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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #939 - 01 September 2014

IN THIS UPDATE


A Symphony of Statues Beneath the Sea
Submarine Statue Park Being Installed Off the Coast of Bali’s Nusa Dua

According to Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post), the latest attraction for visitors to South Bali and Nusa Dua is located below sea level in the form of underwater statues installed for the amusement and entertainment of snorkelers and divers.

In an ongoing program, statues depicting Balinese dancers and characters from Hindu epics have been installed at a depth of 11 meters some 500 meters offshore from Samuh Beach at Nusa Dua.

28 of an expected total of 74 statues have now been sunk in the water’s depths in a project initiated by Pariama Hutasoit of the Nusa Dua Reef Foundation at a cost of Rp. 650 million (US$67,200).

The entire project has been funded by public donations.

Each statue is made of a substance that will encourage new coral growth, eventually serving as a foundation for a large reef formation that will become the home to a whole range of aquatic life.


On Second Thought
Government Postpones December 2 Day without Subsidized Fuel

Plans to introduce a day on which no subsidized fuel would be sold at gas stations on Java and Bali that was to have taken place on Sunday, December 2, 2012 [See: Pausing the Pump]  has been postponed until sometime next year.

The Indonesian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jero Wacik, quoted by Bisnis.com, said that while the recommendation to suspend the sale of subsidized premium and diesel fuel for one day is a good one, current conditions do not allow the program to go ahead at this time.

Explained Wacik on Wednesday, November 28, 2012: “According to my opinion, this is a good program. But the December 2nd date is just too soon. Earlier we decided at a meeting that this program would not take place this year.”

Saying effort to reduce the use of subsidized fuel needs more socialization, Wacik used the opportunity to urge the State Oil Company Pertamina to produce more non-subsidized fuel products to ensure the public has a choice at the fuel pumps.

Plans are now afoot to re-introduce the program of days without subsidized fuel in 2013, on which only Pertamax and Pertamax plus can be sold at gas stations. In an effort to reduce national dependency on subsidized fuels the government is now considering banning the sale of these fuels on Sunday of each week starting sometime in 2013.


Accor Grows its Network in Indonesia
Accor to Open 18 New Hotels in Indonesia in 2013 Aimed at Offering Quality to the Budget-Minded Traveler

Bisnis.com reports that the Accor International hotel brand plans to open 18 new properties to serve the middle and luxury market segments in Indonesia in 2013.

Adi Satria, Accor’s regional director of sales, marketing and distribution for Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore said the opening of the new properties depends on the completion of construction projects already underway.

On Wednesday, November 28, 2012, Satria announced that Accor would open a new Hotel Ibis in the Dewi Sri area of Kuta in January 2013.

The Ibis Styles Dew Sri Kuta property will bring to five the number of Ibis Styles operating in Bali:
  • Ibis Styles Dewi Sri
  • Ibis Styles Kuta Circle
  • Ibis Styles Tanjung Benoa
  • Ibis Styles Legian
  • Ibis Tuban, Kuta
Ibis has revitalized its branding with Ibid to serve the economy sector, Ibis Styles (formerly All Seasons) for the premium economy sector, and Formula 1 for budget customers.

All the Ibis hotels will be rebranded with their new logo before the end of 2013.

Accor rebranding and expansion in Indonesia is based on a survey of Asian hotel consumers that showed clients will pay up to 24% more to stay at an economy brand hotel with an international branding.

Because of this, according to Satria, Ibis is focusing their energies on quality standards in order to maintain profitability and pricing.


Premier Inn Premieres in Bali
U.K. Hotel Operator Preparing to Opens Premier Inn Bali Jimbaran in 2013

Premeir Inn - an economy segment brand from the United Kingdom, has joined forces with an Indonesian company, PT Alda Bali Indotel, to establish the Premier Inn Bali Jimbaran as their first property in Indonesia.

As reported by Bisnis.com, the director of Alda Bali Indotel, Ali Kusno Fusin, said that the Premier Inn Bali Jimbaran is targeting to commence operations in the second-half of 2013.

