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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #703 - 01 March 2010

Delays in Opening of Lombok's New Airport
Lombok International Airport Likely to Open in Mid-2010.

Plans to conduct a "soft opening" of the new Lombok International Airport (BIL) in March 2010 are going to be delayed, according the Chief of the Transportation, Communication and Information (Dishubkominfo) office for West Nusa Tenggara province, Ahmad Baharudin.

Quoted by the national news agency, Antara, Baharudin said, "I am personally hesitant about the planned soft opening planned for March, if I see the preparations at the project."

He continued, saying the final preparations of the new air field should have been apparent since late February, particularly from PT Angkasa Pura I who are managing the new facility located at the community of Slangit in the Penujak sub-district of Central Lombok.

The preparations of the infrastructure for BIL are nearly complete with expectations that by the end of March 2010 a soft opening will take place commencing a three-month trial period before formal operations of flights can start.

"2 or 3 months more for PT Angkasa Pura I to get everything in order before the operation of the international airport this coming June," explained Baharudin.

Supporting infrastructure elements for the BIL, such as the new by-pass connecting the airport to the rest of Lombok, are still delayed by continuing problems with securing right-of-ways to allow road construction. To hasten the process, the Governor of Nusa Tenggara has formed a technical team to help negotiate the needed land in West and Central Lombok.

The airport project has been allocated Rp. 110 billion (US$ 11.7 million) from the 2008 and 2009 provincial budget of West Nusa Tenggara

The new Lombok International Airport has a main runway of 1,750 meters length and a width of 40 meters. Apron parking areas measure 62,074 square meters with a terminal measuring 12,000 square meters and parking lots covering 17,500 square meters.


Garuda Eyes America
2011 Delivery of New Wide-Bodied Aircraft May Pave the Way for Garuda Indonesia to Begin Flying Again to the U.S.A..

Garuda Indonesia is reported to be eyeing starting flights to the United States following the resumption of flights to Amsterdam on June 1, 2010.

Bisnis.com quotes the Head Commissioner of the Indonesian national flag carrier, Hadiyanto, as revealing that renewed services to America may be in the cards when new wide-bodied Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft on order are delivered. Hadiyanto said: "If we get Boeing 777-200 ER in 2011, then certain routes that can be flown by long-haul aircraft can be added. It could be we would fly to America."

Since 2008 Garuda has on order 10 Boeing777-200 ER aircraft as part of their planning to increase routes to Europe and America. The new additions to Garuda's fleet will increase the total armada from its current level of 61 aircraft to 116 planes in 2014.

Hadiyanto is predicting that traffic loads will increase beginning this year with the additional delivery of 23 Boeing 737-800 NG and one new Airbus A330-200. The Boeing 7373s will be dedicated to domestic and regional routes, while the larger aircraft will be used to add frequencies to Amsterdam.

The re-commencement of flights to Amsterdam on June 1, 2010, will be via a daily flight between Jakarta and Amsterdam with an intermediate stop in Dubai.


Lombok to Host MICE Conference
Meeting, Conference and Exhibition Industry to Meet in Lombok May 6-9, 2010 in Lombok.

Bali's nearest neighbor of Lombok will host the 2010 Indonesia Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibition (MICE) and Corporate Travel Mart (IMCTM) to be held on May 6-9, 2010.

The event plans to host 200 buyers from the meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition (MICE) sectors. The majority of the 200 buyers expected at the event will hail from Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.

Nia Niscaya, MICE Director from the Department of Culture and Tourism, was quoted by Tempo, saying that Indonesia is promoting ten main MICE destinations: Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Medan, Bukit Tinggi-Padang, Makassar, Solo, Batam, and Manado.


Visa Policy Change Bad for Asian Tourism
Tourism Expert Predicts Indonesian Tourism Arrivals will Suffer Due to Elimination of the 7-Day Visa-on-Arrival.

Wuryastuti Sunario, Chairman of Care Tourism, told Bisnis.com that the elimination of the 7-day visa-on-arrival is going to negatively impact targets of visitors from Asian markets and, because of this the policy should be reviewed.

Said Sunario: "The Directorate General of Immigration and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are in agreement to review this policy after three months dating from its implementation on January 26, 2010, (meanwhile) the reaction of the market will be to divert their travel to other countries. In the end the Republic of Indonesia will see losses in visitors from main Asian markets such as China, Japan, India and South Korea."

