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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #701 - 15 February 2010

Bali's Tourism Funds Stolen?
Investigation Continues into Alleged Loss of Rp. 3 Billion in Bali's Tourism Promotion Budget.

A range of local and national media are awash with news of suspected corruption and the misappropriation of precious tourism marketing funds at the Bali Provincial Tourism office. In response to a growing number of negative reports in the media, a special investigative team from the Inspectorate of the Bali provincial government visited the Tourism office on Monday, February 8, 2010, to audit expense claims in connection with Bali tourism promotion and overseas sales missions.

The head of the public relations department of the Bali provincial government, Ketut Teneng said: "We are serious (in handling) these discoveries of corruption. Moreover, we are very pleased that the media is playing a critical role to bring forth suspicions of budget violations within the government."

According to Teneng, the audit team has accumulated a number of receipts in connection with the claim suggesting that up to Rp. 3 billion (US$300,000) had been corrupted from Bali's tourism budget. He also said the current efforts to root out the corruption has the full support of Bali's Governor, Made Mangku Pastika.

In a related development, Commission IV of the Bali House of Representatives held hearing with the Chief of Bali Tourism (Kadisparda), IB Subhisku on the formulation of (new) rules and regulations governing tourism enterprises. Those hearings, however, shifted focus from the formulation of new rules to the topic of the suspected corruption in the government agency headed by Subhisku.

In response to legislator's questions, Subhisku said his office has summoned the suspected official (identified in the press with the initials IG PA). "I have called him in order that he can explain and be held accountable for these allegations. I am new in Bali Tourism Department, while these cases occurred between 2002 and 2008. I am not in a position to say if these occurrences are the responsibility of my predecessor before I hear IG PA's explanation," explained Subhisku.

Subhisku also asked IG PA to provide an explanation to the Provincial Secretary, underlining "if mistakes have been made someone must take responsibility."

Upon hearing Subhisku's response, the Vice-Chairman of Commission IV, I Ketut Kariyasa, offered his comments. He said there must be a call from the Head of the Bali Tourism Office demanding a final and complete resolution of the case. Kariyasa said that it was his understanding that the cost of renting stands was always part of the provincial tourism budget. Now, he maintained, it appears that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has also allocated money for stand rentals. "This has to be investigated. Let's not let some stupid official destroy the name of Bali tourism in the eyes of the public and the travel industry. And if the charges are true, those responsible must be brought to justice before the criminal corruption process," demanded Kariyasa.

Another member of Commission IV, Cokorda Kartiyasam, told Radar Bali that third parties, such as hotels, following travel marts always also paid for their booths. "Before, I also paid. This must be explained and the expenses justified," said Kartiyasam.

Separately IB Subhisku told the press that he welcomed any efforts to bust open this or any other case of corruption, insisting that anyone found to be involved must be called to justice and every single Rupiah must be accounted for.

The case of corruption in Bali Tourism Office commenced when an anonymous party sent data and chronologies of suspected malfeasance to the Bali Tourism Office. The alleged modus operandi involved the falsification of receipts and reports to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. There are also indication of double-debits taking place for a promotional stands costing Rp. 120 million (US$12,000) with the same stand being charged twice once to the Ministry in Jakarta and again to the provincial tourism office in Bali. The corruption reportedly took place from 2002 to 2008 and involved Rp. 3 billion (US$300,000).


New Law Proposed for Bali Travel Companies
Bali's Governor Strives to Bring Order to Island's Tour and Travel Operators.

Governor Made Mangku Pastika has presented a proposed set of provincial laws governing tourism enterprises to the provincial House of Representatives. The new rules and regulations are aimed at bringing more order to the state of tourism services where many tour agencies have failed to renew their licenses but continue to operate.

According to Governor Pastika quoted in Beritabali.com, the new regulations governing travel agents will seek to bring order to the number of agencies allowed to operate and the type of packages they can offer. The new law will also seek to bring to an end the practice "buying and selling heads" in which agencies dealing primarily with the mainland Chinese market auction off guests to unscrupulous operators who then earn a return on their purchase by forcing guest to travel to restaurants and shops paying very high levels of commission.

