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Officials Move Swiftly to Cull Infected Poultry Stocks
Additional cases of bird flu have now been discovered in the Banyubiru area of Negara in Bali. After an initial outbreak in area caused authorities to exterminate 52 poultry owned by 5 local families, new cases discovered on February 20, 2009 have resulted in the destruction of more poultry “numbering in the tens” owned by 3 more Banyubiru families. When an official delegation led by the District Chief of Negara were inspecting the home of Sutarmen, one of the families whose infected poultry were recently destroyed, a report was received from a near neighbor, I Ketut Darmawan, that large numbers of his poultry were dying. The disease control team immediately went to Darmawan’s home where they examined the carcasses of two dead chickens. Using rapid-test equipment the presents of the Avian Flu virus was confirmed, prompting the officials to immediately kill, burn and bury 15 more birds kept by the farmer. Darmawan told beritabali.com: “Since yesterday, one by one of my chickens began to die. I don’t know the reason. I must accept the extermination of my animals for the sake of my health and the health of my family.” Before the fire used to destroy Darmawan’s birds had burnt itself out the team received yet another report regarding birds owned by Nyoman Westrem, a man whose house was just 2 building to the east of Darmawan’s residence. Westrem told the officials that many of his chickens had taken ill and died over the past 4 days causing him to bury the tens of birds in his garden. The officials then went to Westrem’s home and shot all the free ranging poultry and bird which roamed his property. Officials have placed the village in quarantine, forbidding the import or export of poultry into Banyubiru until further notice. The latest outbreak follows by one week cases of the H5N1 virus found in farm poultry in the Abiansemal area. One young man hospitalized with a suspected case of Bird Flu from that area has since been released from hospital and confirmed not to be suffering the Avian Flu.
Bali Economy Grows in 2008
Bali Economy Expanded by Nearly 6% in 2008.
The Jakarta Post reports that Bali’s economy expanded by 5.97% in 2008, a slightly improved performance over 2007 when growth rates his 5.92%. Slightly lower than the national average of 6.06%, a leading Bali economist I Nyoman Erawan of Udayana University saw the Bali’s growth rate as “respectable.” Erawan also said, "the island has not been able to overtake the national growth rate since the Asian financial crisis of the late 90s, but the margin has been trimmed down over the years," Erawan said.”
Indonesia’s Tourism Sector Immuned from Mass Layoffs?
Minister Wacik: Election Year Tourism and Strong Arrivals Will Shield National Tourism from Unemployment.
Bisnis.com reports that workers in Indonesia’s tourism sector are widely assume to be largely immune from dismissal in connection with the ongoing global financial crisis. Demand for tourism products remains relatively strong in the current year, buoyed, in part, by election campaigning taking place across the nation. Indonesia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, told the press that that not only was the hotel sector relatively safe from mass lay-offs, but the transportation and restaurant sectors should be able to sustain until an expected upswing in the economy in the latter part 2009. The Minister sees the possibility of mass lay-offs in tourism as minimal in light of the small increase in tourism revenues achieved in 2008. In 2008 the national tourism income achieved revenues in the vicinity of Rp. 80 trillion (US$7.1 billion), an increase of 16% when compared to 2007. The government is projecting a modest expansion of the Indonesian tourism economy in 2009, growing only by between 1-2%. The Minister remains buoyant that “election year” tourism would positively impact his sector, stating: “the need for hotels and accommodation during the campaign period remains relatively high. This is the case not only in the cities, but also in remote village; bearing in mind that legislative candidates do not only visit cities, but also campaign in remote village areas. In addition to business stimulated by campaign activities, the government is still banking on more than 5 million foreign visitors to come to Bali in 2009.
Will Clinton Visit Spark More U.S. Visitors to Indonesia
Tour Operators Urged to Create Obama Heritage Tours.
