Monday, March 30, 2009
BALI UPDATE #655 - 30 March 2009
This is One Virgin Who Gets Around
Virgin Blue Increases Services to Bali from 5 Australian Gateways
Virgin Blue have announced their intention to increase their flight frequencies to Bali, effective June 1, 2009. The added flights to accommodate the strong arrival numbers from Oz to Bali, include :
• A direct flight from Sydney to Bali operating twice each week on Mondays and Fridays.
• A direct flight from Melbourne to Bali operating three times each week on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays.
• Flights from Adelaide to Bali will increase from twice to three times each week.
• The airline will continue its services from Brisbane and Perth to Bali.
Brett Godfrey, the CEO of Virgin Blue told the press: “Indonesia was Pacific Blue’s first foray in to the Asian region and its close proximity to Australia is a big draw card for people keen to take a ‘mini-break’ without breaking the bank. Holiday package prices are at the lowest they have been for two decades so it is providing ideal opportunities for some great deals, not just in the air but also on arrival in Bali.”
Bali Named World’s Best Spa Destination
Bali’s Governor Pastika Welcomes Award While Warning that Island’s Quality Under Threat.
During the course of Indonesia’s participation at International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Germany, the Berlin-based fitness magazine Senses presented an award naming Bali as the World’s Best Spa Destination 2009.
Bali was selected after a review by a panel of 200 spa experts and the award was handed to Sapta Nirwandar, the Director General of Marketing for the Indonesian Department of Culture and Tourism at ITB. The award was then delivered to Bali and presented to Bali’s governor by the Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacil.
Governor Made Mangku Pastika accepted the award and congratulations of the Minister on behalf of the Balinese people, stating that the award is another in along list of honors bestowed on Bali by international travel publications.
Quoted in Jakarta Post, Pastika deflated any momentary joy brought by the German award, warning that Bali tourism is beset with many problems, such as garbage, traffic jams, flooding, unlicensed travel agents, illegal villas, long lines at visa counters and illegal retributions aimed at visitors.
"There are a lot of problems that we must cope with to improve and enhance our tourism industry. Defending an award is a lot harder than getting it in the first place," Pastika wared.
Before the Parade Passes By
Peaceful Ogoh-Ogoh Parades in Bali Defy Official Requests to Suspend Spirited Street Parades on the Eve of 'Nyepi.'
Despite official requests to suspend traditional ogoh-ogoh parades as part of this year’s Nyepi celebrations, the lively hoisting of papier-mâché floats through local streets of Bali was still in evidence in various parts of the island. Local officials and Hindu leaders, concerned that the lively rivalry between local villages had the potential of spilling over into inter-party violence in the lead-up period to the April 9th elections, asked Balinese banjars to suspend the much-loved ogoh-ogoh activities this year.
A case in point was the village of Kuta which shares its real estate with Bali’s busy shopping and night-life mecca. No less that 13 banjar or local community organizations launched ogoh ogoh on Wednesday night, March 25, 2009, to the amusement of local residents and island visitors alike.
In Kuta the traditional parade started at 7:00 p.m. staring on Jalan Legian, in front of Banjar Pengabetan Kuta, ending in front of the Kuta Art Market. One-by-one, the colorful floats passed by a critical eye of a seated jury tasked to pick the best effort. Local community pecalang charged with keeping the peace did their job with the parade passing without significant incident. Assisting the volunteer peace officers were uniformed policemen from the Kuta police precinct.
All this happened against the cacophony of homes where gongs, tin cans and gongs were struck by families seeking to exorcise evil spirits on the eve of the New Year. Torches and small fires willed local compounds, foreshadowing the fires that would consume the ogoh ogoh floats at the end of the evening, putting final flight to Bhuta Kala, the Balinese take on Metistopholes.
[Marching to the Sound of a Different Drummer]
[Don’t Rain on my Parade]
[There’s a Kind of Hush, All Over the Isle]
Intrigue at Denpasar's Royal Palace?
Denpasar King to be Questioned in Case of Suspected Criminal Fraud by Bali Police.
Radar Bali reports that the Raja of Denpasar, Ida Djokorda Ngurah Jambe Pemecutan, also know as Tjokorda Ngirah Mayun Smairana, is under threat of criminal prosecution by a local travel agent claiming the “king” has caused damages equaling Rp. 18 billion (US$1.6 million).
