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Sobering Words of Warning for Bali from Travel Mole's Ian Jarrett: Bali on the Brink of Destroying the Dream.
Perth-based senior travel journalist Ian Jarrett wrote a heart-felt piece for the Travel Mole - an international e-newsletter for the travel industry. Ian is proven friend of Bali, a fact that makes the following warning echoing themes often raised in Bali Update all the more poignant:
TravelMole Comment: Bali on the Brink of Destroying the Dream
By Ian Jarrett
If the threatened re-introduction of fingerprinting for visitors to Bali goes ahead, it may be the final straw for many who have kept faith with a destination that has tested our loyalty.
Australian visitors have returned to Bali in record numbers following the Bali bombings of 2002 and 2005 despite warnings from the Australian government that it continues to "receive credible information that terrorists could be planning attacks in Indonesia and that Bali remains an attractive target for terrorists".
We have suffered the long immigration queues at Ngurah Rai airport - which Travel and Leisure magazine has named as one of the "12 Ugliest Airports in the World" - waiting to fork out US$25 for a visa, our patience sustained by the thought that beyond immigration lie fabulous hotels and resorts, and an unmatched value-for-money destination.
Our patience has been further tested by the knowledge that the move by Indonesian authorities to scrap the US$10 7-day visa-on-arrival fee, and charge all visitors for a 30-day US$25 visa, is being linked to efforts to stamp out corruption among Bali's immigration officers.
In 2009, immigration officials at Denpasar Airport immigration office were caught embezzling US$300,000 in visa fees through the misreporting of 7-day and 30-day fees.
We have grudgingly slipped a $20 note to a Customs official who has "fined" us for a second bottle of wine in our hand baggage, but then pocketed the cash and allowed us to proceed.
We have coped with extraordinary high taxes on alcohol, which has created shortages of alcoholic beverages, and unrealistically high prices for very average wine.
We have put it down to experience when we have been rorted (sic) by unofficial money changers.
We have tried to ignore the over-development of villas and resorts that is stripping the cultural heart out of Bali.
And we have tried to ignore that once-tranquil Ubud is now chocked with traffic.
All this and we might yet have to stand in queues for hours waiting to be fingerprinted and photographed.
If this happens a lot of people will be saying Bye, Bye Bali - it's been good to know you.
Bali Aims to Lead the Nation in Education
Bali's Governor Seeks to Introduce 12 Years of Compulsory Education, 3 Years More than the Current Requirement Nationwide.
Bali's provincial government is targeting to introduce 12 years of compulsory schooling for the island's youth, even though nationwide a mere 9 years of compulsory education is the norm.
Governor Made Mangku Pastika told Beritabali.com on May 8, 2010, his desire to introduce 12 years of education in Bali is intended to increase both the quality of education and the quality of the Balinese people. This is in keeping with current efforts to enhance the educational curriculum at grade schools and junior high schools in Bali through the introduction of e-learning and IT-based computer-driven methodologies.
The governor explained how high schools were first in line to receive computers and IT technologies with plans to extend the program to all grade schools in the near future.
As required by law, governor Pastika's administration allocates 20% of the provinces budget for the support of education.
The governor said that the challenge of providing education for the Balinese is not merely aiming to increase quality but also the need to equalize the access to educational opportunities in all corners of Bali.
Expand, Improve or Perish
Bali Legislator Calls for an Accelerated Remodeling Program for Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport to Maintain Destination Competitiveness.
In the face of a growing chorus of complaints from island visitors about Bali's Ngurah Rai airport, a member of Commission B the provincial house of representatives (DPRD-Bali) has called for urgent improvements and expansion of facilities at the island's air gateway.
The legislator, Wayan Puspanegara, told BisnisBali that Bali's airport is presently unable to provide an international scale of service. The excellent level of service to which the airport aspires will not be possible, according to Puspanegara, until the area of Ngurah Rai is increased and new, better facilities introduced.
