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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #657 - 13 april 2009

EU Aviation Ban Has Cost Garuda US$9 Million.
Ban Makes it Hard for Indonesian Carriers to Sell Domestic Sectors or Form Code-Share Alliances.

Jakarta Globe quotes the national carrier Garuda Indonesia as claiming to be losing US$9 million every year as a result of the ongoing European Unions (EU) blacklist of Indonesian aviation.
Emirsyah Satar, CEO of Garuda, says that his airline has lost "between US$750,000 and US$1.5 a month" since the ban was introduced in July 2007.
Although Garuda does not fly to Europe, the ban is impacting negatively on Indonesian domestic flights which can't be sold or booked by many European travel agents and the inability of Garuda to enter into code-sharing agreements with European carriers while the blacklisting remains in place.
Indonesia is hopeful that the recent passage of a new aviation law and the appointment of a new Director General of Civil Aviation will pave the way for a possible lifting of the aviation ban in June 2009.
Related Article
[Indonesian Aviation Ban Likely to Stay Until at Least June]


Landing in Jail
Garuda Pilot Sentenced to 2 Years in Jail for Negligence in March 2007 Yogyakarta Fatal Crash.

In the first case of its kind, an Indonesian captain-pilot has been sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of negligence in the crash landing of a Garuda Indonesia Jakarta-Yogyakarta flight in March 2007 that caused the death of 21 people.
Captain Marwoto Komar stood trial in the Slemen District Court where a panel of judges determined he had repeatedly ignored automated alarm systems while landing his Boeing 737 at a high rate of speed before running off the end of the runway where the plane burst into flames.
Prosecutors had sought a four year sentence in the case.
The decision to try the pilot in the criminal court has been widely criticized in national aviation circles who questioned both the competence and the authority of a district criminal court to sit in judgment during a highly technical flight review.
The pilot's lawyers have indicated they will immediately file an appeal of the 2 year sentence. Jakarta Globe reports that Marwoto's lawyer, Assegaf, cited the panel of judges' failure to follow the Convention on International Civil Aviation that stipulates accident investigation reports can not be used to ascribe blame, but only to determine cause. Indonesia is a party to that Convention.
An accident report prepared by the National Transportation Safety Committee cited the pilot for failing to heed 14 alerts and warnings, in addition to two verbal warnings from his co-pilot calling for the landing to be aborted.
Among the dead in the mishap were a number of Australians. The 2 year sentence was deemed "very light" by former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

A Call for a Halt to New Strip Malls and Hotels in Bali
State Planning Minister Joins Bali Legislators in Demanding a Freeze on Large Tourism Investments.

Indonesia's Minister State Minister for National Development Planning and National Development Planning Board Chairman, Paskah Suzetta, has warned Bali's leaders to stop granting permits for strip malls in Bali. Quoted in Radar Bali, Suzetta told a public hearing on development planning in Bali: "I ask that Bali's governor no longer grant permits for 'ruko' (strip malls) and for big hotels in Bali. Bali is already crowded with rukos that have popped up everywhere."
The planning minister said that if people still want to create tourism accommodation they should not undertake big projects. He went on to call for a "people's based tourism" using small homes and buildings made from traditional materials. Suzetta add: "This involves the environment. I am sad to see Bali build rukos and large hotels. Eventually the character of Bali will be lost. While modifications may be needed, don't make hotels out of concrete."
In a separate article in Radar Bali, Denpasar's town council endorsed Suzetta's comments, even if to do so would decrease local tax revenues. The city counselors claimed that Bali's governor should not be reluctant to call a halt to issuing building permits for hotels and ruko, insisting that any loss in tax revenues could be addressed in closer control of the existing tax asset base.
A member of Commission A of the Denpasar Council, I Ketut Agung Nurjaya, complained that each year the open land area of Denpasar decreases in the face on non-stop physical development. He also warned that the uncontrolled construction of new hotels will eventually lead to unhealthy competition in the accommodation sector.
Nurjaya also criticized the uncontrolled building of rukos or strip malls, claiming too many were being built resulting in a number of half-completed empty ruko projects. Calling for a halt to new permits for rukos, Nurjaya said that the green open areas within Denpasar should be held at the 35% level.
Meanwhile, zoning officials in Denpasar have expressed little interest in curbing the island’s growth. The chief of the Zoning and Residential Service (DTRP), I Kadek Kusuma Diputra, told Radar Bali that his department have no current plans to discuss and consider the recommendation of National Planning Board Chairman. Explained Diputra: "Any decision to stop issuing building permits (IMB) for rukos and hotels depends on the polices established by the local government and elected representative. It's not my place to answer these questions."
When pressed to provide a count on the total number of rukos in Bali, Diputra revealed there are two sets of data on this subject. One for the number built before the building permit division was established and another for the period after its establishment. Pressed further to reveal those numbers, he told the press: "Excuse me. Ask me again tomorrow. It's time to go home."