The ASEAN market visiting Indonesia are allowed visa-free visits and are therefore unaffected by the change in visa-on-arrivals, but other Asian markets outside of ASEAN who make frequent visits to Bintan and Batam via Singapore will be affected. According to Sunario, this is especially the case in the relatively easier marketing effort of luring short-term visits over short-haul distances as opposed to trying to secure the more elusive, long-haul visitors staying for 30 days.

The respected tourism authority also pointed out that the Asian market is very sensitive to price, meaning that short term visitors who paid US$10 for a 7-day visa will now be compelled to pay US$25 for the same visit.

Sunario explained that many international tourist coming to Indonesia only require a 7-day visa-on-arrival, especially those that come for a weekend visit to play golf in Bintan or Batam, or those on short business visits to Jakarta and other destinations.

"For many of these, it will be more interesting to visit a neighboring destination who offers a cheaper or free visa. It's only logical that if they played golf three times a month they only paid US$30, but not must pay US$75," said Sunario.


Lines Harden in Bali's Elephant War
Bali Legislators Fall in Behind Governor in Refusal of New Elephants Imports to Bali.

In a continuing saga, support for the Governor's refusal to allow more elephants on Bali has come from members of Commission I of the Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD) who are preparing to issue a formal recommendation refusing the additional elephants, urging, at the same time, that the Governor also put his rejection of the plan in writing.

[See: Bali's Five Ton Elephant in the Gloom]

As reported in Radar Bali, representatives of the Indonesian Nature Conservancy Agency (BKSDA) were called to the Bali legislature this past week to explain their approval of the plan to allow more elephants onto the island. Istanto, who heads the BKSDA in Bali, failed to show, disappointing Commission members who were hoping to grill him regarding his support of the unpopular plan to increase the elephant population. The Chairman of Commission I of the DPRD, Made Arjaya, said, "actually, we were hoping he'd come, inasmuch as the BKSDA has been a main actor in the matter of the elephants."

Another member of the Commission from the House, Cok Budi Suryawan, also said he was deeply disappointed by Istanto's non-appearance: "The BKSDA should have been here, even if its Chief couldn't attend. He could have been represented; it is not as though only one person works at the Bali BKSDA office."

The commission meeting, which was attended by the law and regulatory division of the provincial government, is nearing approval of a plan to issue a formal refusal of the BKSDA elephant importation plan, waiting only for the approval of the Chairman of the DPRD who is currently out of Bali. "We are unanimous; we are refusing the importation of the elephants to Bali. Tell the Governor that the Commission has refused this plan," said Arjaya.

Arjaya said the Commission supports the Governor in his refusal of the importation of 59 more elephants to Bali, but want him to put his refusal in writing.

Legislators commented that the current population of 93 elephants on Bali was more than sufficient and that tourists seeking to see elephants on an Indonesian holiday should visit South Sumatra, not Bali.


Bali Rabies Epidemic Worsens
Bali Suffers Numerous Setbacks in its Battle Against Rabies.

New cases of rabies infections continue to mount in Bali. Radar Bali reports that deaths attributed to the disease are also mounting in the face of the depletion of emergency government funds allocated to fight rabies.

In the light of the worsening situation, Governor Made Mangku Pastika on February 23, 2010, convened those delegated with fighting rabies in Bali for a meeting. In attendance were representatives from the Bali Department of Health dealing with communicable disease, environmental health officials and representatives from Bali's main general hospital.

Following that meeting, the officials told the press that Bali was still in an "extraordinary situation" in its confrontation with rabies, made worse by the high rates of dog bites being reported to health authorities everyday.

Bali main general hospital at Sanglah is reporting a daily rate 60 dog bites, with other satellite general hospitals across the island treating an average of between 25-30 cases a day. Authorities estimate around 85 dog bites are taking place island-wide on a daily basis.

Since November 2008, a total of 31,000 dog bite injuries have occurred in Bali with 28,000 people being given anti-rabies serum. The current count estimates that there have been 59 confirmed cases of rabies of which 28 have been clinically confirmed as resulting from the disease.

Fearful of a further spread of the disease, disease control authorities have renewed their calls for the elimination of stray dogs in Bali.