The legislator also said the current airport is severely overloaded and incapable of providing fast, efficient and effective service. He also cited the need to expand and improve Bali's airport as an "absolute" necessity, with current renovations programs requiring a more accelerated pace towards completion.
Warning that Bali's reputation as an international destination is at stake, he also used the occasion to remind all concerned that Bali's airport must be built in a way that reflects Bali's character.
Bali to Accelerate Plans for Kuta Overpass
As Bali's Traffic Situation Worsens, Legislators Agree to Fund and Fast-track Overpass at Dewa Ruci Simpang Siur Traffic Circle.
Responding to deteriorating traffic conditions and Bali's selection to host the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in 2013, a decision has been made to move ahead with plans to construct a flyover bypass at the Simpang Siur intersection on the outskirts of Kuta.
Radar Bali reports that despite initial rejection of the plans for the new road, opposition is fading to the road project.
At a recent meeting between Commission III of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) and Commission V of the National legislature (DPR-RI) an agreement was formed to fight for the necessary funding for the road project in the current 2010 national budget. Putu Agus Surdnyana, a Bali legislator, said, "We have met with Commission V of the DPR-RI. Essentially, the central government will support (the project) if Bali has no further objections to building a flyover."
During the inter-parliamentary meeting, the growing severity of traffic congestion in and around the Simpang Siur Dewa Ruci Monument intersection was discussed and the effect traffic jams that extend to the airport and Nusa Dua would have on delegate attending the 2013 APEC summit.
The proposed flyover is intended to eliminate long traffic lines from the south through the provision of a flyover connecting northbound traffic to the Sunset Road.
With funding commitments from the central government for the Rp. 300 billion (US$ 32.6 million) flyover now in hand, Bali is busily undertaking the planning and design phase that, once completed, will allow the project to move ahead.
Follow the Money
Chris John's Title Defense Moved from Bali to Jakarta.
The Jakarta Post reports that the once-delayed title fight between Indonesian WBA world featherweight champion Chris John and Argentinean fighter Fernando David Saucedo will not be held in Bali as initially announced, but, instead, be moved to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.
Initially slated to be fought on Kuta Beach on May 22nd but postponed due to a practice injury suffered by Chris John, the rescheduled bout will now happen in the third week of July 2010.
The contest is being promoted by Indonesian fight promoter Zaenal Thayeb who has reportedly negotiated broadcast rights with the Indonesian television network RCTI.
Press reports say the Indonesian fighter wished the fight to take place in mid-June to mid-July, but Indonesian television sports programmers prefer the late July date to avoid any time clash with World Cup broadcasts from South Africa.
Revisit Bali's Past at Screening of Vintage Films Presented by Amandari Resort in Ubud, Bali, July 1-3, 2010.
Ubud's renowned Amandari Resort will host a screening of classic heritage films on Bali July 1-3, 2010.
Held in conjunction with French Cinιmathθque of Dance and the Swedish Dance Museum, a highlights of the three nights will be a rare screening of vintage films on Balinese dance made by Swede Rolf de Marι in the 1930s.
Shown over three nights, the vintage films will be screened in Kedewatan's village wantilan, located next door to the Amandari Resort.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 - Goona Goona a 1932 dance film directed by Armand Denis and Andre Roosevelt (65 Minutes). Released to widespread popular acclaim, the film's U.S. version was titled "Love Powder" reflecting its loose plot-line of the love of a Balinese prince for a servant girl, whose affections for the prince are awakened by a secret "goona goona" love potion.
At the time when "Goona Goona" was released in the U.S.A., the Nicholas Brothers, child dancers from Harlem were stars at New York's Cotton Club. After intermission, a 45-minute montage of dance moments by the Nicholas Brothers will be shown. Parallels will undoubtedly be drawn between Harlem and Bali in the 1930s, both islands listed as inspirations to Miguel Covarrubias who came to Bali in this era.