The Director General of Marketing for the Department of Culture and Tourism, Sapta Nirwandar, told Bisnis.com that he hoped the recent visit of American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will stimulate U.S. tourism to Indonesia, especially in the fast growing cruise sector. According to Nirwandar, the average expenditure by U.S. tourist in Indonesia, such as the diving sector, can reach us$3,000 in 10 days – a figure that does not include souvenir shopping and air expenditure. He estimated that only some 150,000 American divers visited Indonesian in 2008. In the midst of the current global financial crisis, Nirwandar admitted the U.S. was not seen as a main market for Indonesia. Due to reduced spending power the government has chosen to focus its attention on regional markets as opposed to long-haul traffic. Nonetheless, the tourism official is hoping that the emotional attachment President Barack Obama has with Indonesia where he spent 4 years of his youth can be used to push U.S. travel to Indonesia. What’s more, the United Nation’s World Travel Organization (UNWTO) has even gone so far as to suggest that Indonesia create Obama Heritage Tours to sell to visiting U.S. travelers. Underling President Obama’s close ties with Indonesia, Secretary Clinton took the opportunity to be photographed with students from Grade School No. 1 from Jakarta’s Menteng District, President Obama’s alma mater.Nirwandar is convinced that the enthusiasm shown for America’s new President will cause many U.S. travels who wish to retrace the childhood steps of their current President through Indonesia. Nirwandar has called on the tourism industry to proactively pursue the idea of Obama Heritage Tours, in accordance with the suggestion of the UNWTO and various statements from President Obama who promises a range of “people to people” programs between the Republic of Indonesia and the United States of America. Suggested inclusions for such a tour would have visits to President Obama’s former residence, school, culinary elements and visits to place
Governor Questions Proposed Training Hospital
Governor Pastika Call for Thorough Study of the Need for a Training Hospital in Bali.
As reported on balidiscovery.com, Bali has been slated to be the site for a large training hospital [See: Bali to Get New International Hospital]. Kompas reports that Bali’s Governor Made Mangku Pastika is questioning the absolute need for such a facility in Bali eventually costing millions of dollars to complete. The training hospital represents part of a national plan to enhance medical education across Indonesia via upgrades of 17 medical faculties. Governor Pastika told members of the Provincial House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 24, 2009: “I have nit received any explanation whatsoever regarding the purpose and goal of the new training hospital. I have reservations because the people will certainly be reluctant to go to a hospital if they will be treated like laboratory rabbits in the hands of medical students. He went on the say that as far as he understood the new hospital is part of a plan from the Udayana University, selected as one of 17 sites of higher education, to train doctors. At the same time, he cautions all concerned not to misinterpret his reservations regarding the project as an official rejection. The Governor called on the various parties behind the proposed teaching hospital to study carefully the needs for such a facility. Those various parties, according to the governor, include the Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD), the Udayana University, the Governor’s office and the people who will be living in close proximity to the proposed hospital. The initial allocation of Rp. 75 billion (US$6.7 million) is drawn from the State Budget for 2008 and is part of an overall allocation being given in phases to 17 separate universities across Indonesia. The initial funding in Bali will cover planning, site surveys and construction preparation. In any case, Bali’s governor, University officials and local legislators have yet to arrive at a shared vision that will allow the project to go ahead. One point of contention is the location for the hospital, whether the hospital can be built near the current Udayana Campus at Bukit, Jimbaran, at the site of a government owned textile factory in Tohpati near Sanur or at the current waste disposal dump in Suwung. The central government from Jakarta has given their counterparts in Bali two months to come to a decision on the new hospital. Meanwhile the Chairman of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD), Wisnawa, has told the press that pending further investigation of the project he is unable to give his recommendation in support of the project to the governor’s office or representatives from Udayana University.
MRA Bali International Triathlon June 28, 2009
MRA Bali International Triathlon Returns For 3rd Year to Jimbaran Beach.