Dr. Ken Wirasandi of the Sanglah General Hospital, who serves the Secretary of the hospital's rabies control center confirms that rabies has now spread to almost every regency and metropolitan center in Bali. "Klungkung which was formerly said to be safe, has now seen on patient from that area die at Sanglah hospital. The only area still free of rabies is the regency of Jembrana," explained Dr. Wirasandi.

Concerning to Dr. Wirasandi is the fact that at least 5 of those who have died of rabies received two of three treatments with anti-rabies serum, with one having received the complete regime of 3 shots. Post-mortem studies revealed that two of the patients receiving two sets of serum did, in fact, died of rabies.

Rabies treatment must be commenced as quickly as possible after suffering a possibly contagious bite. Unfortunately, once clinical symptoms of rabies appear in a patient there is little that can be done medically to save the victim's life.

There is also a growing problem securing a sufficient supply anti-rabies serum. A 5 year old boy died of rabies in Bali on Sunday, February 21, 2010. The child, who came to the hospital for treatment after being bitten in the face by a dog, did not receive the needed serum, apparently because officials had no supply of the serum to give the child.

There have also been reports in the Bali press of drugs stores in Bali selling anti-rabies vaccine that should, according to law, be available from hospital without charge to the public.

Related Article

[Pursued by Barking Dogs]


The Blue Bird of Happiness Gets a Balinese Reprieve
Judicial Review Team Rules that Bali Taxi Operation is Legal.

The latest chapter in the continuing saga of challenges to the continued operation of Blue Bird Taxis or PT Praja Bali Transportasi has seen the provincial government announce that a meeting of a judicial team of government officials have concluded the troubled taxi service is "technically legal." Sitting on the judicial team were representatives of various elements of the provincial government: the transportation, communication and information department; the law bureau; the economic and development department, police, the public transportation organization, the planning bureau and local legislators.

As reported by Bali Post, the Chairman of the judicial team, Ketut Wija, delivered the group's decision on Wednesday, February 24, 2010. He said the team's finding was that the permits for the 930 car fleet of taxis does not violate the law under licenses held by PT Praja Bali Transportasi (500 units), Ngurah Rai Taksi Bali (80 units), Komotra (100 units), Kowinu (75 units), Wahana Darma (100 units) and Koperasi Taksi Jimbaran (75 units).

The team has recommended that operational licenses for new taxis be delayed until protests by competing taxi companies end. They have, however, authorized that the principle permits which have already been issued for PT Praja Bali Transportasi (Bali Taxi) (250 units) and Ngurah Rai Taxi Bali (100 units) should proceed.

The Chairman of the judicial team blamed recent protests on miscommunication and poor coordination between drivers and operators, together with the declining income of Bali's taxi drivers.

The team rejected protests from drivers working for competing taxi operation who contend the Bali Taxi operation is illegal and should be closed down. Moreover, the team concluded that if the Bali Taxi operation were closed this would expose the provincial government to subsequent administrative court action.

Related Article

[Open Season in Bali on Blue Colored Birds]


A Gem of a Resort by Any Other Name Remains a Gem
Le Meridien Nirwana Bali Resort to Become Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort Effective April 1, 2010.

Effective April 1, 2010, Bali's five-star Le Meridien Nirwana Bali Resort will be re-branded as the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort via a management agreement signed with the property's owners, PT Bali Nirwana Resort.

The 278-room resort is located within a 103-hectare site that is also home to a championship 18-hole Greg Norman golf course.

The re-branding will mark a break from the Le Meridien branding held by the property since its opening in 1997.

The Bali property will be the second Pan Pacific hotel in Indonesia, after the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel in Indonesia's capital of Jakarta.


Embracing Nature's Poem
A Bali Exhibition by Nyoman Sujana Kenyem at the Four Season's Ganesha Gallery March 4 – April 5m 2010.

Born in Ubud, Nyoman Sujana Kenyem, belongs to a small circle of contemporary artists whose work, while modern in spirit and execution, still retains the lyricism of traditional art.

  

  
Click Images to Enlarge


Notably he is one of the most prominent members of a new generation of artists who chose to study in the late 1990s in the newly established Bali Indonesian art academy (STSI) rather than Yogyakarta or Bandung, home of the nation's most famous art academies.