The hotel’s facilities will include a restaurant, bar and swimming pool.

Ali said: “In keeping with the development of tourism, particularly the demands of budget travelers seeking ‘value for money,’ the opening of the Premier Inn is the right move.”

Erik van Keulen, Senior Vice President for Development in the Asia-Pacific for Premier Inn described the new hotel in Jimbaran as the first step of his company to introduce his brand to Indonesia and the rest of Southeast Asia.

Van Kuelen said Premier is seeking business partners in Southeast Asia.

Premier Inn operates more than 630 hotels with a total of 49,000 rooms operating in Great Britain, the Middle East and India.


Indonesian Tour Agents Living on the Margins
Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents Demanding Higher Commission Levels from National Air Carriers

The Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) is urging Indonesian air carriers to revise commissions paid to its members to become 7%-9%.

Asnawi Bahar, ASITA’s president said the idea level of commission should be 9% for travel agents and 7% for sub-agents, in order to create a sustainable business environment.

“At this time, sub-agents are earning 3% while travel agents earn 5% on the airline tickets they sell to the public,” said Bahar, quoted by Bisnis.com.

The ASITA president said the failure to revise airline ticket commission levels is stunting the growth of travel agents and also reducing the load factors of Indonesian carriers. Moreover, insists Bahar, the profitability of Indonesian airlines permits commission levels of 12%-13%, making the goal of 7%-9% relatively modest.

Bahar said on-line sales efforts by Indonesian airlines are displacing the tradition role of travel agents. This problem is made worse, he contends, by cash back offers to corporate customers and cooperative marketing agreements with credit card companies.

ASITA represents more than 7,000 member travel and tour agencies across Indonesia.

Bahar Asnawi said he would continue his quest for higher commission levels from the airlines with the carriers concerned and via various ministries of the Indonesian government.
 


Cheaper by the Dozen
Indonesia Sky Aviation Taking Delivery of 3 Sukohoi Super Jet 100s Following Loss of Aircraft During May Demonstration Flight

The Indonesian airline Sky Aviation will take delivery of one Sukohoi Super Jet 100 in December 2012 following the issuance of safety certification for the aircraft by the Indonesian Minister of Transportation.

As reported by Bisnis.com, the jet is one of three Sukohoi Super Jets slated for delivery to Sky Aviation, a curtailed total from the original order of 12 aircraft.

The reduced aircraft order is widely believed to be linked to the markedly reduced ardor for the Sukihoi Super Jet 100 following the tragic crash of a jet on a demonstration joy flight in May 9, 2012. That crash into Mount Salak in West Java killed the 37 passengers and 8 crew on board the plane.

The safety certification issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation clears the way for the Sukohoi’s use in scheduled air services in Indonesia.

The three aircraft were purchased by Sky Aviation under a financial lease agreement with a Russian financing agency.

A Sky Aviation spokesman admitted that the reduction from 12 to just 3 aircraft was the result of the May 2012 crash, with the possibility that the remaining 9 aircraft will be acquired later under a purchase option.

Following the delivery of the first Sukohoi in December, the second plane will arrive in February 2013 and the third in March 2013.


Bali’s Airport Goes Dark, Twice
Two Power Failures in Three Days Causes Confusion and Some Panic at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport

Public service at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport was disrupted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012, at 2:20 pm when a power interruption left most of the airport in the dark.

The Wednesday power outage followed a similar power failure on Monday, two days earlier.

The Bali Post said the black out caused some degree of panic among passengers who became concerned that their departing flight would be cancelled.

Hendrawan, a passenger scheduled to fly Denpasar to Surabaya, said the electricity was out for around 20 minutes resulting in some degree of unrest in the terminal that only subsided when power was returned.

A tour guide, Aridus, who was at the airport meeting a group of arriving passengers, sounded a similar note of. He despaired the power failure, saying: “It’s really unfortunate that an airport of the standard of Ngurah Rai can experience blackouts. Such failures, when they do occur, should last only a few minutes, but this outage gives a bad impression (about the airport) to tourists in attendance at the airport.”