Pastika estimates that at the end of 2009 there were 635 travel agencies registered in Bali, many of which no longer operate and fail to make activity reports as required by law every six months. The new law will also seek to curb the use of illegal foreign workers by Bali travel companies.


Dark Under-Belly of Bali Small Hotel Operations
Bali Press Exposes Use of Locally-Owned Hotels for Short-Time Assignations.

Bisnis Bali says that many of the locally-owned Melati-hotels in Bali's capital city of Denpasar resort to "short-time bookings" of only two-hours duration in order to maximize the return on their investment.

While many of the hotels, such as some found on Jalan Pidada, Gatsu Barat and near the main bus station of Ubung have a steady flow of family and small groups of domestic travelers that, according to the Bisnis Bali report, only sustains an occupancy of around 20-40%. And, while a 24-hour rental of a modest room with en-suite bathroom and a television can net between Rp. 150,000 to Rp. 200,000 per night (US$15-20), a short-term rental of only two hours can net between Rp. 25,000 and Rp. 35,000 (US$25-35).

When the hotel Melati staff were asked about the nature of two-hour business staying at the hotel the receptionists initially insisted that some guests were simply seeking a short rest in the middle of a busy day. Questioned further, the hotel staff relented, admitting that the "short-time" visitors were also comprised of young unmarried couples or older couples involved in an extra-marital liaison. The hotel staff is unable to enquire at check in for fear of being impolite, while the profit motive also plays a role in the hotel's acquiescence to what might otherwise be considered in some circles as immoral shenanigans.

BisnisBali reports that there are 176 Melati hotels in Denpasar, 80% of which are certified and registered.


Blue Bird on the Wing
Bali Transportation Officials Insist Blue Bird Branding of 500-Car Taxi Fleet Must End.

The "Blue Bird" of taxi happiness in Bali may be a thing of the past.

According to Radar Bali, a spirited meeting on Monday, February 8, 2010, between the management of PT Praja Bali Transportasi, Blue Bird Taxi (Jakarta) and representatives of Bali's transportation agency may spell the end of the popular "Blue Bird" taxi franchise on the island of Bali.

The meeting led by the Bali Chief of Transportation, Made Santha, was also attended by the Chairman of Commission I for the Bali House of Representatives, Made Arjaya, and the Vice-Chairman of Commission I, IGP Widjera. Representing PT Bali Praja Bali Transportasi was Agus Subroto who was accompanied by the Vice-President of the Blue Bird Group, Noni Purnomo.

In what was reported to be a very intense meeting, the Bali transportation chief tabled Ministerial Decision No. 35 of 2003 stipulating it is illegal for PT Praja Bali Transportasi to operate a fleet under the guise of Blue Bird. Santha told the taxi operator, "we continue to hold fast to Ministerial Decision No. 35 and the removal of all physical attributes that are not in accordance with the company's permit must be removed."

Santha has ordered that the "Blue Bird" branding including decals on the front windscreens together with company name and website must be removed. The Blue Bird logo, however, can stay based on the proof of registrations of the trademark shown by "Bali Taxi."

Santha promised to send his teams to start checking the taxi fleet within one week and underlined that he would begin issuing a series of three warnings before final definitive actions, such as the revocation of the operating permit, is done.

The Public Relation's Manager of the Blue Bird Group, Teguh Wijayanto said that the company would obey the ruling removing the Blue Bird name on the cars, driver's uniforms and the company signboard.

Related Article

[Blue Bird Taxi Responds to Illegal Operations Claim]


Indonesian Ranks High for Australian Holiday Makers
More Australian Traveling, Many Bound for Bali.

After New Zealand and the U.S.A., Indonesia ranks third as the most preferred holiday destination for Australians in 2009.

6.3 million Australians traveled abroad on holiday last year with 548,000 coming to Indonesia, the majority of whom visited Bali.

The continuing strong demand for travel by Australians was bolstered by a strong national economy, essentially unscathed in the current world economic crisis.

Inbound tourism to Australia remained largely stable, counting 5.6 million visitors to Australia in 2009. For only the second time in two decades, Australia experienced a tourism deficit with more Australians traveling overseas than the number of inbound international visitors.