Friday, July 2, 2010. A screening of films shot by Rolf de Marι's 1938 expedition to Nias, Sulawesi, Sunda, Java and Bali.The film will be preceded by a selection of photographs of de Marι presented by Erik Naslund of the Dansmuseet of Stockholm, Sweden and author of a biography of Rolf de Marι. The film runs 90 minutes. Shown in two-parts, the film will run for 90 minutes and includes Balinese dances prepared and selected by the legendary Walter Spies.
Saturday, July 3, 2010. A special screening of "Island of Bali La Isla de Bali" made in the 1930s shot by Rose Covarrubias and directed by her husband, Miguel. Shot in 1930 and 1937, the film traces Miguel Covarrubias' epic written study of Balinese life and culture - "Island of Bali."
Screenings on each evening commence at 7:00 pm with refreshments available.
Japanese Tourists in Bali: The Long Goodbye?
Departure of JAL from Bali May Result in a Monthly Shortfall of 12,000 Passengers.
As reported by balidiscovery.com, Japan Airlines (JAL) will end a decades long relationship with the island of Bali when they cease flights between Japan and Bali on October 1, 2010.
Despite loads on their Bali routes generally considered to be commercially viable, JAL's precarious financial position overall has prompted its executives to take dramatic cost-savings steps that include eliminating service on around 50 domestic and international air routes, including Bali.
Measured in real terms, JAL's departure from Bali will eliminate an estimated 400 passengers a day from the airline's network which stretches well beyond Japan to important markets in Europe and both North and South America. In the course of a month the passenger deficit resulting from JAL's absence could reach 12,000 passengers.
While Garuda Airlines is pledging to pick up any shortfall in passenger capacity occasioned by JAL's route closure, practical concerns are that fares may raise and passenger numbers drop ex Japan. Also of equal concern are questions regarding Garuda's capacity to secure additional aircraft for Japanese traffic from their reduced armada already fully committed to other planned route expansions.
Bisnis Bali reports that many Balinese small businesses are worried that any drop in Japanese tourists will translate into lower sales for hotels, art shops, handicraft producers and attraction operators.
In the view of many shop owners in Bali, Japanese rank among the most active shoppers.
Japanese tourist visiting Bali in Q1 2010 totaled 66,338 - a decrease of 20.48% year-on-year with Q1 2009.
While Bali continues to reel from the recent news of Japan Airlines' (JAL's) departure from Bali, there are numerous reports promising additional air service will soon be flying to the island.
A round up of new flights rumored to be in the offing, include:
AirAsia and Strategic Airlines are expected to add one flight and three flights per week, respectively, between Perth and Bali in June 2010.
Pacific Blue have plans to commence daily flights between Darwin and Bali in September 2010, increasing from four flights a week.
Cebu Airlines have plans to start flying three times a week between Manila and Bali in December 2010.
Vietnam Airlines is said to have plans to fly three times a week between Ho Chi Minh City and Bali early in 2011.
All flights are subject to final decisions by the airlines involved and approval from the relevant aviation authorities.
Barack Obama Bali Bound, Again.
U.S. Embassy Official Meets with Bali Press Prior to June Visit by U.S. President.
An U.S. official based in Indonesia has confirmed that President Barack Obama will soon be visiting Bali as part of a brief visit to Indonesia.
Andie De Arment, a U.S. Public Affairs Officer, was quoted by the Bali Post as saying the U.S. President's visit will have implications for U.S. Indonesian relations.
Andie also said the Indonesia is a country that receives special attention from the U.S. Chief Executive, in part because of the childhood years spent by Obama in Indonesia. Because of these childhood memories, Obama wants to bring his children to Indonesia, with stops at the Borobudur monument and Bali.
The U.S. official also spoke of the experience Indonesia and the U.S. shared in confronting and overcoming the global recession, emphasizing that economic cooperation between the two nations will ensure both emerge quickly from the current global financial crisis.
Obama's visit to Indonesia will take place in mid-June 2010, including, according to the U.S. spokesperson, Bali due to the island's peaceful pluralistic society and its rich cultural heritage.