Embarking on its third successful year, the MRA Bali International Triathlon will return to Jimbaran Bay where it has become a regular fixture on the international sporting calendar. The only open annual triathlon event held on the popular island resort, the MRA Bali International Triathlon is sponsored by the MRA group of companies and generously supported by the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay. In 2008 the MRA Bali International Triathlon attracted more than 350 athletes and 2000 spectators from around the world, numbers the organizers hope to duplicate in 2009 due to the growing popularity of the sport both in the region and internationally. The Olympic distance event held in Bali includes a 1.5 km swim in Jimbaran Bay, a 40 km bike race down the island’s southernmost peninsula and a 10 km run through the traditional Balinese communities surrounding the bay. As in year’s past, the race will be open to both individual athletes and corporate relays comprised of teams of three. A simultaneous 5km fun run will also be held during the event which is headquartered at the transition area on the beach in Jimbaran where food, drink, a merchandise bazaar and live music will all be on offer throughout the morning of June 28th. Complete race information and registration on line are available at
[www.balitriathlon.com]. Exciting cash prizes, trophies and merchandise will be given to winners in the various gender and age divisions including a 6-day, 5-night package in a One Bedroom Villa at Four Seasons Resorts Jimbaran Bay to both the first male and female athletes to finish the triathlon race. The Four Seasons Resorts at Jimbaran Bay is offering special packages on their private estates to athletes and families. Another Jimbaran supporter, Intercontinental Bali Resort is located within walking distance of race central and is also offering special packages to triathlon participant. For complete information on accommodation packages, please visit:
[http://www.balitriathlon.com/travel.html ]. About the MRA Group PT Mugi Rekso Abadi (MRA), an Indonesian Group of 35 diversified leading companies featuring products and services geared to a modern lifestyle. Well positioned to meet the needs of Indonesia’s growing upwardly mobile market segment, MRA’s portfolio of businesses contains leading national print media including: Cosmopolitan, Esquire, FHM, Fitness, Men’s Fitness, and Bali & Beyond Magazine Broadcast media: Hard Rock Radio Stations in Jakarta and Bali. Lifestyle & Entertainment products: Bulgari Jewelry and Bang & Olufsen. Food & Beverage: Hard Rock Café and Haagen Dazs Ice Cream. Automotive: Harley Davidson Motorcycle and Ferrari Maserati. Hotel & Properties: Bulgari Hotels & Resorts (Bali). For more information on MRA Group, please visit [www.mra.co.id]. About Bali International Triathlon LLCGeneric Events, Strom & Associates, and Bali Discovery Tours combined their resources to create this special event, the first of its kind on the island of Bali. Bali Discovery Tours is a Bali’s leading tour & destination management company in Bali. Generic Events is a leading international event production company producing such events as the XTERRA Trail Run SoCal Series, Zoot Playa del Run Aquathlon SeriesSaint John’s Santa Monica 5000 and the Pasadena Triathlon. For more information, visit their website at [www.genericevents.com].
Unfortunate Coincidence for Indonesian Aviation
Lion Crashes in Batam as EU Aviation Safety Auditors Arrive to Reconsider European Blacklisting of Indonesian Aircraft.
On the very same day that an aviation safety team from the European Union arrive in Jakarta to review whether it is finally time to lift the blacklisting of Indonesian registered aircraft from flying over EU airspace a Lion Air MD-90 performed a crash-landing on Batam island, minus it nose gear wheel. There were no injuries in the incident which must have created a non-conducive atmosphere for Indonesian aviation officials desperately trying to persuade auditors that they could trust Indonesian aviators and their aircraft. The case for Indonesia was also not help by the ill-considered comments of Indonesia’s Director General of Air Transportation, Budi Suyitno, who analyzed the Batam mishap for the press by saying: “It is an old plane that could have hidden defects which inspectors couldn’t identify, The older the plane, the more the problems. The risk is always there and for the Lion Air incident, the problem was that one of the levers for the wheel hatch was broken, which caused the plane’s forward landing gear to stick.” The landing gear lever, he said, “is at a place where it is difficult to find by the inspectors.” Suyitno’s comments could hardly be considered helpful in encouraging EU auditors to lift the flight ban in place since June 2007. In the past EU auditors have given high marks to a number of Indonesian carriers for the safety and security procedures now in operation but continue to question the efficacy of government aviation regulatory authorities.
An Exhibition of Paintings by Victoria Renaux at Ganesha Gallery March 12 – April 13, 2009.