A Bali Style for Ngurah Rai Airport
More Calls for Balinese Architectural Finishes on Bali Airport Renovation.

Bisnis Bali reports that renovations at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are undergoing a review of the final design elements. Meanwhile, the Badung Regency's House of Representatives (DPRD) are calling for Balinese design characteristics to be incorporated in the final design.

The Chairman of Commission C of the DPRD Badung, Nyoman Satria, recently met with the airport's managers and said. "we hope that as soon as tourists arrive in Bali they will be aware of the fact they are in Bali."

According to Satria, in order to accommodate the desire of the legislators and the people of Bali, the airport must have Balinese architectural elements. "We ask that the architecture of the terminal reflect Bali. We know the cost will be high, but this must be done."

In response to the local legislator's demands, the General Manager of PT Angkasa Pura I (AP-I) at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport, Heru Legowo, said the final designs for the airport are being reviewed and perfected.

The design team reviewing the plans for the airport includes representatives of the Badung Regency government, the provincial government of Bali and academics. Added Legowo: "After the design team completes its report, the airport authority will make a presentation to the local government. After we get agreement from the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, only then can the construction begin."

Legowo reminded that the need to rebuild Bali's airport facility has become a pressing need. The current domestic terminal can only handle 1.5 million travelers each year but is forced to accommodate an estimated 4.5 million passengers. "Our domestic terminal is already being overrun by 3 million or 200% above its capacity," said Legowo.

Legowo warned that the Bali airport is in danger of no longer being able to call itself an international facility, pointing out that some Rp. 1.7 trillion (US$179 million) is needed to complete the needed renovations and improvements.


Leave Your Elephant at Bali's Door
Bali's Governor and Law Makers Refuse Importation of 59 More Elephants to Bali.

Requests from various groups for permission to import 59 elephants to Bali are being steadfastly resisted by Bali's governor who claims the island's current elephant population of 93 is more than sufficient to meet the needs of a small island.

Seeking permission to import 59 more elephants to Bali are the Bali Elephant Safari Park in Taro (10), Bali Zoo Park (14), Kasiana (15) and Bakas (20).

The current population of 93 elephants are distributed among the Bali Elephant Safari Park (32), Taman Safari Bali (33), Kasiana (18) and Bakas (10).

Joining the governor in his refusal to allow the shipment of more elephants into Bali is the island's House of Representatives (DPR).

The Governor's spokesman said the government's stance is consistent with his past statements to limit the number of elephants on the island.

The 93 elephants already in Bali are viewed by the governor and island legislators as already exceeding the ideal carrying capacity of the island for the large mammals. Moreover, the elephants are not considered an essential part of Bali's endemic culture.

The Governor's spokesman rejected accusations from Jakarta that Bali was being "egotistical" in its refusal to accept the 59 elephants waiting at Bali's gate. Reminding Jakarta that autonomy allows Bali to determine its own fate and future and any attempt to override Bali's discretion was in itself an egotistical act by the Jakarta bureaucrats. The spokesman added that the decision by Bali to stop future import of elephants was based on careful study.


Enter Your PIN Number and Smile
Bali's Chief of Police Wants CCTV Camera Installed on all ATMs.

Bali's Chief of Police, General Sutisna, has ordered that all ATM Machines in Bali must be equipped with CCTV cameras in a means to safeguard the banks and their customers.

"I hope the banks will do this (install CCTV cameras) to make the locations where bank customers take their money safer," said General Sutisna. According to Bali's number One Cop, "criminal will experience problems when their movements are monitored by camera."

In the past several months some 15 ATM machines were tampered with resulting in an estimated 200 bank customers suffering losses of Rp. 2 billion (US$200,000).


Tourism as a Threat to Bali's Agriculture
Bali Academic Warns of Growing Competition for Farm Land and Drinking Water.

The National news agency Antara reports that a leading academic at Bali's Udayana University has expressed the concern that if Bali's tourism industry is left uncontrolled it will affect the delicate balance of local agriculture.

Professor Dr. I Wayan Windia, Dean of the agricultural faculty said, "fast growing tourism is feared to eventually consume agricultural lands for the construction of tourism facilities." The professor is also concerned over the growing competition for drinking water and irrigation water together with the steady shift of labor from agricultural pursuits to tourism work.