The spokesperson for the airport’s management, Sherly Yunita of Angkasa Pura I, confirmed the power outage, but insisted that flight schedules had not been disrupted. “The moment the power failed generator sets kicked in preventing any threat to safety or flight operations,” Sherly explained.

Sherly did not, however, provide any explanation as to the underlying cause of the power outage.

The power failure two days earlier on Monday, November 26, 2012, took place at around 10:25 am. The first outage lasted for 15 minutes, causing confusion and distress to passengers waiting to board domestic and international flights.


Count ‘till 12
Ugandan Gets 12 Years Prison from Bali Court for Trying to Smuggle a Kilogram of Methamphetamines

The trial of a 41-year-old Ugandan, Bashir Gadafi Polikoko has ended at the Denpasar District Court with a sentence of 12-years imprisonment and a supplemental fine of Rp. 8 billion (US$833,000).

The Ugandan, who told the court that he was employed as a taxi driver, was found guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of trying to smuggle 66 capsules containing 1,055 grams of methamphetamines into the country on May 30, 2012.

The drugs were concealed in Polikoko’s alimentary tract.

According to Seputarbali.com, prosecutors has sought a 16-year sentence for the man

When landing in Bali off a Qatar Airways flight from Doha, customs officials became suspicious of the man’s demeanor and brought him the BIMC Hospital in Bali for medical imaging that revealed the cache of drugs carried in his gut.

After being caught by police in Bali, Polikoko was brought by police to Jakarta where he lured his Indonesian female contact, Pratika Prasetya, out into the open where the police subsequently captured her.
Prasetya’s trial continues separately before the courts.

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Tax Relief
North Bali Authorities Move Against Illegal Tax Collectors Preying on Dive Operators

Following an earlier report in Balidiscovery.com regarding illegal levies being charged on North Bali Diving and Water Sports Operators [See: Taxation or Coercion?], the new chief of the Buleleng Revenue Agency, Ida Bagus Puja Erawan, has responded by setting up a special investigative unit to determine the details of an illegal levy reportedly collected from water-sports operators for the past 14 years.

Quoted by Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post), Erawan said, 

“I was shocked when a local councilor Dewa Putu Tjakra informed me about the levy and that the collection of the levy has been carried out from 1995-2009.”

Suggesting there was no legal basis for these fees collected from water sports operators, Erawan is postulating that his agency’s staff have collected the funds for their personal use and enrichment.

“It was an illegal levy and the team will investigate the staff involved in the collection of the levy as well as what was happened to the money collected,” Erawan said.

The Buleleng official pledged stiff action would be taken against those determined to have been involved in the collection of levies that ranges between Rp. 5 million (US$520) to Rp. 10 million,  paid annually collected from each diving operator.


Loving Bali Too Much
Former Tourism Minister Warns Bali’s Growing Visitor Numbers are not Sustainable

The former Indonesian Minister of Tourism, I Gede Ardika, has warned that Bali has carrying capacity limitations for tourism that cannot be ignored.

Quoted by Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post), Ardika said: 

“The island has limited natural resources, limited water resources, limited energy, which all translate into a limited carrying capacity, that’s why the island must enforce a limit on the number of tourists visiting the island.”

Ardika who now sits on the World Committee on Tourism Ethics at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) resounded a warning that has come from many quarters that Bali’s insatiable hunger for ever-increasing tourist number is not sustainable.

Bali, with approximately 60,000 hotel rooms now for sale, a number projected to increase 17% by 2014 to 70,000 rooms.

While the signs are obvious that Bali is unable to keep up with the demands on its natural resources and its infrastructure, officials continue to issue new hotel permits, choosing to sidestep calls for a moratorium on new development and restrictions imposed by the 2009 provincial zoning law (RTRWP 2009).