Australian Travel Warning: Book Early
Lured by Value-for-Money, Australians are Flocking to Bali in Record Numbers.

Bucking the current worldwide downturn in travel, Australians continue to flock to Bali seeking value for money.
Australian travelers to Bali during the first two months of 2009 totaled 48,068 a 34.64% increase over totals for the same period in 2008 (35,701).
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, overseas travel by Australians has shrunk by 2% since August 2008. Indonesia and Bali, however, have bucked this downward trend with travel booming despite unfavorable travel warnings issued from Department of Foreign Affairs. Underlining the migration of travelers to a destination identified for "value for money," Australian holidaymakers coming to Indonesia have overtaken figures for those traveling to the U.S.A., Britain and Thailand. Indonesia has become the 2nd most popular holiday destination after New Zealand for Australians traveling abroad.
Quoted in The Age, the Australian marketing coordinator for Garuda Indonesia explained the surge in Bali travel by commenting, "it's because it's affordable. . . many people who might have gone further afield will go to Bali instead."
The Age article also underlined how Garuda, is adding flights between Australia and Bali while airlines are curtailing service in other areas of the world. That article also reports that bookstores have run out of travel guides to Indonesia, "even though the Government warns us to reconsider your need to travel there."


Indonesia Puts Out the Welcome Mat
Landing Fees and Ground Handling Charges Restructured to Increase Flight Frequencies at Indonesia's Airports.

Travel Trade Gazette (TTG) reports that the government of Indonesia is adopting an unusually pro-active stance to assist international airlines serving the country.
To keep Indonesian airports competitive, the international per passenger route charge has been reduced from US$0.65 to US$0.55 and taxes waived for flights, avio bridges, container and passenger handling charges. Also waived were tariffs for landing, placement and parking services (PJP4U).
According to TTG, to encourage high flight frequencies the PJP4U tariff has been waived from March 1 until September 30, 2009, for new international routes and additional frequencies using Hasanuddin Airport in Makassar, Sepinggan in Balikpapan and Sam Ratulangi in Manado.
Meanwhile, progressive discounts on landing fees, effective through September 30, 2009, are being given to new air routes and frequencies using Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, Juanda Airport in Surabaya, Adisucipto Airport in Yogyakarta and Adisumarno in Solo. In a move to encourage promotion of new routes, better service and lower fares - a discount of 30% on landing fees will be extended to airplanes operating with load capacities between 50% and 70%, a 40% discount for planes with load factors between 71% and 80%, and a discount of 50% for airplanes achieving an 80% load factor.


A Mixed Picture on Unemployment
Government Boasts Lower Rates of Unemployment While Some Bali Exporters Begin Layoffs.