On the positive side, Professor Dr. Windia admits the employment opportunities in tourism are helping to absorb Bali's local workers who are increasingly faced with little prospects of gainful employment within the agricultural sector.


Seaward Bound to Bali
Craig Seaward Returns to Bali to Head W Retreat and Spa.

South African hotelier Craig Seaward is delighted to be "back home" in Bali after an absence of 15 years.

Busily working at the head of the opening team of W Retreat and Spa set to open in November 2010, Craig's first assignment in Bali began in 1991 when he opened the Laguna Bali in Nusa Dua as the Food & Beverage Director, eventually supervising F&B at the Laguna Bali, Westin Bali and the Bali International Convention Center.

An hotelier with nearly three decades of experience, Craig heads up the team of this new lifestyle destination-brand to Bali, located on Petitenget Beach, north of Kuta.

Craig has worked for Starwood Hotels and Resorts for 19 years, having held General Managers positions for Sheraton in Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Perth, Australia and for Westin in South Korea.

A native South African, Craig also worked for Sun International for 10 years, starting his hotel career in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe before moving to Guangzhou China .

Craig holds a Tourism and Management diploma from the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg.


Enthusiastic About Wine and Bali
Top Bali Hotels and Bali Discovery Tours Praised by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

The influential Wine Enthusiast magazine and website from the U.S.A. recently paid a visit to Bali.

On their return home they published a suitably enthusiastic report on their visit including their thoughts on the Four Season's Resort at Sayan, Bulgari Resort, St. Regis Bali, Uma Ubud, Como Shambhala Estate and Bali Discovery Tours.

Read what the article had to say about Bali [Wine Enthusiasts: A Taste of Bali]


Kadek Wiranatha Responds
Owner of Breezes Resort and Spa Puts His Case for Reclaiming His Seminyak Hotel Property from Mountbatten Resort International.

As reported on balidiscovery.com, there is an ongoing management dispute taking place between Made Kadek Wiranatha, the owner of the Breezes Resort and Spa in Seminyak, and Mountbatten Resort International (MRI), the management company that has been running the property since August 2008. [See: Foul Winds Blow at Breezes Resort]

Wiranatha Responds

To clarify the position of Wiranatha in the current dispute, his lawyers have issued the following points of clarification:

On August 14, 2008, Wiranatha entered into an agreement with the owner of MRI that included a debt of US$3.5 million owed by Wiranatha to MRI that was to be paid before September 1, 2009.

Failure to pay that debt by the above deadline would have seen the nominal amount of the debt due to MRI become US$4 million and provided an option to MRI to secure ownership of the 130-room resort for an additional payment of US$6 million.

On August 12, 2009, Wiranatha settled the debt due MRI. The payment, made before the agreed deadline, eliminated the purchase option for the resort which, in the opinion of Wiranatha's lawyer, made null and void the purchase option.

Wiranatha maintains that MRI has failed to pay the agreed lease payments for the 13th, 14th and 15th months (September, October, November 2009) and, by so doing, has put the resort in default of its lease agreement which provided for an 8 year lease on the property.

Wiranatha has asked MRI to vacate the premises and terminate its operation of the resort in a manner not to disturb the enjoyment of guests holidaying in Bali.


Defacing Bali
Editorial: Two Developments C151 Dreamland and Anantara Uluwatu - Threaten to Forever Blemish Bali's Shore Line.

On an island where the rush to develop modern structures completely devoid of any architectural elements that pay homage to Bali and its ancient heritage is in full throttle, some projects are so fundamentally shocking as to earn special disfavor in the misguided race to abandon Bali's natural beauty, its local traditions and established zoning laws.

Two such projects, now in various stages of development - C151 Dreamland (PT Hanno Bali) and Anantara Uluwatu threaten to irrevocably blemish the majestic limestone cliffs of Bali's southernmost peninsula.


Click Images to Enlarge


What Moratorium?