Warning of the dangers posed by mass tourism, Ardika, who is a native of Bali, said: “The Balinese are facing water shortages. If the island is swamped by tens of millions of visitors then what will happen to subak (traditional farming and irrigation)? The Balinese may end up buying bottled water for drinking and cooking.”

The former Minister of Tourism also renewed his warning on the rapid decrease in forested area and faming land in Bali being converted to housing and villa developments.

An official State-funded French survey carried out in the 1970s revealed that the maximum carrying capacity for tourists in Bali is 4 million visitors each year. That total was estimated to be sustainable and, more importantly, represented a total number of visitors not likely to marginalize the endemic population of the island.

Now, Bali has more than surpassed that limit with an estimated more than 8 million foreign and domestic visitors coming to Bali each year.


North Bali Airport: Landing Delayed or Aborted?
Plans for a North Bali Airport Awaiting Recommendation from Local Government and Sufficient Land Needed to Build an Airport

Once the subject of much anticipation, the idea of building an airport in North Bali remains stuck in suspended animation, with little official word to indicate a new air gateway for Bali is on a near time horizon.

Beritabali.com says that the contract for an Indian group tasked to prepare a feasibility study for a North Bali Airport has come to an end.

The director general of Air Transportation, Herry Bhakti S. Gamay, speaking at the 34th meeting of Senior Air Transportation Officials in Nusa Dua, Bali confirmed that the subject feasibility study is now in hand, but a review of the financial viability of the project prevents any public announcement of the next step. Gamay outlined that the next step is for regional government to propose the project to the central government.
“(They) have to be proactive, it depends on a recommendation from the region. We in the central government distribute (funds), if you want more the region must begin with a recommendation,” he explained.

Bhakti said that whole the feasibility study remains inconclusive; any plans to build a North Bali Airport must also overcome the fundamental problem of securing sufficient land for such a project. It has been estimated that an international airport with two runways would require a minimum area of 160 hectare to construct.

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How Ya’ Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm?
Legislation and a New Vision Among Balinese Youth Needed to Protect and Preserve ‘Subak’ Agricultural Areas

The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is urging Bali to protect the heritage site encompassed by rice terraces at Jatiluwih from being swallowed up by the island’s rapid development.

As reported by The Jakarta Globe, UNESCO is comparing the threat faced by Bali’s “subak’ rice fields to the economic pressures that are denuding Sumatra’s rainforest.

UNESCO is urging new legislation that will freeze the status of areas used for rice terrace cultivation, preventing their change of use to non-agricultural designations.

The “subak” rice fields of West Bali earned UNESCO Heritage status in May 2012.

“We’ve visited four districts whose subak fields have been named a world heritage site and asked the district heads to issue a bylaw in line with (UNESCO’s) global guidelines (for world heritage sites),” Arief Rachman, chairman of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, told the Antara News Agency. 



Bali’s ancient “subak” irrigation system dates to the ninth century and is widely considered to reflect the wider cultural values of the Balinese and the local commitment to carefully balance the spiritual, natural and human spheres.

According to UNESCO’s Website: “The subak system of democratic and egalitarian farming practices has enabled the Balinese to become the most prolific rice growers in the archipelago despite the challenge of supporting a dense population.”

Legislation is being drafted to protect conservation areas, both natural and historical, but this is typically a lengthy process with prolonged arguments regarding whether it is the regency’s or the province’s prerogative to draft and enforce such measures.

The head of the Bali Tourism Office, Ida Bagus Subhisku,  said that the tourism industry is gradually depleting traditional agricultural areas, a situation hastened by a diminished interest in farming as a career by Bali’s youngest generation.

“The number of farmers is also getting low because more residents choose to work at hotels now,” Subhiksu said. “According to a survey we did, many farmers’ children did not want to be farmers when they grow up."


Selective Development
Indonesian Tourism Ministry Marks Three Areas of Bali for Tourism Destination Development

Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post) quotes the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry as announcing their intent to undertake elaborate studies on the future development of the Sanur Village area of Bali, Batur at Kintamani (Bangli regency) and Menjangan Island in North Bali as part of a nation-wide strategic plan for tourism development.