De Arment told the press that the exact dates of Obama's visit to Indonesia remains unknown. Her assignment, together with her colleagues at the American Consulate General team in Surabaya, is to make the necessary general preparations for the planned visit.
Iranian Busted for Drugs in Bali
26-Year-Old Iranian Caught with Large Haul of Methamphetamine at Bali Airport.
A 26-year-old Iranian man has been apprehended by Customs officers at Bali Ngurah Rai International airport with 1.046 kilograms of sabu-sabu (methamphetamine). Rouhallah Seish Abadi Bin Samad had reportedly made several visits to Bali in the past. In his most recent trip he arrived on Qatar Airways 638 on May, 13, 2010, after transiting in Doha, Qatar on a Qatar Airways flight from Damascus.
According to Radar Bali, Samad raised suspicions when he became nervous when his bags were x-rayed by Bali's Customs officers. The x-rays showed the concealed stash of drugs encased in plastic bags hidden in the side-panels of the luggage.
Concerned that the Iranian might be concealing more drugs, officials gave the man medications to purge any packets of drug concealed in his digestive system. After keeping the man under close supervision, no additional drugs were discovered.
The Iranian told investigators that he was acting as a paid "mule" and would be paid several thousands dollars by a contact named "Wahid" upon arrival in Indonesia.
Police estimate the street value of the confiscated drugs at Rp.2.2 billion (US$239,000).
If convicted, the Iranian can be jailed for 20 years and fined Rp. 1 billion (US$108,700).
Bali's Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music
Top Songwriters Headed for Ubud in Bali's Hills to Seek Creative Inspiration.
Musicweek.com reports that some of the world's leading songwriters will converge in Ubud, Bali May 30 June 10, 2010, to join forces to create hit singles and album tracks for an number of artists, including former Westlife singer Brian McFadden and Australian artist Delta Goodrem.
10 internationally acclaimed songwriters and producers will huddle in Ubud with Goodrem, McFadden, Australian singer Cassie Davis, DJ Havana Brown, reggae fusion artist Marvin Priest and recording artist Gary Go.
One of the men behind the music camp, Blair MacDonald, said the Bali meeting of the musicians builds on the proven track record of the participating writers and "is a great way to capitalise on this profile and build stronger relationships with labels, their artists and collaborators on the other side of the world."
The Bali creative gathering was the brainchild of Island Records Australia.
MacDonald said: "Ubud is truly Bali's preeminent centre for fine arts, dance and music. And when Michael Taylor, Head of Island Records Australia, and I were discussing putting together an exceptional retreat in a truly unique place, we couldn't think of a more vibrant, creative and inspiring place to conduct it."
Michael Taylor of Island Records Australia was equally enthusiastic about the Ubud summit with Michael Taylor saying the event's location will bring about some hits, adding, "with this calibre of song-writing talent and artistry, and with the beautiful surroundings of Ubud, great music and collaborations are bound to come forth."
Among the musical writer luminaries expected in Ubud are Arnthor Birgisson ( Britney Spears, Leona Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Celine Dion), Fredro (Guy Sebastian, Kelly Rowland, Sugababes & Sinead O Connor), Gary Clark (Natalie Imbruglia, McFly and Demi Lovato), Jeff Miyahara (2009 Japanese Writer and Producer of the Year), Negin Djafari (Miley Cyrus, Kumi Koda and Exile), Paul Mac (Silverchair and George Michael), Robert Conley (Darren Hays, Amy Meredity, Axel Whitehead and Brian McFadden) and Arama Brown (Enrique Iglesia, Pixie Lott and Hanna Montana).
A Shore Thing for North Bali Kids
Teaching Children at Pemuteran, North Bali to Care for the Island's Shorelines and Reefs.
Komang Astika of Biorock Center and Renaud Wicky of Bali Diving Academy know how to make "kid's play" of working for a greener, more sustainable world.