A nomad by nature with one foot in the West and another in the East, Victoria Renaux travels eventually brought her to the island of Bali. After two years living in the south of the island, she traveled to the less developed north where she introduced children living in an orphanage in Singaraja to art, not by teaching them to paint in any particular style but by urging them to explore their own imaginations. The results were remarkable and
although the budding young artists were indirectly influenced by their teachers art, the results of their artistic endeavors were highly individual. Victoria claims that her silk paintings are the direct extension of her meditation practice and, as a result, she has refused to sign them feeling they belong to a far greater collective consciousness. Her fluid, surrealistic images are dominated by the human face and body swirling in
vivid colors. On some she has written rune-like imaginary inscriptions. Her painting are, on one level, the spontaneous inner visions of an autodidact. Light Dance Ganesha Gallery at the Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay March 2 – April 13, 2009 Open Daily.
Carla Petzold-Beck in Charge at The Legian
GHM Names Veteran Hotelier to Head their Seminyak Properties.
Carla Petzold-Beck has been named General Manager of The Legian and The Club at The Legian by General Hotel Management (GHM), effective February 2, 2009. Carla brings extensive hotel management, eco-tourism and property investment experience to her Bali role where she will be responsible for the resort’s 66 suites as well as The Club at The Legian. She replaces Andreas Herbst, who has moved to The Saujana in Kuala Lumpur, another General Hotel Management (GHM) resort. Throughout her 14-year career, Carla has acquired an understanding of the running and finances of hotels at every level, earning senior management positions at leading properties in Europe, Central America and Southeast Asia. Most recently, Carla was General Manager of the GHM-operated Carcosa Seri Negara in Kuala Lumpur, where she was responsible for a 13-suite historic boutique hotel with 90 staff members. Prior to that, she oversaw the pre-opening and opening of Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge, one of Latin America’s most renowned agro-tourism hotels. As General Manager of the 5-star resort, she was responsible for all operations, pre-opening purchasing, coordination with the management company and owners, and the hiring and training of 50 staff members. Fluent in German, English, French and Spanish - Carla completed her hotel management education at Cornell University in New York. Following graduation she began her career in Europe, where she held senior management positions at hotels in Germany, France and Switzerland.
Indonesia Air Space: an Increasing Safer Place to Fly
No Commercial Air Fatalities Since Garuda Crash of March 7, 2007.
Measured in terms of passenger fatalities, Indonesian skies are becoming an increasing -safer place. The last fatal air incident was the crash landing of a Garuda B737-300 at Yogyakarta’s Adi Sucipto Airport on March 7, 2007 in which 22 passengers died. That’s nearly two-years of fatality-free flying. Here’s a brief summary of commercial aircraft fatalities since 2004: • 2004 - 25 fatalities on November 30th with the crash of a Lion Air MD-82. • 2005 - 14 fatalities on December 12th with the crash of a GT Air DH-6 • 2005 – 111 fatalities on September 25th with the crash of a Mandala Airlines B737-200 • 2006 – 9 fatalities on November 17th with the crash of a Trigana Air Service DHC-6 • 2007 – 118 fatalities on January 1, 2007 with the crash of an Adam Air B737-300.
Lion Air Tops Domestic Passenger Totals in 2009
Aggressive New Comer Displaces Garuda’s Dominance in Flying Domestic Passengers.
In 2008 a total of 9.14 million domestic passengers took a commercial flight within Indonesia. The deregulation of commercial aviation in Indonesia has given consumers choices and competitive pricing unimaginable just a few years before. A recap of passengers carried provided by the Indonesian Department of Transportation reports that Garuda Indonesia is no longer the busiest domestic air carrier, having been displaced by the aggressive newcomer Lion Air who carried 19.5% more passengers than the state-owned national carrier. In fact, if the total passengers carried by the Lion Air and its subsidiary of Wing Air are combined the gap over Garuda widens to 49.7%. Here’s a recap of total domestic passengers carried by domestic Indonesian airlines in 2008, based on figure provided by the Department of Transportation: • Lion Air - 9.147,942 • Wing Abadi - 2,328.508 • Garuda Indonesia - 7,665,390 • Batavia Air - 4,771,272 • Sriwijaya Air - 4,272,876 • Manadala Airlines - 3,449,218 • Merpati Nusantara - 2,477,173 • Indonesia AirAsia - 1,503,672 • Trigana Air Service - 702,718 • Linus Airways - 268,203 • Travel Express - 267,371 • Riau Airlines - 232,248 • Kalstar Aviation- 16,913 • Indonesia Air Transport - 7,548
Standing on Hallowed Ground
Editorial: Following a Recent Visit to Mumbai, J.M. Daniels Reflects on A Remarkable Hotel and the People Who Work at the Taj Mahal Hotel.