Since his appearance on the art's scene in the 1990s, Kenyem has won national and international praise for the poetic beauty of his canvasses. The subject of each of his images, mirrored in titles like ‘Touch," ‘Smile,' and ‘Nostalgia' – each a highly personal visualization of feelings and emotions. Swirling leaves, flowers, tiny human figures and luminous celestial bodies flow with grace and beauty like the reflection of the moon in running water.

It is clear that Kenyem adheres to the ancient mystical belief that humans and artists can best find their inspiration in nature. In one painting, ‘Peace with Nature', we see a large orb of flowers creating a veil for the sun. More flowers rain down like a yellow bead-like curtain. In the background a stallion rises up on its hind legs as if in defiance against a yellow-green background of leaves. Mysterious tiny dancing figures whirl in the tapestry.

It seems all so easy but so-too there is mystery and perhaps even confusion. What does the horse symbolize? There is joy and beauty but also a trite undertone; perhaps the acknowledgment that beauty and life are, like all things, transient. As in meditation, the mind wanders but the artist with simple but profound symbols such as the sun, the moon, flowers and dance brings our focus back to the centre and the beginning and end of all things.

Embracing Nature's Poem

An Exhibition of Paintings by Nyoman Sujana Kenyem

Ganesha Gallery at the Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay

Open Daily 9 am to 6 pm, March 4 – April 5, 2010


We Get Mail
New Hotels, Ugly Airport, Bali Blue Bird Taxi Wars, Visa Lines, Museum and National Tourism Management are the Topic of Letters in this Week's Mailbag.

[Coming Soon: The Bali Regent]

• I Ketut Wiraba issued a welcome to the Regent.

"I am glad to hear Regent Hotel will open on Sanur Beach. Great Hotel and also good for our country because you will bring more tourist to the beautiful island. One thing I would like to suggest is the Hotel is that they should giving attention to the environment. Regent Hotel Welcome to Bali!"

[Bali's Airport Makes List of 12 Ugliest Airports]

• Beth Tierney wrote :

"I would just like to comment that this person must have fairly limited experience of airports."

"I am a travel journalist and in the last 18 months have seen something like 20-30 airports. Bali's may not be luxurious, but the airport is open and well, ventilated, there is plenty of space for passengers to sit and wait, lots of food and drink outlets, reasonable shops and clean toilets. We have been through Bali at least twice a year every year for the last 4, and the staff has always been pleasant."

"I wonder if the other writer has ever been to Nairobi?"


• Roberto Albuquerque from Brazil wrote:

"There are 2 more to add on this list : Tom Jobim Airport in Rio de Janeiro and Guarulhos Airport in São Paulo, Brazil, they're way worse than Ngurah Rai, a shame for all Brazilians."

• A reader named Michelle wrote:

"Bali's 'International' Airport. We traveled to Bali in December to our second home. The first impression we had of Bali on our return was an epic 2 km walk from the plane to immigration. Would this ever be upgraded? On our return flight . . .the toilets or Kamar Kecil were overflowing and really not up to standard. When will these be upgraded? They want all these checks and money from tourists when they leave why not give international tourists a bit more comfort?"

• Sheila and Fred Savill from Perth, Western Australia wrote:

"Hi there, I really wonder from where some of these comments are invented. We have been visiting Bali for over 27 years, and have seen Bali's Airport grow and grow, and it competes very well with airports all over the world [and we have been all over the world]. We have seldom had long queues at the airport, and the staff have always been efficient.......somber yes, but then so many immigration officials are this way. How would anyone like their job?"

"There seem to be so many news items about all the negative things in Bali.....there are negative things in every country. The latest scare is rabies in dogs, admittedly this is a huge concern......the most recent news shows dozens of dogs on Kuta beach..... I really do think this is contrived.....but of course it must be addressed and it seems it is being addressed. Of course, the news items always show very rural areas where the rabid dogs are being gathered for injection so that, too, is being addressed."

"I wish I could relate the many negative things about other countries. Bali is absolutely beautiful and so are the Balinese...of course there are unsavory aspects creeping in......one just has to put things in to perspective and be aware. We have felt as safe in Bali as we have felt anywhere. And just look at the number of tourists from throughout the world who go to Bali time and time again."