On Earth Day, April 22, 2010, the two men organized 200 children from a community school in Pumetarn, Buleleng, North Bali to clean the shoreline near their home.
Outfitted with gloves and recycled empty rice bags, the one-hour beach clean up collected over 200 kg of discarded plastic bags, ropes, fishing line, plastic bottles and empty cigarette packages.
After the clean up, Komang Astika led the kids in an educational seminar on how the award-winning the Biorock project is rebuilding damaged coral reefs. Komang, who works with the Biorock project, shared videos showing the beauty of the new coral and the rich aquatic life in the waters surrounding Pemuteran. He also shared how his group manages to grow new coral reefs in cooperation with the local community.
The focus of world-wide scientific attention for its success in Biorock development, Pemuteran is home to the largest reef rebuilding project in the world. Over 50 steel frames of varying shapes are hosts to fast-growing new reefs stimulated by low-voltage current running through the frames.
Since its inception in 1998, Biorock has forged a successful community-based environmental movement in which volunteers and local residents create new reefs, while local fishermen, who once bombed coral formations, have now become front line defenders of reefs that are the source of sustainable fish populations and bring employment-generating tourists to their area to snorkel and dive.
Shown on balidiscovery.com are photos of the kids of Pemuteran cleaning their beach on Earth Day 2010.
Ring of Fire Now in its Third Edition
Book on Epic Indonesian Journey by the Brothers Blair Re-released in its Third Edition.
Now back in its third edition by [Editions Didier Millet], the modern classic of Indonesian travel sagas "Ring of Fire an Indonesian Odyssey" by Lawrence and Lorne Blair is back on book shelves at all leading bookstores.
Based on the Emmy award-winning documentary series of the same name, Ring of Fire is a first-person account of the adventures of two English brothers as they explore the astonishingly rich cultures of the Indonesian islands. The Blair brothers' escapades began in 1972, and over the next decade, they went on expeditions to Sulawesi, Bali, Borneo, New Guinea and many remote islands in the archipelago, encountering birds of paradise, palaces, magicians, mystics and even dragons. Ring of Fire stands as an enduring record of a vanishing world and represents an essential addition to the personal collection of every Indonesianist.
A resident of Bali, Lawrence Blair has appeared on television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic and has lectured in psycho-anthropology at the University of California. He is also the author of Rhythms of Vision: The Changing Patterns of Belief.
Lorne, his late brother and companion on the epic journeys the book relates, began his career as an independent filmmaker after working initially for the BBC. In addition to Ring of Fire, his other films that have appeared on international television include Lempad of Bali, which won the Mitra Award at the 26th Asian Film Festival in 1980.
A faithful reprinting of the first and second editions, published in 1988 and 1991, the 3rd edition includes a foreword by Jamie James and an introduction by Lawrence Blair reflecting on his four decade love-affair with the Indonesian archipelago.
What Others Have to Say on 'Ring of Fire'
"Now this is REAL adventure: no radios, compasses, ice, emergency supplies for months at a time through one of the most hazardous and fascinating regions on earth." - Richard Branson
"Incomparable adventure teeming with thrills, chills, mystery, and the bizarre..." - Los Angeles Times
"Sets sails and sights for lands as unfamiliar and spectacular as anything dreamed up for a Steven Spielberg movie. Thoroughly fascinating nearly every harrowing step of the way." - Washington Post
""These lands are timeless, and so is the series...and unmatchable vicarious experience." - The San Francisco Examiner
Blair, Lawrence and Lorne, Ring of Fire an Indonesian Odyssey [Singapore: Editions Didier Millet Pte. Ltd, 2010.] ISBN 978-981-4260-10-7
Does Bali's Rabies Vectors Now Include Cats?
Most Recent Rabies Death in North Bali Cast Suspicion on Island's Feline Population.
Bali's continuing rabies epidemic took another turn with the death of a 13-year-old school girl in Pemaron, Buleleng, North Bali on Friday, May 14, 2010.