The three areas in Bali are included in a list of 16 tourism destinations nationwide targeted by the Ministry for special developmental assistance through 2014.

Speaking of the 88 tourism destination currently being fostered for more visitors nationwide, the director of destination planning for the Ministry, Lokot Ahmad Enda said: “Despite possessing huge potential, some of these destinations have weak planning, infrastructure, facilities and promotional packaging. So, we need to encourage their development.”
The three destinations in Bali will eventually be included in a blueprint for development, touching on both physical improvements and manpower training issues.

The studies, preparatory to the subject blueprints for development, will commence in 2013 and are expected to take one year to complete. The Blueprint for tourism development will outline plans and programs for the next 15 to 20 years.

In Bali, the three areas designated for attention:
  • Batur – Lokot highlighted bad sanitation, beggars and aggressive souvenir sales people. Batur’s recent elevation to UNESCO Geopark status underlines an urgent need to have a 20-year tourism development plan in place for this destination.
  • Menjangan Island – An island in northern Bali well positioned for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Natural setting still teems with wildlife. Infrastructure issues affecting access are seen as holding this area back from rapid development.
  • Sanur – a once quiet fishing village has become an international tourism destination. Efforts will b made to accommodate the wishes and tourism aspirations of the Sanur village community, and control some of the negative results of its recent increase in popularity.


Bali Exports Down
Global Economic Crisis Spells a Prolonged Business Drought for Bali Exporters

The global economic crisis is beginning to be felt by exporters in Bali.

Hundreds of members of Association of Exporters and Handicraft Producers (Asephi-Bali) are reporting declining business activity. Experts predict that the current downturn in exports will continue for several years before eventually staging a comeback.

“Almost all our members, totaling 350, say their business is down. The reduction in exports started in 2009. The average rate of decline in exports has averaged 8-9% each year, “ explained the chairman of Asephi-Bali, Ketut Dharma Siadja on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, and quoted in Bisnis.com.

Siadja said the economic crisis in Europe and America and in a number of other markets are causing the drop in exports. Adding, “Stagnation and a drop in export values will continue for a long time, because the economic crisis continues."

Speaking at a seminar on new export rules affecting native wood products, Siadja warned that even though exports are down changes in trade and export rules must be obeyed to ensure Bali exports are received at their port of destination.

New certification rules on processed wood products take effect from January 2013 at which time all wood products must be able to present certificates assuring the wood used in the product comes from renewable wood sources.


The Peak of Investment
Investors Seek Projects at Bali’s Mount Batur Geopark Park

Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post) reports that following the designation of the Mount Batur area at Kintamani as UNESCO Geopark a number of investors have expressed interest in project linked to the site.

The regent of Bangli the regency that includes Kintamani, Made Ginayar revealed to the press three candidate investors in the Batur Geopark location.
Said Gianyar: “The three investors have proposed three different types of investments. We are now considering which will be suitable for the area.”
One investor is interested in constructing a golf course on the slopes of Mount Batur, a second investor is seeking to commercially farm camelina flowers for use in the production of biofuels, and the third want to grow bamboo for use in creating bamboo products.

“Before issuing the permits, I have to discuss these proposals with the legislative council,” Gianyar said. The regent told the press that he most favored investors interested in agriculture or bamboo. Adding: “Investment in the agricultural sector is in line with the local community’s farming enterprises. I am hoping that this investor could help boost the local farmers’ living conditions. Meanwhile, the bamboo industry is expected to open new employment opportunities for the locals, while at the same time, it will also improve the area’s environmental condition.”

Bali native and Indonesian cabinet member Jero Wacik has come out publicly in support of a golf course project for Mt. Batur. Wacik, who comes from Kintamani and the Lake Batur area, is also chairman of the Indonesian Golf Association (PGI).
 