PT Maestro Wisatama Indonesia has filed a formal police complaint against Tjokorda following the delivery of an official ”somasi” letter seeking settlement from the Denpasar palace.
Tjokorda, a former member of the management board of the Forum Silaturahmi Keraton Se-Nusantara (FSK) - a grouping of royal households from across the Indonesian archipelago, is accused of criminally committing frauds, concealment and the falsification of documents in connection with a planned tour of FSK to Europe March 9-27, 2009. The Denpasar travel agent claims that the failure of Tjokorda to notify them in a timely matter of the cancellation of a tour of former royalty accompanied by traditional dancers and orchestra resulted in the loss of money expended preparing the trip and booking deposits made with hotels and airlines.
A source at the Bali police headquarter told the press that Tjokorda would be called for police interviews shortly after the Nyepi celebrations.
Bali Records Two More Rabies Fatality
Latest Victims Bitten by Dogs in South Bali in November and December 2008.
Rabies in Bali has claimed another victim. I Nyoman Jama Asmara, 46, died at in the isolation ward of Sanglah’s General Hospital on Monday, March 23, 2009, after being hospitalized for one day. A resident of Jalan Uluwatu, Banjar Kaug Pecatu, on the Ungasan peninsula in south Bali, was confirmed by hospital officials as clinically positive for the deadly disease, who was admitted after initially exhibiting a throat infection, fits of anger, and phobias towards water and wind.
According to Radar Bali, Asmara succumbed to the disease despite receiving anti-rabies shots three months again after being bitten by a dog. Doctors are blaming Asmara’s failure to undergo the complete three-shot therapy which allowed the disease to manifest and eventually claim the man’s life.
Local legislators are making statements critical of the passive response to suspected rabies cases displayed by local health officials.
Asmara’s death is counted as the 8th fatality traced to the current outbreak of rabies on the island of Bali.
The Russians are Coming!
Government Announces New Moscow-Bali Flights Service by Transaero Airlines.
Government Announces New Moscow-Bali Flights Service by Trasaero Airlines. Bisnis.com reports that Russian Transaero Airlines will soon commence flights between Moscow and Bali in order to serve the growing demand for Bali holidays from their home market.
Founded in 1991, Transearo is the second largest Russian international carrier with a fleet of 42 airplanes flying to 86 destinations.
The new service, announced by Indonesia’s Director General of Tourism Marketing, Sapta Nirwandar while he was attending the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin, is intended to help the Country realize the targeted 70,000 Russian tourists for 2009. In 2008, a total of 65,362 Russians visited Indonesia, an increase of 39.21% over the previous year. Russian travel to Indonesia is overwhelmingly focused on Bali with 58,233 coming to Bali in 2008.
In order to help Indonesia achieve ambitious arrivals totals in the midst of a global economic crisis, the government has granted “special” licenses to six airlines to add flights to Indonesia. The six airlines given wider rights to fly to Indonesia are: Singapore Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Transaero Airlines (Russia), Firefly (Malaysia) and Hong Kong Express.
Garuda Flies Daily between Bali and Lombok
Garuda Seeking to Stimulate Australian Travel to Lombok Island
Via full-colored advertisements in Indonesian newspapers, Garuda Indonesia has announced a new Bali to Lombok daily flight commencing on April 1, 2009.
Flying Boeing 737-300 aircraft with 16 business class and 94 economy seat, the Garuda daily flight (GA436) will depart Bali at 1835 hours arriving in nearby Lombok at 1915 hours. The return schedule (GA437) will leave Lombok at 1950 hours, landing in Bali at 2025 hours.
The timing of the return flights will allow Australian travelers the chance to connect with the late evening return flights from Bali to Australia.
President SBY Seeks Voters' Support for 2nd Term
Campaigning in Bali, Indonesian President Sees Peace and Order as Key to Growing Tourism Industry.
Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, visiting Bali to campaign for local Democratic Party legislative candidates standing in the April 9 polls and his own bid for re-election in July, pledged greater emphasis on security issues to help the country’s tourism industry grow.