Kadek Vina Kurniadewi died with "rabies-like" symptoms after being hospitalized for one day.
Suggesting a new vector for the deadly disease, the most recent animal bite suffered by the child was from a cat 3-months prior to her death. In years previous to the recent cat attack, the girl had been bitten by a monkey and a dog.
The cat bites were reportedly suffered when the girl tried to separate her pet cat engaged in a fight with a stray cat, resulting in a bit from the stray cat.
Domestic Air Fare to Increase 20%?
New Regulations Raise Amounts Indonesian Domestic Carriers Can Charge for Air Tickets.
A new regulation (No 26/2010) from the Indonesian Minister of Transportation that takes effect from the end of May 2010, establishes maximum tariff guidelines for economy class tickets sold by domestic air carriers.
Quoted in NusaBali, the Commercial Director Sriwijaya Air, Toto Nursatyo said the new fare rules provide for increases of between 10 and 20% over current fares.
The new fare levels include a basic fare, fuel surcharges and value-added-taxes.
It is still unclear if all domestic airlines will increase their fares by 20%, bearing in mind that the new government guidelines specify maximum fare levels.
When contacted by NusaBali, officials of both Lion Mentari Airlines and Batavia Air refused comment on new fare levels for their airlines.
In the Hot Pursuit of Luxury
Bali Governor Wants Illegal Luxury Cars, Motorcycles and their Owners to Leave.
Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika has issued a call for unregistered Ferrari sports cars and their owners to be evicted from Bali.
Obviously displeased with the continuing saga of illegally imported large motorbikes and luxury cars that are evading their tax obligations, Pastika issued a firm call for the cases involving illegal vehicles to be followed through to an a final resolution.
"The owners of the Ferrari's are clearly not responsible people, because they do not pay taxes. These people are bold enough to buy (expensive cars) but not to brave enough to pay taxes. They have not purchased legal vehicles," explained Pastika.
Pastika insists that people owning illegally imported Ferrari's, luxury automobiles, and large motor cycles must be brought into line on import duties and road taxes. "If (these people) continue to disobey the law by operating illegal vehicles in Bali, it would be better to throw them off the island," warned the governor.
The Chairman of Commission I of the Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), I Made Arjaya, has accepted that the legislature must help put an end to the illegal use of luxury vehicles. Said Arjaya: "Rather than paying off certain officials in order to be allowed to operate their vehicles, it would be better if these rich people just paid their taxes. I support steps by the provincial government to make regulations that will make the owners of the illegal vehicles pay their tax obligations."
Cowboys on Kuta, Gigolos, Ubud Traffic and a Rail System for Bali are Among the Topics Discussed in this Week's balidiscovery.com Mailbag.
[Happy Trails to You, Until We Meet Again], part of our continuing coverage of the controversy surrounding male gigolos operating on Kuta beach in Bali brings in new letters every week. Here's this week's installment :
Michael in Bali wrote:
"Kuta Cowboys? The expression 'Kuta Cowboys' originated in the late 70's and had nothing to do with the Bali Gigolos, although the Bali Gigolos were in full swing during this period. . . Kuta Cowboys were a tough motorcycle gang headed by a Balinese character by the name of Lolot. Lolot is now a Christian Minister. This Singapore guy obviously got his wires crossed wrong. He is a jerk and its just Tabloid rubbish. So what, Bali has Gigolos, this exist all over the world."
"What a joke! Police should visit bars and restaurants where you can find many (under aged) girls, offering their 'friendship,' to (often much older) foreign men!"
Dave had this to say:
"Has anyone pointed out to the government that this is a very SEXIST policy? There are far more female 'gigolos' on Bali than male, but I don't see any level of scandal or attention as for male 'gigolos.' It is also sexist in terms of the clients. So is it OK for men, both Indonesian and foreigners, to be 'entertained' by women but NOT OK for women to be 'entertained' by men. By the way, Bali is not the only place in the world with 'cowboys'. Are the men in government and the police upset that now women can also enjoy the same pleasures as some men do?"