Power to the People
20% off the Balinese Still Without Electrical Power

The general manager of the State Electrical Board (PT PLN) for Bali, IBG Mardawa Padangratha told Seputarbali.com that as many as 20% of the public have no electrical access in Bali. Most of the Balinese without electrical power live in the regencies of Karangasem, Bangli and Buleleng.

Mardawa said the main cause for a lack of electrical power in Bali was the distance people live from power lines.

While the idea that 20% of the Balinese have no electricity may seem shocking to come, that figure still compares favorably with the rest of Indonesia wjere 30% of all people still live without electrical connections.

The PLN boss for Bali explained: “The biggest problem is the distance people live from the power grid – spread across hills, mountains and remote jungle. Secondly, many of the people living in remote locations do not have the funds to pay for a connection and the monthly cost of electrification.”

Mardawa confirmed that PLN Bali has received funding from the national budget in 2012 to increase the size of the electrical network. “The government has allocated Rp. 45 billion (US$4.7 million) in 2012 to construct new networks. Our problem, however, is not just building a larger network but also the ability of people to pay for electrical power. That the problem for which we still need a solution,” said Mardawa.


We Work Hard for our Money
Bali’s Workers Paid only 54% of Jakarta’s Minimum Wage Level

The official minimum wage for Bali is currently less than the standard set for Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta.

This disparity has Bali’s governor Made Mangku Pastika concerned.
Following the recent popular election of Jokowi as Jakarta’s new governor, he immediately increased the minimum wage level for Jakarta workers to Rp. 2.2 million per month (US$229).

Meanwhile, the minimum wage level for workers in Bali is Rp. 1,181,00 (US$123), a figure far below that earned by workers in Jakarta.

Alarmed at the disparity in wages, governor Pastika said that Bali as a tourism destination should be paying living wages to its workers.

As reported by Seputarbali.com, Pastika pledge to review the minimum wage level in Bali and increase wages, if not on a par with Jakarta at least to a level acceptable to both workers and employers.

Separately, a member of Commission II for the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), Nyoman Sugawa Korry said the that the minimum wage is not some ideal to be compared to the wage paid in Jakarta or other provinces with higher minimum wage standards.

Korry said the minimum wage paid in Bali was a consensus arrived at by the government, business and the workers of Bali.


Keeping it Strictly Legal
Bali Gearing Up to Move Against Illegal OTAs

As part of a growing dialogue on illegal online travel agents (OTA) in Bali, Bisnis Bali reports that trying to curb such operations won’t be an easy task.

The government, the party ultimately responsible for maintaining law and order among travel operators, is seeking the collaboration and support of Indonesian travel associations and ecommerce technical experts to curb illegal on line trading in travel.

The government estimates that 30% of all travel transactions now take place on line.

The head of the Badung Tourism Office, Cok Raka Darmawan, on Thursday, November 29, 2012, admitted that while tracking down illegal OTAs will not be an easy task, but that does not mean the government will fail to take action.

“We welcome the efforts of the Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) to create a special division to detect illegal OTAs. We can now involve all parties, like ASITA, PHRI (Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association), HPI (Indonesian Guide Association) and others,” said Darmawan.

“Illegal OTAs are different from unlicensed hotels or accommodation providers. If a hotel has no license it’s easy for us to handle it. Meanwhile, illegal OTAs live in cyberspace,” Darmawan continues.

Earlier, the regent of Badung, AA Gde Agung declare his office was prepared to move against illegal companies.

The chairman of ASITA-Bali, Ketut Ardana said his association would soon from a special agency to tackle illegal OTAs. He said the operations of such companies are hurting travel agents. Any such agency would by necessity people who have a high understanding of information technology and the law.

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Life’s a Beach!
Join a Beach Party Each Sunday at Paon Beachclub at Taman Bhagawan

The Paon Beachclub at Taman Bhagawan in Tanjung Benoa, Bali has organized a new way to unwind and relax each weekend.

on Sunday, December 2, 2012, and on each Sunday afternoon thereafter until further notice, the poolside of the Paon Beachclub set on the wide sandy beach of Tanjung Benoa is holding a beach party for Bali residents and visitors.

