish the Sunset on Six bar and that guests continue to enjoy the gardens and pool surrounding the Resort.
When Bali Post contacted the Chief of the Badung Enforcement Agency (Satpol PP Badung), Wayan Adi Arnawa, who vowed that his office continues to monitor the situation and would move ahead with plans to forcibly demolish the sixth floor of the building. Arnawa said that his office was unable to barge in and begin demolishing the structure for fear that such actions might put tourists staying at the resort at risk.
Arnawa refuted the Bali Post's claim that no demolition activities were taking place, insisting that the top flow is being removed in a very slow and cautious manner. When asked how many staff had been deployed to assist with the ordered demolition, a Satpol PP Badung official was unable to provide a specific number.
Presidential Elections July 8, 2009
April and May 2009 to be Politcally Active Months in Indonesia with Legislative and Presidential Elections.
(1/25/2009) The National Elections Commission (KPU) have decreed that the next general election for Indonesia's President and Vice President will be held on Wednesday, July 9, 2009. If a run off election is required, that will take place on Tuesday, September 8, 2009.
The Presidential Elections will be preceded by legislative elections set for April 9, 2009 with the formal certification of those results to be made by KPU on May 9, 2009.
Although every effort will be made to speedy and efficient review of any formal objections to the results of the legislative round of elections, the KPU readily admits that some challenges may be still under review when people go to the polls to select the President and Vice President.
Help Wanted: U.S. Consular Agent in Bali
Applications Must be in By February 4, 2009.
(1/25/2009) Are you a U.S. Citizen interested in representing your country in Bali?
If so, the United States Government is seeking qualified candidates for the job of U.S. Consular Agent based in Paradise.
Application must be filed before February 4, 2009, for the job which will not start before May 1, 2009.
The man or woman selected for the job will report to the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya and will handle emergency cases of death, violent crimes, hospitalization, injury, illness, incarceration and missing U.S. citizens. More mundane duties encompass accepting U.S. passport applications, notarial services, voter registration information and attending to VIP official visits.
Much Ado About Danau Buyan
Lines Being Drawn in Debate Over the Future Development of the Lake Buyan Area in Buleleng Regency.
(1/25/2009) Bali newspapers are awash with a fierce debate regarding the future use of Lake Buyan in the Buleleng District of North Bali. Badly affected by sedimentation, tourism development and increasing levels of pollution the regency’s Bupati has reportedly formally recommended an investment proposal from a local company, PT Anantara, who have plans to dredge the lake's bottom, build a floating stage for paid entertainment programs, and manage a 900 hectare area to be operated as natural reserves, nature walks and tourist accommodation.
The reaction to the proposed development scheme that will provide revenues for the regency's government, has earned rapid and vociferous opposition from many walks of Balinese society who question the transparency of the proposal process, the possibility of worsening environmental damage and concerns that a floating stage would somehow violent the sacred nature of the lake in the Bali-Hindu cosmos.
Both Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika and Buleleng’s Bupati Bagiada have reacted indignantly to suggestions that their actions seeking to preserve Lake Buyan fail to adequately consider the special place the lake has in the hearts of the Balinese people. Pastika has told the press that the entire matter is under study and that all parties are free to express concerns and opinions, but in the end something definite will have to done to reverse the rapidly deteriorating condition of Lake Buyan, Pastika has warned the public that if something is not done soon, the entire lake will cease to exists under the forces of sedimentation within 10 years.
Bookings Strong Over Chinese New Years
Bali Expecting Many Visitors for Two Weeks from January 24 2009.
(1/9/2009) Many Bali Hotels and Villas are reporting strong booking activity over the Chinese New Year Holidays coming in late January 2009. While the official celebration of Chinese New Year will be marked on Monday, January 26, 2009, the celebration of the changing of Chinese Zodiac stretches for fifteen days.
The Year of the Ox
The Chinese New Year that is ushered in on January 26th will be the “Year of the Ox” – just one animal in a 12 animal Chinese zodiac cycle used to designate the specific character one can expect from the year to come. Meanwhile, the year to which we bid farewell on January 26th will be the "Year of the Rat."
We'll let you decide whether or not to place any credence in these animal associations, based on the kind of year you had over the past twelve months and what kind of year your expecting ahead.
• The Year of the Rat - The Rat, associated with the year now ending, is linked with aggression, wealth, charisma and orderliness. On the downside, the rodent can also bring death, war, black magic, plague and atrocities. The rat represents the first animal of the 12-animal zodiac cycle so those born in that year tend to be first as leaders, trend setters and even generals in battle. In keeping with their station in life, these "rat" people are charismatic, hard working, determined, passionate, and single-minded.
Since rats are alert, cowardly, quick, sly and ambitious - your “Year of the Rat” might have contained any of these characteristics.
• The Year of the Ox - The Ox, representing the year to come, bespeaks prosperity obtained through courage and hard work. Those born under this sign are leaders, dependable and often achieve great things in their lifetimes. They are also persistent and dogged in their determination – trudging on until their goal is eventually achieved. “Ox” people tend to be quiet, kind, compassionate, logical and realistic. Like an old ox, these people are intelligent and determined; and not amenable to being pushed around by anyone.
For the difficult financial year ahead, please remember that the Ox despises extravagance and always lives within his or her means. They do not like debt or credit cards, because they need a peaceful atmosphere without the worries of debt in order to do their best work.
Looking for a Room Over Chinese New Year?
If your seeking accommodation in Bali over the coming Chinese New Year, balidiscovery.com is here to help, regardless of your Chinese Zodiac sign.
[See: Bali Tourism Promotion Budget Reduced for 2009]
[Bali on a Budget]
Khong Hee Fat Choy!
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