Running desperately short of fresh water and electricity, Bali's officials have sporadically promised to put a freeze on new hotel projects. But these project which between them offer luxury restaurants, wedding chapel's shops and business centers manage to squeeze past any moratoriums, presenting themselves as "private apartments" that are curiously available at nightly rents of up to US$10,000.

Zoning rules that stipulate 100 meters setback from the high-water mark, or an equal vertical/horizontal combined set back distance, are apparently flagrantly ignored as shown in the accompanying illustrations prepared by the developers. Moreover, in the case, of the Anantara Uluwatu, the artists' depiction suggests that the owners may once again be repeating their violation of the 15 meter height restriction done at their Anantara Seminyak property.

Who Speaks for the Land?

Sadly, it has been a long held tenet of Bali developers that if one intends to violate local building codes, do so quickly. At worst, officials will scold and make public admonishments but, in the end, will inevitably relent; allowing height, set back, building density and illegal use violations to be quietly set aside.

Caught violating the law and publicly feigning contrition, developers seek mitigation - claiming simple misunderstanding or, alternatively, some level of official approval or local community support for their illegal structure. And, if all else fails, the incredulous developers employ the ingenuity of the young man charged with patricide who boldly pleas for mercy before the court because he is, after all, an orphan. Playing a similar card - Bali developers implore for leniency, citing the potential loss of employment or potential discomfort to visitors should the long-established rules be actually enforced.

While it may initially seem a painful remedy, the only real solution to the current madness is for the government to be uncompromising and offer no quarter, demanding that projects without permits or in violation of established zoning laws be leveled. Once done, future projects would see the cost of playing "cat and mouse" with local officials as too dear to even contemplate. At the same time, the "no exit" approach for violators would eliminate any incentive for collusion with oftentimes overly-pliant licensing officials.

The accompany pictures of the Anantara Uluwatu and C151 Dreamland speak louder than any further words we can offer. Hopefully, our hard-working Governor and those who support his efforts to protect Bali are listening and will do whatever they can to preserve, protect and restore the pristine beauty of the island's southern coastal cliff.


The Address for Adam and Eve in Bali
The St. Regis Bali Resort launches an Enchanted Tropical Park.

The St. Regis Bali Resort has opened the first tropical park in Bali located within a hotel premises. Featuring a chef's garden, a dinner venue called "Dulang", a hammock garden, the facility covers 7,000 square meters. The St. Regis Tropical Park was created to complement the 8.8 hectares of beachfront land occupied by the luxury resort, offering a meditative retreat within the resort.

Click Images to Enlarge


Designed by award-winning landscape architect Bill Bensley, the Tropical Park flows from the idea of establishing a continuity of creation, fitting in perfectly with the Resort's outdoor amphitheatre, well-established garden, and intimate swinging bales.

Guests enjoy an natural sojourn down a pebbled path, through a park designed to inspire romance and fantasy. The "Dulang," has been configured to permit receptions and dinners for up to 60, surrounded by a chef's garden that is home to 40 different kinds of herbs and spices.

At night torches create a romantic feel lighting the way for guests wishing to enjoy cocktails or barbecue. Day time sees guests taking a relaxing stroll while admiring the wide variety of plants and trees, in search of a restful nook on the landscaped bench or a comfortable garden hammock to share with a best selling author.

Not to be missed is the Orchid Pavilion featuring some 50 species of Orchids. The flowers and quaint bird bath create a romantic setting perfect for celebrating a wedding.

"We are continuously looking to provide our guests with additional activities to help them escape to a sanctuary of indulgence and relaxation and the creation of the Tropical Park within the resort is a testament to this commitment", said Frank Beck, General Manager, The St. Regis Bali Resort.

Book a Stay at [The St. Regis Bali Resort]


PechaKucha in Bali
Bali Joins Worldwide PechaKucha Event on February 20, 2010 to Assist Victims of Haiti Earthquake.


PechaKucha a Japanese phrase denoting the sound of conversation; chit-chat.


Founded in 2003 by architects Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, PechaKucha was initially conceived to provide a place and space where young designers could meet, network and show their work in public. Over time, it has evolved into a massive celebration of creativity, with events regularly being held in over 270 cities. Last year, more than 6,000 presentations were given at more than 600 PechaKucha events. [www.pecha-kucha.org]

The format of PechaKucha is simple. Be creative and do so in a presentation that can be boiled down into 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds.