As reported on balidiscovery.com, I was privileged in late February to travel to Mumbai as the guest of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) India Chapter with the generous support of Jet Airways and the Taj Mahal Group.See: From Bali to Bombay with Love]. That trip allowed me to share my Bali-based observations with members of the Indian travel industry on the revival and recovery of a destination following acts of terror. Prior to my departure, I was inundated by report on CNN an other media serving a daily fare of film clips showing the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower on fire and under terrorist siege. Less than 3 months before, the attack on Mumbai from November 26 -29, 2008, left 164 civilians and security personnel and 9 terrorists dead. Gunfire and explosives during the same attack also resulted in more than 308 people wounded. Recorded among the dead were 28 foreigners hailing from 10 countries. Not quite sure what to expect staying at a hotel so recently visited by death and destruction, I was delighted to find the grand old lady of Mumbai still sparkling, showing the all proud defiance and determination that have seen the Taj weather the many storms over the past century since first opening its doors in 1903. Now, much of the older original wing is ensconced behind temporary partitions shielding engineers and builders repairing the damage done by fire and gunmen. However, in the rest of the hotel life goes on with guests enjoying luxurious accommodation in of the Tower wing; dine in some of Mumbai’s most outstanding restaurants; meet friends in the city’s premier private members' club; swim in the central oasis that houses the Taj’s pool; shop in the Hotel’s fine array of branded stores; get pampered in the Jiva spa or work up a sweat in the well-equipped sports club. Nonethless, terror, as is its wont, has left its mark. Guests and visitors now disembark on the street side and pass through no less than 3 security screenings before arriving in the hotel's lobby. Every floor of accommodation is manned by a round-the–clock security guard keeping a watchful eye on all comings and goings. And bathed in the the tropical sun, a marble monument stands in the lobby’s water garden bearing the names of guests and staff members who died in the November attack. Nearby, a large book rests on a pedestal where hotel visitors pen written tributes to the Hotel and those who work there. Other poignant traces of the tragic events of just 3 months before are also present; less tangible, but no less felt. There were heroic stories of chefs executed by terrorists for guiding guests down back passages to safety. Tales also abounded of hotel staff who continued to care for hostages, seemingly oblivious that their lives were also at mortal risk. An evening meal enjoyed on the Taj’s roof top terrace overlooking the iconic India Gate, humbled me in the realization we were being served by surviving staff members who, inarguably and demonstrably, put customer care and comfort before all else. There was also the unforgettable and very awkward speechless moment sharing a drink with the Hotel’s General Manager, Karambir Singh Kang, who tended to guests and staff members in the immediate aftermath of the attack despite the loss of his wife Niti and two sons, Uday (14) and Samar (5) in the November attack. Service that Goes Beyond the Call of Duty As a former hotelier, I firmly beliieve that if I am allowed to sit quietly for 10-15 minutes in the lobby or outlet of any hotel I can obtain a pretty accurate assessment of the personality of the property's general manager nerely by observing how the rank and file staff engage their guests. Without fail, I have found that courteous and attentive staff take their lead from a man or woman at the helm displaying those same attributes. Similarly, the stories I could share of the exemplary service I encountered during my 4 days at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower are mirror reflections of the remarkable Mr. Karimbar and the dedicated team who work under him. Butlers who insisted on helping in the packing and unpacking process; and endless parade of choclates and fruits that appeared each afternoon in my suite; gym attendants who guided you through an excellent array of exercise equipment; staff members who would never point the way, but insisted on personally guiding you to your next hotel destination; chefs who consulted guests, asking how they's like their food prepared; and the pianist at a magnificent 100-year-old Steinway in the lobby who paused a song to ask if I had a request. I am professionally and personally inclined to be critical of every element of the hospitality service industry. In truth, the only down note I can sound on ny Taj Mahal Palace and Tower experience is that 4 days seems to pass by at a faster pace when staying there. This weary sojourner has nothing but praise and admiration for Mr. Karimbar and his splendid co-workers in Mumbai. The Taj Mahal Palace & Hotel’s defiant response to terror has left no doubt the “good guys” came out the undisputed winners in the latest battle with the forces of evil
Hotel and Restaurant Taxes Underpaid in Gianyar
Local Leader Thinks Hotel and Restaurant Taxes May Be Under-collected by as Much as 95%.