While Bali's governor opened a development planning meeting on Monday, April 6, 2009, by applauding declining unemployment levels in Bali, other reports in the Bali press portend a more worrying wave of layoffs in Bali's export-oriented sector may be ahead.
As reported in Kompas.com, the number of jobs in Bali at the end of 2008 totaled 2.02 million, an increase of 2.4% over the 2007 total of 1.9 million positions.
Governor Pastika said: "This condition has reduced unemployment levels in Bali." The governor said that unemployment at the end of 2008 stood at 3.1%, well below the anticipated unemployment rate of 4.2%. He said this exemplary performance reflects the improving condition of Bali's tourism sector which is creating new employment opportunities both in the formal and informal sectors.
Government figures also claim that the number of people living below the poverty line in Bali stood at 215,700 at the end of 2008, down from the 229,100 "poor" on the books at the end of 2007.
Against these improvements, Pastika told the press that poverty remains a severe problem in Bali's remote villages. The governor is hopeful that the 5.97% rate of economic growth achieved in 2008 can be sustained through 2009.
More Reports of Mass Layoffs
In the face of the statistical evidence of improving employment prospects at the end of 2008, reports in NusaBali suggests a growing wave of layoffs in Bali's export sector may now be underway:
PT Karya Tangan Indah, the manufacturing arm for world famous John Hardy Jewelry, had terminated 130 workers through the end of 2008 leaving 520 workers still employed at their workshops.
• Furniture manufacturer PT Warisan in Seminyak has reduced the working hours of their staff.
Jenggala Keramik has reduced their staff by 30 workers.
Members of Commission D of the Badung House of Representatives claim dismissals at this stage of the developing global financial crisis are not needed and are calling on the Bali Department of Manpower undertake financial audits of any company seeking to undertake mass layoffs at this time.


If Pigs Can Fly, Could they Please Fly Somewhere Else?
Australian Tourist Arrested, Blacklisted and Deported for Acting Up on Melbourne to Bali Flight.

Garuda 719 flying from Melbourne to Denpasar on Friday, April 3, 2009, had an unwanted episode of in-flight entertainment when 38-year-old Australian, Robert John Grant, became disorderly at 30,000 feet.
15 minutes before its scheduled landing in Bali, the Australian man angrily refused to return to chair and buckle his seat belt to prepare for landing. When the flight's purser repeated the request, Grant reportedly struck the cabin crew member.
Both crew and fellow passengers saw the man as a threat to safety, causing them to physically restrain Grant until the plane landed in Bali where security forces were on stand-by.
Earlier in the flight, the man had pinched the cheek of a 20-year-old stewardess after being refused an order of whiskey and serving himself from a service trolley.
In Bali, when a hand-cuffed Grant was removed from the aircraft and placed in an immigration office at Bali's airport, he continued his charm offensive by breaking a glass window and striking a security officer.
Must Have Been Something He Drank?
Grant's plea of diminished responsibility due to intoxication gained little sympathy from Bali authorities who immediately deported that man and placed him on a aviation and immigration blacklist making a future visit to Bali problematic.
Through his immediate deportation, Grant, however, did manage side-step a legal process that could have ended in a prison sentence for his loutish behavior.


A Bali Cover Up
Police Ask Scantily-Clad Motorcyclists to Cover Up.

The Chief of the Bali Police, Inspector General Teuku Ashikin Husein, has renewed his call for closer scrutiny and control over scantily glad tourists riding motorcycles on Bali's streets.
The Chief told his officers, "for now is enough to give them a warning and give them a t-shirt to wear."
The top policeman in Bali was quick to suggest his officers be on guard against unwanted side effects of his order. Smiling, he warned: "We'd be wrong if local residents all headed for the streets with half-naked bodies in order to get a free shirt. Let’s not have them happen, it could bankrupt us."
According to Kompas.com, Chief Ashikin called on the people of Bali to guard the island’s purity: "Free Bali from those things which can pollute the island, such as narcotics, free sex and other factors such as tourists wearing little clothes driving around our cities."
Not Against the Law
The Police Chief has asked his officers to politely approach tourists seen wearing swimming suits on public streets. Ashikin explained: "I was asked by the director of the traffic police if there is law against motorcycle riders not wearing clothing. The answer is no. "All we have is a rule against those failing to wear a helmet."
"Because this is not addressed in our traffic laws, all the police can do is try to reduce the number by applying persuasive pressure and giving guidance to the tourists who are inadequately dressed," added Ashikin.
What's Next?
Some local observers wonder if the moves to cover the bodies of visiting motorcyclists might spread to other areas, dissuading tourists from walking the streets shirtless or in swimming suits, or compelling visitors to refrain from drinking beer while walking down the busy streets of Bali?


When You're, Hot You're Hot 2009!
Two Indonesian Properties Named to Conde Nast 2009 List of 'Hot' New Hotels.