Traveling to Bali with his Wife, Ani, and his Son, Edi Baskoro, the President was quoted by the national news agency Antara as saying: “"Bali would make greater progress and its security would be even more conducive. We will take actions against anyone wanting to disturb the security in Bali,"
Claiming his Democratic Party has been successful in delivering added prosperity to the Indonesian people, he pledge his sought-after second term to creating greater safety, peace and propserity.
Legislatgive elections will be held nation-wide on April 9, 2009. Indonesians will then go to the polls on July 8, 2009, to participate in the second direct election of a president in the naiton’s 64-year-long history.
Bali's Most Valuable Export: Hospitality Workers
37% of Bali Tourism Academy Workers Find Employment Overseas.
Bali has become a major supplier to the world’s cruise industry. To this end, American cruise companies are seeking to recruit 250 graduates of Bali’s Tourism Academy (STP), competing with hotels in the UAE who have also recognized the quality of Bali hospitality workers.
Bisnis.com reports that 50.5% of the current batch of 417 new graduates from STP have employment contracts with the remainder expected to secure jobs within 6 months of graduation.
Based on data tracked by STP, 63% of their graduates are working in Indonesia with the remaining 37% holding positions abroad. Overseas graduates of the Bali tourism school can be found on cruise ships around the world or working on land in countries that include Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Abu Dubai, Europe and the Maldives.
May I See Your License and Registration, Please?
Bali Police Tickets Net Rp. 1,2 billion in Fines and Penalties in 2008.
DenPost reports that revenues accumulated by local traffic courts in fines and penalties totaled Rp. 1.2 billion (US$107,150) in 2008. This translates into 92,436 violations that resulted in 89,689 tickets issued by police. The difference of 2,747 between ticketed and non-ticketed violations is accounted by drivers issued with warnings in lieu of tickets.
The breakdown of traffic fines across the island:
• Rp. 258.3 million from tickets issued by traffic police assigned at the Denpasar Police Headquarters.
• Rp. 135 million from tickets issued by the Denpasar traffic police.
• Rp. 138.8 million from the Bandung police precinct.
• Rp. 117.6 million from the Buleleng traffic police.
• Rp. 163.6 million from the Tabanan traffic police.
• Rp. 93 million from the Gianyar traffic police.
• Rp. 90.3 million from the Klunglung traffic police.
• Rp. 26.5 million from the Bangli traffic police.
• Rp. 110.2 million from the Karangasem traffic police.
• Rp. 80 million from the Jembrana traffic police.
Garuda Returns Temporarily to London
Indonesian President to Fly Garuda to London for G-20 Conference.
When Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono flies to London on April 2, 2009, to attend the G-20 Summit, he’ll do so on board an Indonesian registered aricraft operated by national carrier Garuda Indonesia. The President’s airplane will be the first Indonesian registered aircraft to fly over and land in Europe since the imposition of a mid-2007 “blacklisting” of Indonesian aircraft by the European Union (EU) who have delcared the country’s aviation industry, its planes and pilots as “unsafe.”
President Yudhoyono’s aircraft has been granted a special permit by the EU.
Indonesia has been unsuccessful in its efforts to have the current EU aviation blacklist lifted, despite strong praise earned by the Indonesian air carriers who have adopted IATA air safety standards and the passage of a new aviation law. EU aviation auditors have saluted efforts by Indonesian airlines while expessing strong reservations regarding the government’s ability to administer a safe and secure administrative system.
The recent replacement of the Director General of Civil Aviation [See: Clearing the Air] is seen in may quarters as the removal of a major obstacle to the eventual lifting of the EU Blacklisting.
Indonesian commercial aviation has operated for more than 2 years without recording a single fatality.
The President is reportedly tirn between attending the crucial economic summit of world leaders or staying closer to home to monitor a range of pressing domestic issues, including legislative elections on April 9. Some press reports suggest that the Presidnet will make an abbreviated appearance at the G-20 Summit, thereby Indonesia’s viewpoiunt is heard on a number of issues likely to shape the world econonomy for years to come.
Raining Ice Cubes in Bali
Weather Experts Warn of Lightning and High Winds in Bali Until May.