Keep it light, keep it lively and keep it moving.

PechaKucha Global Day for Haiti

Supported by the Bali Creative Community (BCC), the PechaKucha Global Movement will meet in Bali at the Gaya Gallery in Ubud on Saturday, February 20, 2010, starting at 8:00 pm. Intended to network and interconnect, the Bali event will be just one stop in a 24-hour global PechaKucha dialogue that will include 200 cities, 2,000 presentations and an estimated 200,000 people. The event will be broadcast in real time via their website with the 2,000 presentations then permanently lodged on line [PechaKucha for Haiti Website].

The website will also have a facility for making on-line donations to support the Haiti relief effort via Architecture for Humanity.

Bali Creative Community (BCC)

This is part of a continuing series of PechaKucha events organized by BCC following gatherings at Museum Bali, Sanur Village Festival, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival and Serangan Island Green Festival. While the coming event seeks to reduce the suffering of the Haitian people, the overall goal of PechaKucha remains the facilitation of a creative learning process by making people aware of the unexplored power of innovative thinking and creative passion, and the sharing of ideas on how to create change and promote sustainability.

An open forum, those already confirmed to make a 20 image presentation at the Gaya Gallery PechaKucha Event include photographer Rio Helmi, architect Putu Edy Semara, sculptor Pintor Sirait, artist Marlow Bandem, Designer and surfer girl Audry Lamou and One-Dollar-for-Music Foundation member Raoul Wijffes.

PechaKucha Global Day for Haiti in Bali

Gaya Gallery for the Arts Sayan, Ubud

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 8 p.m.


We Get Mail
Cutting Trees, Changes in Visa Rules, Property Law, Real Estate Booms and the State of Indonesian Tourism Filled our Mailbox to Overflowing. Read on.


Bali Real Estate: Boom or Bust

Our Editorial questioning the wisdom of liberalizing property ownership for foreigners in Bali [Bali Real Estate: Boom or Bust] brought a torrent of emails :

- Dave Van Rooy in Ubud said:

"I couldn't agree more, though you presented it much more eloquently than I would. Ever since news of this new policy started, it struck dread into my heart for this beloved island and its people. Please keep beating that drum and stop the greedies from ruling everything."

- Wendy Foldes contributed:

"YIKES! DON'T do it. There are so many other ways the Balinese could be given more financial and educational advancement. I am an American who wishes to retire in Bali. I respect the culture of the Balinese and the island will NEVER be the same if the property rules loosen this much. Please, Please, Please, do not do this."

- Another Ubud resident, Roy Thompson wrote:

"A BRILLIANT editorial! A million thanks for having the courage to write it!"

- Down the hill on the beach in Sanur, Phil Wilson, had this to say:

"Excellent article on land ownership, particularly the Hawaii experience - well done."

- Striking the same tone, Jorgy added:

"Please leave Bali to the Balinese, do not turn it into an Hawaii."

- Bruce Wyder wrote in:

"I think it would not be in the Balinese best interest to change the law. Balinese are people of the earth and if the earth is taken away from them, what do they become? The way it is now is fine; some ill advised people want short time gain for long time pain.

Changes to Indonesia's Visa on Arrival Rule

Coverage of the sudden termination of the 7-day Visa on arrival [Changes to Indonesia's Visa on Arrival Rule] also caused people to rush to their computer keyboards.

- Brian Grant had the following comments:

"This is just another way of ripping off even more money from tourists, it seems to me to be no different to ever increasing prices anywhere we go these days with prices going up on almost a monthly basis. I have noticed these price increases getting more and more the past few months and I have heard tourists even noticing these increases plus the ever increasing street massage girls annoying passers by not to mention the power blackouts. Bali will lose it's popularity unless these problems are addressed quickly as I personally know of many friends who used to come here regularly, will not come back anymore because Bali is overflowing with greed and corruption and obviously a government who have no idea how to run the island properly apart from greed.....it is sad seeing Bali going the wrong way."

Has Development Run Amok in Bali?