The prestigious Conde Nast Traveller "Hot List 2009" is out listing the 70 top new hotels operating around the world.
Two Indonesian hotels managed to make the "Hot List" for 2009:
Hotel Tugu Lombok - Ranked #25 in the list of the Hot 70 – this property, according to Conde Nast,: "seeks nothing less than to recreate the ancient Hindu kingdom of Majapahit which once ruled Lombok. An Indonesian-owned property, it combines cultural sensitivity with global standards of luxury. The lobby is a carved, 100-year-old wooden house, incorporating Malay, Chinese and colonial influences and stocked with funky antiques. Meals are taken in a soaring pavilion by the pool, presided over by fanciful sculptures of Hindu deities. The 18 spacious bungalows are positioned around lavish tropical gardens and shaded walkways, recreating the tranquil atmosphere of a secluded, colonial-era compound, with solid, hand-hewn furniture and oversized copper bathtubs in outdoor bathrooms. The seven Bhagavat Gita suites have separate bath-houses with bucket showers; in front of each, a private garden with a plunge pool opens onto the flawless, powdery-white Sire Beach. The Hening Swarga Spa is in a faithful replica of a 10th-century Hindu temple, and guests can also opt for massages in the forest next to a waterfall. Hotel Tugu is surrounded by traditional farming villages and virgin jungle; the only contemporary note is the 18-hole golf course.
For more information: [Hotel Tugu Lombok]
St. Regis Bali Resort = Ranked #53 in the listing of the Hotel 70 – this property is described as : "the newest resort hotel in Bali, and probably the biggest. Beyond its impressive entrance (hundreds of palm trees culminating in an epic lobby designed by US landscape architect Bill Bensley), the hotel continues to deliver the goods. Set in nine hectares of prime beachfront property in Nusa Dua, the St Regis has 97 suites, 24 villas (some on the sand, others around lagoon-like pools) and the two enormous Strand Residences. There's 24-hour butler service and - nice touch, this - a deli where you can choose wine, cheese and any other goodies you want; thereafter your butler will stock up. Chef Oscar Perez oversees beachfront restaurant Kayuputi, where his degustation menu has gained him a reputation as the hottest chef in Bali; the sommelier Harald Wiesmann (who also writes poetry) knows his wines intimately, and his Bali Mary packs a serious punch. The Remède spa has 12 beautiful massage rooms with backlit, cut-out butterfly screens, and glass domes like silvery moons. There is more than a touch of Vegas in the scale and style of the St Regis (especially at night, when torches light the main pool as if in homage to Cecil B DeMille), but it still manages to feel intimate, especially when you are ensconced in your suite
For more information: [The St. Regis Bali Resort]
To See the complete "Hot List" [Conde Nast Hot List]


Bali Chic – at a Bookstore Near You
A Guide to Pursuing the Ultimate Life Style in Paradise Published by Editions Didier Miller.

The English writer and critic, James Laver (1899-1975) provided a penetrating insight into fashion and style when he said: "The same dress is indecent ten years before its time; daring one year before its time; chic (contemporarily seductive) in its time; dowdy five years after its time; hideous twenty years after its time; amusing thirty years after its time; romantic one hundred years after its time; beautiful one hundred and fifty years after its time."
Akin to capturing fireflies in a jar, any book that sets out to define chic is doomed to a short shelf-life; the story it tells flickers and quickly fades, superseded by the latest trend in fashion and style. Despite being highly perishable, books attempting to describe "chic" provide a snapshot frozen in time of contemporary life - the tastes, mores and pastimes that color modern life.
Bali Chic
Didier Millet's new edition Bali Chic is a sumptuous tour de force of the currently trendiest gathering hotels, villas, restaurants, shops, galleries and spas populating Bali's "in list." Hard-core Bali devotees will justifiably argue that such a book – cataloging style and taste on what is arguably the most favored island pied-à-terre for globe-trotting glitterati, is in fact a how-to-do life style guide for those not fortunate enough to live on Bali.
Hyperbole? Yes, perhaps, but forgiveable on an island that prides itself on repeatedly being named the world's most preferred tropical island destination. And, at the very least, this book does lives up to its publisher's claim of being "the savvy travellers best companion."
Available in leading bookstores and on-line book stores.
Bali Chic
Edited by Melisa Teo, Editions Didier Millet Pte Ltd, Singapore, 2008
isbn-13-978-981-4217-10-1

[The Chic Collection Website]


Interview with Jack Daniels
'Now Bali' Interviews Bali Discovery's President Director and the Editor of Bali Update.