Pasar Minggu or “Sunday Market” provides a pool for relaxation, live music, and special activities and games for children. Adding to a fun-filled mix, there will be food stalls, BBQ prepared by Chef Citra, an art market and even a special area for pet dogs – replete with special doggie nibbles.

Wide and expansive, Pasar Minggu at Paon Beachclub offer ample parking and huge gardens on a long expanse of open beachfront.

The fun starts each Sunday from 2:00 – 6:00 pm with a Rp. 150,000 ++ (US$19) all-you-can-taste menu. Children under 6 years accompanied by their parent eat for free.

Beer Buckets are available for Rp. 75,000 (US$7.80) and a “Cocktail Collective” offering “buy 2 get 1 free" is also on offer.

For more information [Email]  or telephone ++62-(0)361-776555.



Keeping Things Neighborly
ASEAN Transportation Ministers Meet in Bali to Simplify Cross Border Movement Among Member Nations

The member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to simplify procedures and requirements for the movement of people within the ASEAN region.

As reported by Beritabali.com, the agreement was espoused in a joint statement by the Ministers of Transportation from ASEAN countries meeting at the 18th ASEAN Ministry of Transportation Meeting held in Nusa Dua, Bali on Friday, November 30, 2012.

The Minister of Transportation for Indonesia, EE Mangindaan, said that to facilitate the movement of people among ASEAN countries, he and his counterparts across the region have agreed to finalize the procedures and requirements.

The implementation of the simplification of procedures will depend, he said, on the state of readiness of the transportation infrastructure of the participating countries.

Said Mangindaan, “To achieve (the desired ease of ) ASEAN Cross Border movement, each country must first prepare its infrastructure and then, in accordance with each country’s immigration, customs and security requirements.”

Search and Rescue

Mangindaan also announce that the assembled ASEAN Minister of Transportation has also agreed to cooperate in the formation of a Search and Rescue Forum (SAR). The purpose of the Forum will be to anticipate steps to be taken when transportation accidents do occur within the ASEAN region.


Brother Can You Spare me a Dime?
Why Bali Officials Are Finding it Hard to Stem the Rising Tide of Street Beggars

Kompas.com reports that the provincial government of Bali admits it is being overwhelmed in trying to deal with the increasing number of beggars dotting the roadsides of the Island.

While officials repeatedly round up, apprehend and escort beggars back to their home villages, a short time later the same street beggars reappear in Bali’s capital city panhandling from residents and visiting tourists alike.

“If we catch them, we return them (to their village), and then they come back again. What’s more, we drive them back to their home village and often find they have made it back to Denpasar before we have returned from the trip we made to bring them back to their homes.” explained the head of the enforcement agency for the province of Bali (Kasat Pol PP Pemprov Bali), Made Sukadana on Friday, November 30, 2012.

One of the reasons the authorities have a hard time ending begging on Bali’s streets is the lack of strong regulations on both the provincial and regency level.

“We urge the regencies and municipalities to make local regulations on beggars, proving three months imprisonment when they are arrested for panhandling. Why do we want to do this? So they will be deterred from begging in the future,” explained Sukadana.

Officials would like to have firm rules in place against begging before the APEC Summit in 2013 when Bali will be inundated with world leaders and members of the international press. Such rules, it is believed, should eliminate or minimize beggars roaming busy intersections passed by visiting dignitaries.

Kompas.com also revealed that many of the beggars working the streets of Bali’s capital enjoy a relatively high standard of housing.

Many of Bali’s beggars originate from the village of Munti Gunung in the Karangasem regency of Bali. Sukadaana said: “In Munti Gunung they enjoy a sufficient lifestyle, many own very good housing."

Begging as a Career Choice

According to the press report, many of the beggars from Munti Gunung have purposely selected to work the streets of Bali, asking tourist visitors for handouts. Sukadana said that begging has become a culture and a career choice for these individuals, fueled by the knowledge they can make more money begging than working a normal job.