[The Blue Bird of Happiness Gets a Balinese Reprieve] and [Open Season in Bali on Blue Colored Birds]

• An Australian reader, Pamela Burt wrote:

"The only cabs I will use are the Blue Bird ones. Have been diddled and taken wrong way with others and some other drivers are abusive. Take a poll of your readers and I think you will find a 75% or more only use Blue Bird"

• Garth wrote to say:

Something smells a bit fishy. I have been coming to Bali often over the last 10 years and have always found Bluebird taxis to be of a high standard of service and not try to rip you off over a fare. I cannot say the same for the other taxi services I have had the misfortune to use - disputing a fare that clearly showed on the meter - meters not working or operating unusually fast - sometimes rude and arrogant drivers, just to mention a few instances. I suspect Bluebird taxis are so successful due to their service and reputation amongst travelers from Australia. That's why the competition is suddenly trying to shut them down. Well my message to them is if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen or drastically Lift your game!"

• Tony Kelley wrote:

"After being regular visitors to Bali for a number of years we decided two years ago to apply for retirement visas and stay. We have always preferred Blue Bird taxis as they are cleaner and the drivers far more courteous than any of the others. As retirees we have time to wait for a Blue Bird taxi to appear and will let any number of other taxis pass by. We hope that those responsible for making decisions which will affect the future of Blue Bird and their drivers will come to their senses and allow Blue Bird to continue to function as the tourists' favorite.

[Getting a Visa to Stand in Line]

• Murray Leggat wrote:

"I'm about to go on my 29th Bali holiday and let's be honest, the Bali airport should be renamed the Ngurah Rai Department Store, it's obvious the airport authorities are more interested in making money than they are about moving people in and out of Bali. In the arrival area there are more money exchangers than there are visa on arrival gates and I don't think the money grabbing porters are setting a good impression on first time travellers to Bali. Regular visitors know to avoid them but when a first time traveler gets asked for money because someone has moved their bag three feet it's not a good start to your holiday. The airport is the first thing they see when they arrive in Bali, it should be a happy time, not a bad one. You haven't even left the airport and already you are handing out money."

• Ray Quigley of Australia tool time to write:

"Having averaged 3 trips per year over the last 10 years, and being relatively familiar with the Arrivals area . . .pray, tell me: where are the other 25 Visa on Arrival kiosks?"

• Bill wrote:

"If the Indonesia government would allow VOL (Visa On Line) for both the new 30/60 day Visa and also allow people to pay for all 6 months (180 Days) of the Social Budaya visa 'up front,' it would cut down on delays upon arrival, traffic congestion during travel to/from the Consulate for extensions, and eliminate the graft being charged by agents during the many extensions by expats on the island. Paying for all 180 days would insure that the government gets ALL of the money, and it not going into the pockets of the agents doing the gouging."

• Steve Preston wrote:

"Either get a visa online like Australia or have the airlines collect the fee with the ticket."

[The Mismanagement of Bali Tourism]

• Brice Wyder in Australia wrote:

"The Government should invest in desalination plants for water, use wind energy for electricity and improve public transportation. I spend a lot of time in Bali and have noticed a big increase in tourists, but it seems they do not spend a lot in the local shops or markets."

[90% of Indonesian Museums Not Fit to Visit]

• Barry Acott in Australia said:

"'The Minister hopes that persuading more people to visit museums will automatically cause the management of museums to improve. Let's see what happens next year after this program is completed.' This is another example of the unprofessional approach by the Indonesian authorities. The museums and (many) government offices look like palaces on the outside. . .but on the inside ."

[An End to Balinese Boondoggles]

• W. Geffrey applauded Bali's governor, saying:

"Viva Gov. Pastika! Please come to California and serve our people when your term in Bali ends."


The Raw Truth
Ko Sushi Lounge & Bar with a Whole New Look at Intercontinental Bali Resort.

The competition of chic, trend-setting venues in Bali just became more intense. InterContinental Bali Resort's Japanese restaurant KO has unveiled its newly refurbished Sushi Lounge & Bar. An exhaustive cocktail selection offered in a stunning new design have put the KO Sushi Lounge & Bar in a front runner position in the island's burgeoning bar and cocktail scene. Following cocktails and starters, guests then indulge in a memorable meal at one of Bali's most authentic Japanese restaurants.

  

Click Images to Enlarge


KO Sushi Lounge & Bar has taken its well-established refined Japanese aesthetic and improved upon it, creating a new identity. The interior space has been opened via a clever and innovative use of interior design to generate warmth and peace. By combining contemporary styling with traditional and understated elegance, KO Sushi Lounge and Bar aims to become a sanctuary of calm and sophistication.