The March issue of Now Bali carried the following interview with www.balidiscovery.com's President Director.
The Interview: Jack Daniels
John Daniels (or Jack as he is affectionately known) is a very well know figure in Bali Tourism circles. His "Bali Update" is read across the globe by travel professionals and people who just want to stay in touch with their beloved Bali. Here Jack reveal a little about his history, his work and his motivation.
Q: How long have you been in Bali and what brought you here. Am I right in thinking this was the "Call of the Sea"?
A:I first came to Bali as a university student in 1973. I've lived continuously in Indonesia since early 1977. I opened an office in Bali in the early 1980s with the launch of the Spice Island Cruises, and moved here from Jakarta on a full time basis in 1994.
Q: What happened to the "Bali Dancer", as I recall this was an marvelous experience quite unique in the world?
A: Over the course of a 15 year stint spent in developing cruising, I was involved in the operation of 4 ships. The last was the “Oceanic Odyssey” - a five star vessel that ceased operations in late 1999. That was a difficult time in Indonesia’s history with tidal changes taking place on the political scene. The short version of why we stopped operations was a tragic lack of clarity in how customs laws were going to be applied to our business at the time. A sudden request from a regional official for a tax payment that we were certain did not apply and the subsequent failure to get a single written response to a letter written to at least three ministries of the government seeking clarification spelled the end of the venture. This lack of a response from the Central Government in the face of an attractive purchase offer to purchase our ship left the owner's little choice but to sell our ship and close the company. Despite all this, I remain a firm believer in Indonesia's essential viability as a cruise center.
Q: Now cruising to Komodo is mostly by "the traditional fleet" of converted Phinisi, is this still an experience you would recommend?
A: Definitely. Komodo and the rest of Indonesia remain one of the best travel experiences available anywhere in the world today.
Q: Moving on to your next career- your third I believe since you started as an hotelier – tell us about Bali Discovery Tours. When did you start this? What areas do you concentrate on?
A: Only three? Let's see – I've been a radio announcer, worked as bartender, labored as a mortician's assistant while attending school, taught University, had speaking roles in at least 6 or 7 Indonesian films, managed sales for an U.S. airline in two countries, managed a large office building, ran a cruise company and now co-manage Bali Discovery Tours.
Bali Discovery Tours was started by Arie Sukirno and I after the closure of Spice Island Cruises. We are a destination management company that operates several successful e-commerce sites; publish a yearly catalog for Bali's meeting and conference industry; produce an award-winning weekly newsletter, provide destination management services to overseas wholesalers; handle port arrangements for international cruise ships; provide tourism consultancy services and provide comprehensives services to the meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition sector.
Q: Now let's get to the real focus of our discussion "Bali Update". How did this come about? What made you start this?
A: More than 10 years ago, while still running Spice Island Cruises and serving as the Chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), I started sending emails to friends providing a local view of what was happening in Indonesia. CNN and other media tended to over-dramatize Indonesian news, claiming the entire country was covered in haze and showing old archive films of riots and civil unrest. I merely offered a foil to journalist who didn't get the story right and made sure that people knew Bali remained an enjoyable holiday destination. Local hotels and travel agents started quoting my coverage to their clients, people began asking to be included on the mailing list and now, 10 years later, we've got more than 19,000 subscribers, have been labeled as "Bali's Truth Ministry" by TIME magazine and won the PATA Gold Award as the Asia-Pacific's Best tourism newsletter in 2007. Much of the world's travel media now regularly quote our coverage of tourism news in Indonesia.
Q: Now you have 19,000 readers worldwide, are these all travel agents and travel professionals or there just some people who love staying in touch with Bali?
A: Anyone can subscribe. We’ve got foreign leaders, Indonesian cabinet members, journalists, students, average travelers and subscribers hailing from almost every country in the world on our distribution list which continues to grow.
Q: The question on everyone's lips is "how do you get such quick, high level access to information? How do you manage to get your sources?"
A:We surf over 40 major websites every day and I read 6 Indonesian papers in search of news that impacts Bali tourism. With the exception of an occasional editorial, most of our articles are recaps and/or free translations of news that appears in other media which we invariably cite in our attribution.