The province of Bali is formulating “beggar laws” while, at the same time, pushing regencies and municipalities to also draft their own tough anti-begging regulations with penalties of three months in prison for being caught begging on the streets.
 


Sink, But Don’t Swim
Bali Hai Cruises Offers Aquanaut Walks on the Bottom of the Sea

program is an optional activity during a cruise visit or can be pre-booked at the time the original booking is made.

All the many other water sports activities remain in place at Bali Hai Cruises.  In addition to the new  Aquanauts experience, Bali Hai guests will still be able to visit the Pontoon or beach club at Nusa Lembongan, a buffet beach lunch, unlimited banana boat rides, waterslide, underwater viewing chamber, semi-submersible boat, snorkeling, a stunning white sand beach and swimming pool.

Bali Hai also continues to operate its popular Kid’s Club

Join A Bali Hai Cruise

[Lembongan Island Beach Club Cruise]

[Lembongan Island Reef Cruise]



An Admirable Friend and Colleague
Admiral (Retired) Urip Santoso: 1923-2012. Played Major Role in Laying Groundwork for Modern Indonesian Navy and Advancing Indonesian Sea Tourism

On Saturday, December 1, 2012, Indonesia lost one of its most outstanding sons with the death of Laksamana (retired) Urip Santoso in Jakarta, after a brief illness, aged 89.

Born in Brebes, Tegal, Central Java to an upper-middle-class bureaucrat’s family, Santoso acquired an elite education available only to a privileged few in colonial Indonesia. Following the declaration of Independence on August 17, 1945, the young scholar joined the physical struggle for independence by enlisting as an officier in the fledgling Indonesian military, commissioned in the field as a Captain.

While working in the intelligence section of the People's Army, Urip Santoso was arrested by the Dutch in July 1947 and imprisoned for two years and nine months until his release in 1950 when the Dutch government formally ceded control to the indigenous Indonesian government. Released from imprisonment, Santoso was awarded the Bintang Gerilya Medal for his contributions to the struggle for national independence.

Forsaking the his rank of Captain in order to seek further formal military training, Santoso, who spoke fluent Dutch, accepted the chance to undertake a degree program at the Koninkklijk Institut Voor de Marine in Holland  where, in August 1953, he graduate and returned to Jakarta with the rank of Second Lieutenant, a level mandated by Indonesian military regulations at the time.

In 1958 Urip Santoso travelled  abroad again to further his military education, joining a U.S. Navy Deep Sea Diving and Salvage Officer Course in Washington, D.C. followed by a another course in Underwater Demolition conducted by U.S. Navy Seals in Florida.

Armed with extensive knowledge needed for the assignment ahead, the Indonesian Navy placed Santoso in charge of cleaning up ports and seaways across Indonesia, still littered with sunken ships and other hazards to shipping.

He also established and personally led an elite division of Navy frogmen, soon deployed to Irian Jaya in the battle at the time with Dutch to secure Indonesian control of that region.

In 1972 Santoso was sent to Monterey, California to attend a program in Defense Management. Returning from the U.S.A. he helped establish the Indonesian Defense Management Program (Lemjemen Hankam).

Retirement from active service, Santoso's extensive maritime experience and a deeply-felt belief in developing the nation through sea tourism propelled the retired admiral into a role as a national spokesman for sea tourism and a variety of management roles in seminal cruise tourism projects.

John M. Daniels, President Director of Bali Discovery Tours and a friend and acquaintance of Urip Santoso for more than three decades, recalled a man who, despite his advanced years, was actively planning and participating in plans to advance yacht and cruise tourism in Indonesia, lobbying his government to deregulate the marine sector and reap resulting benefits he felt certain to accrue to a nation spread across more than 17,000 islands.

The growing number of regulations promoting sea tourism in Indonesia and a heightened awareness among Indonesian officials of the rich potential of fostering this sector, are due in no small part to the untiring efforts of Urip Santoso.

Sail on old friend.
God speed your on you voyage!

 


 
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