"Bali is a destination for style makers throughout the world", says Mr. Phil Riley, General Manager & Area General Manager IHG Indonesia. "We look forward to welcoming them at KO Sushi Lounge & Bar to share a unique experience and atmosphere that is unforgettable. Bali is becoming known for its world class venues and KO Sushi Lounge and Bar is right at the cutting edge."

Up to 50 guests can choose to enjoy a relaxed and informal gathering in the generously cushioned gold armchairs, or a more traditional dining experience at a table setting.

As the accompanying pictures show, the Japanese design ethic is typified by over sized hanging lanterns and carved wall lighting panels shed a gentle light on floor to ceiling columns and recesses in layered stone. A stunning collection of glass works complements the space's collection of local and international artworks.

The ultra modern and beautiful swirling abstracts of the sushi bar back splash provide a dynamic backdrop to the fresh array of fine seafood on display.

KO Sushi Lounge & Bar is open every evening from 6.30 pm onwards. Well-trained chefs prepare fresh sushi, sashimi and maki rolls upon request. The extensive and well-balanced menu also features yakitori, tempura, noodle and rice dishes.

Book a stay at [InterContinental Bali Resort]


Investing in the Future
Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali Spending US$ 8 Million on Guest Room Upgrades.

The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali have announced a massive upgrade of its guest rooms costing US$8 million set to commence from May 1, 2010. The "room revitalization program" will take one year to complete.



Click Images to Enlarge


The program includes a comprehensive transformation of every guest room resulting in a sleek and sophisticated looking guest room with a "tropical edge." Ergonomic designed furnishings and personal touches aim to take every conceivable guest need into careful consideration. Guest rooms will feature the new generation of Heavenly® Bed, beds, I-Pod docks with an integrated alarm clock, bedside master switch boards, audio visual entertainment ports, extended bathroom complete with standing shower and a separate bathtub, double vanity, 37-inch flat screen television, personalized in-room shop with lifestyle products, an ergonomic refreshment centre, and a dual wardrobe area with ample of space and drawers to store your belongings.

"We are proud to be able to make this announcement. As we work hard to make our resort even more inviting and inspiring, we want to assure you that we will make our renewal as easy as possible for our guests.

The refurbishment will be carried out in three stages; noise and air pollution will be kept at minimum level during the revitalization period. Upon completion of the project, the resort will offer an enhanced Westin Brand experience that will elevate your senses," commented Bipan Kapur, General Manager of The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali.

Book a stay at [Westin Resort, Nusa Dua]


Urgent Need to Expand Bali's Airport
Minister Wants End to All Delays in Major Upgrade of Bali's Airport.

Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, was in Bali on Sunday, February 28, 2010, to officiate at the launching of a book covering the history of Bali aviation. Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport: Gateway to Paradise 1930-2010 which has been published by Angkasa Pura I, the company that manages Bali's only air gateway.

During his remarks at a launch party held at the Kartika Plaza Hotel in South Kuta, Minister Wacik urged that current plans to expand and upgrade Bali's airport not be delayed in order to accommodate the rapidly expanding number of domestic and foreign tourist coming to Bali.

The Minister revealed he was keeping abreast of development at the airport, including efforts to employ a Balinese architectural firm to ensure the facility has a "Balinese style." Quoted in The Jakarta Globe Wacik's now familiar wide ranging comments included pointers on clean bathrooms, the need for less commercial space at the airport, better taxi service and improved immigration service.

On plans to reduce commercial spaces, Wacik admonished, "If you want to shop, just go to Sukawati market, shop directly from the people."

The Minister, who heads a nation-wide campaign for cleaner public toilets, said: "Remember, a survey stated that 70 percent of people who just get off a plane, the first thing they want is the toilet. Do not let people travel all the way from Europe and, once they get into Ngurah Rai Airport, they complain about the dirty toilets."

The director of state airport operations at Angkasa Pura I told the audience that the upgrade of the airport is still awaiting the final approval of Bali's governor and the regent of Badung. Once these are in hand the final plans will thenbe forwarded to the Minister of Transportation for his agreement before letting the project out for bid.

Expansion plans will dislocate 130 employees now living in an airport housing complex in order to provide space for expanded runway, apron and terminals. The new airport is being designed to accommodate a flow through of 20 million passengers each year, a number roughly twice the present volume.