Our reprinting of an article on Bali's unbridled development [Has Development Run Amok in Bali?] merited the following comments:

- Brian Grant returned to say:

"All the while developers are greasing the palms of government officials, Bali will continue to look like Las Vegas....it is fast becoming a sad day for Bali."

Indonesia Considers Changes in Property Law

[Indonesia Considers Changes in Property Law] prompted Kade Lasiadi to speak up:

"I really don't agree with this change of land ownership for foreigners. The reason is we need to protect and maintain Bali as it is. Bali is the only one Island in the world with its uniqueness and divine nature. The island of Bali should be considered to be one of world wonder. Only Balinese people can make Bali as it is because of Balinese people living tradition, culture and religion. Javanese people can make offerings and sell them to Balinese people but the spirit of the religious being is not on the offerings. It is much different if the offerings are made by Balinese people, the spirit of religious energy is there. Bali has been ruined. See there are a lot of buildings that do not represent Bali architecture. Please don't destroy Bali."

And the Tide Rushes In

[And the Tide Rushes In] persuaded Rick Wright to contribute:

"If Bali wants to control beach erosion, Bali needs to start an effective permit program as well as remove the various groins, rock walls, and rock fingers extending from the beach further into the water. These structures upset the long shore transport which is the means by which sand is deposited along beaches. 10-12 years ago the reef crest inside the breakwater at the Nusa Dua hotel beaches was a live and vibrant coral reef top, now it is overrun with sand and sea grass with little exposed or live coral. The rock groins and finger piers may look good but they disrupt the natural wave action. Now the waves come in/out perpendicular to the beach which causes the erosion by drawing sand out vice depositing sand on the beach. It is not a global warming phenomenon."

Bali's Traffic and Mass Transit Problems Not Easily Solved,

Our examination of the complicated problem of mass transit in Bali [Bali's Traffic and Mass Transit Problems Not Easily Solved] saw the following letters arrive in our in box:

- J. H. Ter Bruggen said:

"Indeed, it will not be easy to solve the traffic problems. Let's start with the turning-points: For sure they prevent a smooth flow of the traffic, why not more rotundas? Parking; Why is it not forbidden to park on the By pass? For sure this will increase the flow of traffic. Everybody is talking about the undisciplined way of driving causing many congestion and accidents. When the police are talking about 3 people dying on the roads per day, why are they not massively present on the roads? Last week I had to spent a day in Sanglah Hospital where a good friend was treated for a road accident. I couldn't believe what I saw. A constant flow of people who suffered in motorbike accidents, coming in both day and night. Young and old, people heavily wounded, one missing a foot, and another missing an arm. I am accusing the police of negligence by not massively and aggressively trying to bring some discipline to the road users of Bali. All road users!"

- Garret Kam in Ubud wrote:

"Why not encourage more motorcycle taxis (ojek) like in Bangkok, where the traffic is worse. The drivers are organized, wear special numbered vests to identify them, and are inexpensive and convenient. This would provide employment in Bali, reduce the need for private motorcycles, and be more available (no need to wait for a full passenger load) for those who would need such a service. I take public transport in Bali all the time and it can be frustrating to wait. I would not buy a motorbike due to the dangers of traffic, plus the fact that although it may be easy to get a motorbike at first with a low payment, many people I know cannot afford the monthly installments and eventually have the vehicles taken away from them."

Views Made by Fools Like Me, But Only God Can Make a Tree

Coverage of how the Hotel Ramada Camakila in Bali cut down trees to create for better views for their guests [Views Made by Fools Like Me, But Only God Can Make a Tree] got some very tree defenders to comment:

- Lynne Copp in Australia wrote:

"I say no to felling trees, what is wrong with the people today, I say save the trees and ban those whinging tourists!"

- Peter McNamara, also from Australia, had this to say:

" . . disappointed about the missing trees."

- James E. Gambrell wrote to suggest and threaten:

"Tourists should boycott hotels that destroy trees. If this continues I may start a new website named www.BaliBoycots.com and advertise it heavily in Australia. I will soon be in Bali and I will certainly not stay in one of these hotels. There are many other travel sites posting warnings to tourists. Thank you for bringing notice of this outrage."- Trish from Australia chirped in:

"It is a tragedy that these old trees have been removed for the sake of a view. It would be different if they were diseased and a danger to locals and tourists. Can't the authorities stop this type of environmental vandalism?"