[Gigolos in Bali] a translation of a opinion/editorial piece on the gigolo situation by a leading Balinese academic, Dr. Wayan Windia stimulated the following people to write in:
Mike Edwards in Australia:
"I have been a constant visitor to Bali since the mid 80s and have always known of the cowboys. I can't imagine this disclosure on film would have an adverse effect on tourism. Their activities are very discrete and, as human beings, they are as delightful as any other Bali boys. From your article I can see that no one has made a complaint about them, besides they provide a service to otherwise lonely women. I have been approached by female prostitutes in Kuta on many occasions offering that special massage, not my thing. However, to other men these girls provide..... fill in the gap for yourself. Having a professional sexual liaison person, providing education on condoms to prevent the spread of STI's /STD's would be a better service than rounding up the cowboys and chastising them about morals."
Alex wrote in to say:
"I really cannot believe that governor Pastika has raised concerns about this load of media rubbish. Bali, like many other holiday destinations, has gigolos, it's part of the way of a holiday romance, for gods sake...I just find it pathetic that Pastika is worried about this "image of Bali"...he would be well better suited to sorting out the ever increasing and annoying street sellers/hawkers....if the women want a Balinese romance let them have it...this is the 21st century."
Someone, identify themselves only as O.S., applauded Dr.Windia, saying :
"Special to Mr. Wayan Windia a big thank you for this letter. I will hope all the authorities of Bali read, understand and follow this point of view ! Bali has big chances for a growing tourism business, but the Island need to wake up after a long sleep. Yes, it is an Island, but an Island as a part of a world. As long this Island like to earn money from guests from all over this world, it need to grow, learn and work ... I hope the best !! Thank you Pak Wayan Windia !"
"Have the tourists leave their coach and walk or take much smaller vehicles. Some tourists may not like it but others will enjoy the change of pace and chance for leisurely exercise. Too many tourists can be bad for business as well. Tourists do not want to look at other tourists, they want to mingle with the locals and appreciate the local culture. Please do not abandon the Bali way of life for the sake of tourism, stay authentic!"
[Rallying for Rails in Bali], the thoughts of local artist Nyoman Gunarsa in support of a round-Bali rail system earned the following letter:
Roy in Ubud wrote:
"I'm not sure what to think about this . . . This proposal seems to be gaining steam, (no pun intended), however, while on the surface it seems to make a lot of sense, I have to wonder if by adding more "commuter" types of transportation systems are we really addressing the overcrowding which is at the heart of Bali's dire ecological problems?"
Bali's Role in Generating Foreign Exchange
Bali Generates 45% of Indonesia's Foreign Exchange from Tourism.
Antara, the national news agency, reports that Bali contributes Rp. 34 trillion (US$3.7 billion) or 45% of all foreign exchange earned nationally from tourism.
This figure corresponds with the approximate 2 million Bali visitors from a national total of 6.4 million tourists in 2009.
Ida Bagus Kadek Subhisku, the head of the Bali Tourism Service said: "Bali belonged to us all, and is at the same time also a magnet to other regions in introducing their regions. Besides South Sulawesi, North Sumatra, Central Sulawesi, and West Papua, have also established tourism promotion cooperation with Bali."
Subhisku explained that hotels and restaurants in the Bandung regency of Bali earned Rp. 850 billion (US$92.4 million), followed by Denpasar and Gianyar.
Bali's man in charge of tourism admitted to the press that Bali's tourism infrastructure suffered from many shortcomings. Nonetheless, Bali boasts 270 individual tourist destinations, including 180 marine tourism facilities. The island's tourism industry also counts 155 star-rated hotels containing 46,000 rooms, and cottages or villas providing an additional 2,175 rooms. Bali has 1,693 restaurants, 635 registered travel agents and 8,000 licensed tour guides.
The links below provide access to the graphical version of the Bali Update.