Angkasa Pura also used the occasion to remind the government of the need to increase the capacity of roads leading into and out of the airport.


Enough is Enough in Karangasem
Bali Lawmaker in Karangasem Claims Hotel and Restaurant Sector is Overbuilt.

A member of the local House of Representatives in Karangasem (DPRD-Karangasem), Nyoman Sadra, told the Bali Post that the hotel and restaurant sector in Karangasem is over-saturated and new developments should not be allowed. To support his case, Sadra pointed to the many bankrupt tourism enterprises in Candidasa and Tulamben.

An advisor to the Karangasem chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI-Karangasem), called for a review of hotel room development in the regency to be undertaken. Such a study should look at supply and demand issues. He urged that investors in the hotel sector should not be approached until the results of such a study are in hand. Such a study would help prevent the useless destruction of the local environment only in the name of tourism.

Sadra condemned the current investment process which appears to lure investors to Karangasem in order that officials can earn "fees," often at the expense of local zoning rules meant to protect sacred areas and beach fronts. The local law maker also pointed out how, in the end, such unplanned development places a burden on the local population who are forced to work for wages as low as Rp. 75,000 (US$8) a month at villas that are not financially viable.

While tourism projects in Karangasem often lose money, the agriculture and livestock sectors with much higher income potential go begging. Requests for peanuts from Karangasem exceed current production capabilities with indications that livestock production from that region is also much in demand.


New Flight Service from Bali to Ende, Flores
Three Weekly Flights by TransNusa to Connect Ende and Bali.

Aviastar Airways has commenced flights between Bali and Ende on the island of Flores.

A joint operation with PT TransNusa Air Service, the new flights are in response to growing demand for flights to Ende, a beautiful port city on the south coast of Flores and in close proximity to the island's fabled three colored lakes at Kelimutu.

The new flight service commenced on February 23, 2010 with three flights per week operating on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. A British Aerospace -146 owned by Aviastar is flying the route configured to carry 82 passengers.


Bali Update Turns 12
Bali Update Celebrates Twelve Years of Telling Bali's Side of the News.


On March 3, 2010, Bali Update turns twelve.

Initially conceived as a an email to share "Bali's side of the story," a small mailing list has now turned into a newsletter mailed to 20,000 plus subscribers every week that's quoted regularly by media around the world.

Twelve years, 703 editions and some 6,000 articles later, Bali Update is still here giving our Bali-based perspective on the news. Is our news always positive? Unfortunately not, but that's s price that must be paid to maintain credibility. But, as demonstrated time and again, by telling the truth we also preserve our right to tell Bali's side of every story by keeping open our established chain of communication with the media and Bali-philes everywhere. Whether we're covering rabies, H1N1 or long lines for visas at Bali's airport - we continue to strive to describe any problem together with the steps Bali is taking to overcome the situation.

Some have commented that Bali Update's coverage of the news is increasingly sharp edged. There's a logical explanation for this. Because 90% of our news is comprised of truthful renderings of information appearing in the Indonesian language local media, our stories automatically reflect the unbridled freedom of expression now enjoyed by the Indonesia media.

And, on those occasions when Bali Update has it's own opinion on a topic affecting Bali it's filed under the heading "Editorial." In this vein, despite earning our livings from the sale of accommodation, tours and transportation to visitors via [www.balidiscovery.com] and [www.ayokebali.com], we will continue to put our love for Bali before any commercial considerations when highlighting areas that we think threaten the sustainability of the Bali's natural environment or its esteemed ancient culture.

Preparing each edition of Bali Update is a labor of love done by its Editor, John "Jack" Daniels, the President Director of Bali Discovery Tours, who has dreams of the day when finances will allow him to hire a supporting editorial staff, freeing his weekends for something other than preparing the next edition.

Looking back over twelve eventful years, we express our sincere thanks to those of you who used our travel services, helping us to pay the bills. Thanks also to the many readers who have taken the time to write in. Similarly, the numerous awards Bali Update has received on a provincial, national and international level have warmed our hearts, providing inspiration and motivation to carry on. In this regard, thank you to government of Bali and the many travel organizations who've seen fit to bestow these honors.

Again, "thank you all."

Like clockwork, we'll see you next week.


 
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