The number and range of hotels and restaurants in operation in the Gianyar region of Bali has members has caused the Chairman of the Tri Hita Karana Awards, Berata Ashrama to tell regional legislators that tax collection falls far below realistic levels. Quoted in Bali Post, Ashrama considers the number of expensive boutique properties, hotels and local guest houses found in and around Ubud as proof that current tax collection is below par. Said Ashrama: “What’s more, we have hotels that we calculate should be paying Rp. 5 billion (US$446,000) are only paying taxes equal to 5% of that amount. There are many cases like this in Gianyar.” He has called on Gianyar officials to undertake a survey of accommodation, occupancy rates, tariffs, shopping, restaurants and spas in operation in Gianyar. In this way, Ashrama feels that officials will get a cleared picture of the “real” tax potential and the amount of underpayment now taking place. The Bali Post article also pointed out that the current Bupati of Gianyar is a hotel owners and well-known tourism leader who should be aware of the potential of the tourism sector to increase much needed regional tax revenues.
A Truly Grand Opening at Bali's St. Regis
February 28, 2009 Official Grand Opening Celebration of St. Regis Bali Resort, A Party to Remember.
A select gathering of 200 business guests, socialites and media were privileged to be on hand for the official inauguration of the 132 suite and villa St. Regis Bali Resort on Saturday night, February 29, 2009. Adopting a diamonds and pearls theme and starting before sunset at 5:45 p.m., guests were welcomed in the Resort's lobby where fine champagne, canapés, dollops of caviar and freshly shucked oysters set an opulent mood as well-know violinist Sally Jo of Saharaja entertained the celebrants.
Shortly after sunset, two regal phalanxes of young men and women carrying torches passed through the lobby, setting into motion the now famous nightly lighting of the resort by a troupe of fire dancers. Both Illuminated and enthralled, the invited glitterati then turned their attention to the lobby's main staircase where Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, accompanied by representatives of the St. Regis group, the owning company and hotel's management were armed with scissors to perform the de rigueur ribbon cutting, heralding bigger things ahead for both that evening and the long-history-to-come of Bali's newest luxury property. Cocktails continued at the Resort's open-air ballroom foyer. Among the cocktails on offer were Bloody Mary's - a drink whose creation is credited to Fernand Petiot, the legendary bartender who reigned in the 1930s in King Cole Room at the St. Regis in New York. Brief speeches by Minister Wacik and hotel dignataries prefaced the much-awaited first of two sets performed by Jazz sensation Jamie Cullum. The multi-talented, award-winning recording artists Cullum was flown in from London especially for the evening, adding a special degree of excitment to an already very special occasion. Cullum used his trademark "stompbox" syncopation in combination with a bass drum installed under the grand piano to drive a selection of modern hits and jazz evergreens. Both charismatic and infective in his musicality, whenever the mood moved the diminutive 29-year old singing star, he would even use the piano wooden frame to beat out rhythms, go directly to the strings to pluck a tune by hand or, in one instance, end a set by climbing on top of the piano before leaping down to an appreciative crowd. Between musical sets on the terraced foyer, the Resort's adjacent ballroom presented a gourmet selection of plated delicacies including sashimi, beef tenderloin, lobster, scallops and, of course, more caviar. A separate side-room hosted a tempting display of pastries, hand-dipped chocolates and a chocolate fondue fountain. Moving into overkill territory in terms of caloric consumption, a troupe of chefs later wheeled a 2-meter tall tiered cake sifficient in size to most of South Bali. Encircled with blocks of white chocolate, each tier of the cake overflowed with piles of exotic berries ranging from boysenberries, fresh strawberries, blueberries to raspberries. Veteran hotelier, Frank Beck is the general manager of the magnificent property who, together with his team, are seeking to "wow" a whole new generation of Bali visitors. Shown on balidiscovery.com are snapshots taking at the grand opening party of the St. Regis Bali Resort.
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