-From New Zealand, Patricia said:

"I can't believe it! to cut down a beautiful tree so we the visitor can get a better view, how pathetic is that. Do what the rest of us do when in Bali: go see the wonderful people, sights, sounds, and color that are beautiful Bali. If you want to sit in your room looking at a view- stay at home!!"

- Lynn Ellard said:

"It saddened me to hear that they are destroying trees which have been there for a very long time just to allow the tourist a better view, let the tourist get out on the beach and enjoy the view without destroying trees which if they are replaced will take many many years to grow again. Stop cutting down the trees. They were there before the hotels and tourist."

- Tony wrote the following:

"Bali is like my second home and has been 35 or so years. Please do NOT let resort operators dictate to the Balinese with regard to the destruction of ANY trees. Cutting down trees in the western world is a 'no no' and should also be the same in Bali."

- Jeff from Australia added:

"Disappointing to see that graft and corruption is still No. 1 in Bali."

Indonesian Tourism a National Tragedy

The reprinting of an article from The Jakarta Post by Anak Agung Gde Agung [Indonesia's Tourism - a National Tragedy] earned much thoughtful commentary:

- Serge Coulignie, a travel journalist had the following biting comment:

"Yeah, great story. However, I was in Holland 10 days ago and attended the speeches of the Indonesia Ambassador to Holland and Tourism Minister Wacik and his deputy. Please send them to proper education institutes and tourism schools first, because I have never heard so much crap before in my life as an international tourism journalist.'

- J.M. Ackerman said this:

"Excellent article with a solid plan for revitalization. I look forward to making a point of visiting the under-utilized areas highlighted here!"

- Nick, a frequent traveler from Sydney, Australia, offered these comments:

"Praise to Pak Agung for his recommendations for the development of infrastructure and growth of awareness in Indonesia's scenic, cultural and historical attractions. In simplistic 'egg and chicken' terms, however, without consumer awareness and demand for destinations 'beyond Bali' there will remain little incentive for investment in such areas. The expertise of tourism and marketing professionals should be called on to create nationally oriented, realistically funded, modernistic, but culturally sensitive global, regional and market specific promotional campaigns. Cooperate with, don't alienate, travel companies that have been supporting tourism to Indonesia for many years. Commit sufficient promotional budget to get the job done properly. There is so much that can be done (or done better) that isn't... What became of the World Tourism Organizations recommendations to develop a 'tourism brand' upon which all future strategies could be linked? After repeated (and almost annual) changes, the current "Ultimate in Diversity" refers more to the diversity (or rather, disparity) of Government and non Governmental tourism organizations working with little or no centralized direction or support."

- Tourism consultant Andrew Sivijs from Australia wrote to say:

"The observations and comments from the Author are compelling and, regrettably, far too true. My wife and I (and now our 10 year old son) have been traveling to the far-flung reaches of Indonesia (most of those mentioned) for many years and since my first trip in 1994, we've been watching and waiting for the vision and drive from within government to really set an agenda for Indonesia tourism and support it with sustained investment. Still we wait. So called 'leaders' at all levels come and go, poor planning and rampant corruption continues. I completed my Masters n Tourism Management in 2005 with Bali as a case study. Indonesia is an extraordinary country with Bali as a wonderful showcase. We will return to Bali once again in September and every time we do, I am nervous that we'll be the ones to finally tip the scale and send it plummeting into the abyss. Growth in numbers is a good 'sell' to decision makers, but dig deeper into the value of those numbers. Without serious and committed intervention by government, planners and resource managers, there is every indication Bali will be beyond environmental and social repair within a generation. The 'model' that Indonesia has wanted to replicate 'across the region' as a successful tourism scenario may be one held at arms length. Magnificent geography and wildlife, fascinating cultures and historic contexts like no other. But limited vision, woeful access and infrastructure and tenuous security all threaten to strand a beautiful country and send it behind other successful Asian destinations. What will change on 2010? Still we watch and wait. Ooroo"



 
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