Q: What about writing? Do you write it yourself or this a team effort? It's a lot of work!
A: Even press releases get a rewrite. I write almost every article that appears in Bali Update which, at last count, now exceeds more that 5,000 separate pieces of news. It would be nice to achieve that level of financial success that would allow us to hire a "real" writer and allow me my first week off in over ten years. Any volunteers?
Q: And finance? How does Bali Update pay for itself? Do you live off advertising or sponsorship?
A: To date it has been paid for entirely by Bali Discovery Tours. The stories are all posted on our www.balidiscovery.com website which averages between 300,000-400,000 visitors each month. Many of those visitors also choose to book Bali holidays from the site which helps to pay the bills. In January 2009 we have also opened the chance for others to advertise travel products on our site.
Q: You are often an outspoken critic of the government. Have you ever got into trouble?
A: I reject the depiction as a government critic. I am fanatically in love with Bali tourism and Indonesia tourism as a whole. Over the years, I have received the highest awards for tourism service bestowed by both the National and the Provincial government.
Perhaps some of our news coverage has an "edge." But if you read these articles carefully you will invariably notice that we are merely re-presenting news that has already appeared in the Indonesian language press. On that level, we're no more controversial than your morning newspaper.
Occasionally, I do write editorials clearly labeled as such. In those instances, I honestly strive to offer constructive comments, generated from the pen of someone who loves this Country while offering comments and insights intended to aid the national tourism industry. Like my well known defense of things Indonesian, my commentary can be "spirited" but are never intended to be destructive.
Q: What's the worst story you have had to report?
A: You have to tell the truth, albeit from a local perspective. If you fail to report bombings, terrorist attacks, bird flu, and rabies – no matter how "negative" they may appear, you lose your legitimacy as a news source and any future right to tell the Balinese side of the story. So, yes, we report bombings as an introduction to what is being done by the Balinese to relieve the suffering of the victims and by the police to catch the terrorists. We report when bird flu is confirmed in Bali and then monitor official efforts to control that disease. As soon as the recent rabies epidemic was confirmed we told the world while also publishing stories on the extent of the problem and what the government is doing to protect residents and visitors.
Let me illustrate this point by saying that last year a potentially fatal epidemic was found in certain parts of China. The government there reacted by trying to censor the news and hide the problem. Once the news broke on the Internet and international media, the Chinese government then decided they wished to comment on the outbreak only to discover that their statements were ignored by the international media who no longer viewed the government as a legitimate source of information on the story. By reporting all the news we preserve Bali's right to tell its side of the story.
Q: And the best?
A:There's been thousands. International awards won by Bali. Young Indonesian’s who are appointed to key management roles in the tourism industry. The recent victory of Made Mangku Pastika as Governor and his strong commitment to Bali's environment. Garuda recording a profit. New products that are provide jobs to the Balinese. Community projects that make a real difference in the life of the Balinese. Simple stories that share insights into Balinese ceremonies and cultural events.
Q: And what for the future? This takes a huge commitment, do you still have the time and the energy?
A: So far so good. Volunteers, prepared to work for peanuts, are welcome to apply.
Q: You have been honored many times for your work, which meant the most to you?
A: My Adikarya Pariwisata Award form the Republic and Karyakarana Pariwisata Award from the Governor of Bali – both recognizing contributions to developing national and provincial tourism were genuinely appreciated. The regular private emails offering words of encouragement and appreciation from Indonesians and Balinese are truly treasured as they demonstrate my efforts on behalf of my adopted home do not go unnoticed.
Q: You obviously love Bali, what do you recommend to our readers that they see and do. What are your personal favorites in Bali?
A: Are you prepared to make this into a 12 part interview? Please visit our website at www.balidiscovery.com – it’s where the folks at Bali Discovery express their love of Bali on a daily basis.
Q: Lastly on behalf of your many fans out there: well done and keep up the good work! Thanks from the many whom have benefited from your work.
A: Thank you.