On Thursday, March 19, 2009, Bali’s capital of Denpasar fell victim to an unprecedented combination of heavy winds and hail that damaged several homes along the Jalan Pidada area of the city.
Heavy hail in combination with high winds destroyed the roofs of several homes, damage that was largely repaired within one day of the event. Because of the limited extent of the damage, Denpasar municipal officials are still considering if financial aid will be extenbded to the residents of the damaged structures..
Bali-based metereologists report that the hail storm of large ice particles is the first incident of its kind recorded on the island. Rare in tropical equatorial zones, hail storms are usually experienced in sub-tropical zones.
The storm that affected Denpasar lasted between 3 and 10 minutes, depending on which area of the city is being discussed.
Bali weather experts are blaming the ice storm on the presence of large cumulus nimbus clouds, strong winds and high temperatures.
More to Come?
A report in the Jakarta Post quotes Bali weather experts as warning of the possibility of localized tornadoes and lighting storms from large cumulonimbus clouds expected to form over Bali during the season shift of March until May. Well known and avoided by pilots, cumulonimbis clouds are vertical cloud formations that can soar thousands of feet in height with shapes that can resemble mushrooms or giant anvils. Characterized by strong vertical winds patterns, these clouds often carry lightning and thunderstorms.
Government Donates Speed Boat for Lake Batur
New Boat Part of Overall Plan to Make Kintamani Area More Attractive to Bali Visitors.
In an effort to draw more island visitors to the Lake Batur region of the Kintamani volcano, the Central Governmen has given a Rp. 600 million (US$53,600) speed boat to the regional government of Bangli.
As reported by BisnisBali, at a hand-over ceremony presided over by Indonesian Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacick said he hoped the new tourist boat would allow the Bangli government to realize the untapped potential of Lake Batur. Lake Batur is a fresh water lake that sits in the crater of a former volcano in the shadow and another, still active, volcano.
The new boat is offering tours of the lake, including views of the Bali Adat village of Trunyan – a unique location where the remains of dead are left exposed to the elements.
The area also offers outstanding panaoramas, mountain trekking and healing hot springs.
Bali’s Airport Comes Back to Life
Ngurah Rai Airport Returns to Life after its Annual 24-Hour Holiday.
After coming to a complete standstill due to the mandatory day of official quiet ”Nyepi”, starting for 24-hours from sunrise on March 26, 2009, Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport “re-awoke” on Friday morning, March 27, 2009, when Indonesian Air Transport IDA 110 left for Lombok at 8:06 a.m. followed by the landing of Garuda 340 from Sruabaya at 8:18 a.m..
In accordance with tradition and the law, Bali’s airport was closed to regular flights for the entire ”Nyepi” period.
While scheduled airlines cancelled their services touching on Bali during the “quiet period,” technical landings and emergency medical evacuations flights are allowed.
According to Bali Post, on Thusday there was an emergency request from Lion Air on a flight from Mataram (Lombok) to Surabaya requesting permission to land in Bali due to poor weather conditions in Surabaya. However, a sudden imporvement in the weather allowed the Lion Air plane to continue and land safely in Surabaya.
Higher Taxes for Older Planes?
Government Consider Granting Tax Incentive to Airlines that Maintain Newer Fleets.
Minister of Transportation, Jusman Syafi Djamal, has told the press that he is considering asking for higher tax rates for older planes operated by Indonesian air carriers as an incentive to drive a modernization of the country’s air armada.
Behind the Minister’s plan is the view that older aircraft are more frequently involved in “incidents” in Indonesia and have poor operating efficiencies.
Quoted in the Bali Post, Jusman’s proposal follows a number of flight incidents in early 2009 involving older aircraft, the latest occuring on March 25,2009, when a Boeing 737-200 operated by Batavia Air cancelled a flight due to a leaking engine. Two day earlier, a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-200 made an emergency landing in Batam with a single engine.
The Minister’s proposal has received the endorsement of the Chairman of the Indonesia Air Carriers Association (INACA), Emirsyah Satar, who also serves as the CEO of Garuda Indonesia.. Admitting that older airplanes are less fuel-efficient, Emirsyah argued that any airplane maintianed to a high standard is never too old to fly, but admitted the Ministers toold was a valid too to encourgae a younger national air fleet.