Bali Halts New Hotel, Homestays and Villa Construction
Development Moratorium Exempts Projects Holding Permits Issued Prior to 2009.

Kompas reports that following criticism and input from a number of sources insisting Bali's environment is under severe threat, the Provincial Government of Bali has decided to refuse new permits for hotels, homestays and new villas in all regencies and cities on the island with effect from Wednesday, April 8, 2009.
The Head of the Development Planning Agency (Bappenda), Nengah Suarca, has announced the major change in policy, saying: "This moratorium is not yet a part of a provincial law or a governor's decree. The plan is that the moratorium will remain in place without a time limit. However, hotel developments holding permits issued before 2009 will be permitted to continue."
Suarca told the press that his office would no longer tolerate the building of hotels and similar sorts of developments by investors or candidate investors. Suarca said: "This is an important and priority factor to the future of Bali's development, both in the current year's plan and in the long term. When this (moratorium) will be lifted, I can't promise because of the desire that no more (developments) be built."
He went on to explain that in addition to ecological considerations, the over-supply of hotel and other accommodation renders requests for new projects on an island as small as Bali non-relevant. Current data supplied by the Bappenda Bali estimates that the number of hotels and in legal and illegal villas is around 50,000 rooms when the ideal total is believed to be 25,000.
At a public meeting to discuss development for 2010, Bali decided to make preserving its environment as a chief priority after the relief of poverty, improving social welfare and education. In the past, environmental concerns received a low priority among development concerns.
In response to the moratorium, the Secretary of the Bali branch of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Perry Markus, said that his organization would not take issue with the decision. At the same time, he said he hoped the government would make the regulations and law on the issue firm and clear.
Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) records around 145 hotels operating in Bali with 80% of that total in the Badung regency. At the same time, Bali's Tourism Authority estimates that there are hundreds of illegal commercial villas operating on the island.


February 2009 Arrivals to Bali Down -10.17%
Bali by the Number: Strong January 2009 Arrivals May Shield a Coming General Downturn in Tourist Arrivals.

Final arrival figures through the end of February 2009 are now in hand from immigration authorities at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport that confirm that while Bali is enjoying a record strong start to 2009, it may also be sitting at the crest of a cimminent downturn. January-February arrivals totaled 304,013 - a 3.05% improvement over the same two months in 2008 (295,025).
That the salad days of Bali tourism arrivals may be near an end is suggested by the 139,370 foreign arrivals recorded in February 2009, declining -10.17% from the 155,153 foreign tourists who visited Bali in February 2008. This is the forst time in over a year that Bali has recorded negative growth in a month-on-month basis.



Bali Elections Largely Without Incident
Little Drama As 2.6 Million Bali Voters Go to the Polls.

Peace prevailed during Bali's legislative elections held on Thursday, April 9, 2009, with only minor incidents reported as Bali residents went to the polls to choose from a confusing array of candidates and political parties.
A Bali police spokesman, Gde Sugianyar, said that "through the end of the voting process, everything went smoothly, without any significant event that stands out."
The Provincial Chief of Police for Bali, Inspector General Ashikin Husein echoed these sentiments, saying, "the results in the field are that everything went smoothly and safely."
In Bali a total of 2,666,419 registered voters were given the opportunity to vote at 8,170 polling places.
Nationwide 5,065 candidates contesting 339 seats in regional, municipal, provincial and the national house of representative. In other word, 4,666 legislative candidates were certain to be disappointed with their failure to secure public office.
Unrest in Buleleng
The Bali election was tarnished slightly by an altercation between two voters in the village of Melaka in the sub-district of Sukasada. That incident is tied to a domestic dispute between two men standing in line to vote in which one of the men attacked the other with a knife, accusing his victim of having an extra-marital affair with his wife.
Losing Badly?
In a separate incident, a 45-year-old female candidate from North Bali collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack after being told via telephone that she had failed to secure sufficient votes from her community to sit on the local legislature.
Putu Lilik Heliawati, a single mother of two, died shortly after arriving at the emergency room of the Seririt General Hospital.
Bali's Governor Votes for the First Time
Also going to the polls on election day was Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika.
Barred by laws from participating in politics and elections throughout his long career as a police officer, the latest elections offered the now civilian Pastika his first chance to exercise his democratic right to choose.
Newly pensioned from the police last July, Pastika was apparently unable to vote for himself in last year's gubernatorial race.

 
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